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Aquatic therapy is a valuable and additional tool in the rehabilitation process and can bring out a new-found sense of mobility and confidence in patients. Just being in the water provides patients momentum for movement, resistance to improve strength, heat for relaxation, pressure for improved circulation, and helps the patient increase his or her balance and coordination and is less stressful on joints.
Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation (BIR) offers a complete aquatic center and therapy program for all patients and community members looking to reduce pain and improve mobility. Aquatic therapy is offered to individuals of our inpatient and outpatient programs, while group classes are offered to members of the community who are looking to continue wellness efforts after their physical therapy has been completed. All patients and participants in the programs must have medical permission from their physician in order to sign up.
The center is equipped with a hydraulic chair for patients who are immobile, a dry ramp which allows patients in wheelchairs the ability to independently transfer from their chairs into the pool, and a wet ramp which allows patients to be rolled down in their chairs and then gently moved into the water. The center sees patients with a variety of injuries and conditions such as spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, guillian-bare, among others.
“I have been in a wheelchair for over a year and this is by far the best part of my rehabilitation process,” said Dennis Patterson, a participant in the outpatient aquatics therapy program at BIR. “There are some exercises that I can only do in water, so I am very grateful to have this type of therapy available to me. It’s a real confidence booster.”
The BIR aquatics center also has an outpatient therapy program for patients of Our Children’s House at Baylor (OCH), which is one of only a few child aquatic therapy programs in the DFW area.
“Kids will work harder in the pool because it’s more rewarding and definitely more fun than regular physical therapy,” said Julie Burkhalter a physical therapist at OCH. “It’s easier to disguise the exercises because they are usually just excited to get into the water, but they are still working hard, building endurance and increasing mobility.”
The community exercise classes run daily at 2:30 p.m. and also at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each class lasts forty five minutes. The center also provides “open pool” (walk, exercise or swim) from 9 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
For more information or to sign up for one of the classes, please contact Loraine Gargiulo, Loraine.Gargiulo@BaylorHealth.edu at 214.820.9527.
Take a virtual tour of the pool here.
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