%PM, %09 %764 %2014 %13:%Jun

Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

At the Center for Physical Rehabilitation, our Aquatic Therapy Practitioners have invested a lot of time making sure our patients are safe in our pools.  We are certified in Aquatic Therapy, Water Safety, and chemical safety to ensure that our facility is safe for our patients and staff.   But with Memorial Day past and the summer season in full swing, are you prepared to keep yourself and your family safe near the water? 

If you spend time in or near the water, you need to know what to look for whenever people of any age enter the water.  The "Instinctive Drowning Response", named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children ages 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents)—of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In some of those drowning, the adult will actually watch the child do it, having no idea it is happening.  The most commonly overlooked signs include a person’s head low in the water with the head tilted back and a person who appears to be climbing an invisible ladder.

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress.  Aquatic distress doesn’t last long, usually between 30 and 60 seconds, but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Here are some tips from the Drowning Prevention Foundation to keep your family safe around the water: 


  • Children and inexperienced swimmers should ALWAYS wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket when around the water.
  • Set water safety rules for the whole family based on swimming abilities (for example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep).
  • Be knowledgeable of the water environment you are in and its potential hazards such as deep areas and changing currents. The more informed you are, the less likely you are to get hurt.
  • Drain inflatable pools and coolers after each use. A toddler can drown in just one inch of water.
  • Stay within arms length of inexperienced swimmers.
  • Teach kids to never swim alone.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Don’t let kids dive into water less than nine feet deep.
  • Swimming lessons and life jackets do not replace supervision. Always watch kids in and around water. Drowning is quick and silent – it can happen in less than a minute.
  • When many people are near the pool at the same time, assign a water watcher. Don’t assume someone else is watching!
  • Keep a phone nearby so you can quickly call 911 in an emergency.


Never overestimate a person’s swimming ability.  When in doubt, just ask, “Are you alright?”  If they can answer you, they probably are.  Have a safe and fun summer in the water!

Published in Blog
%PM, %28 %903 %2014 %15:%Jan

You Have to Move to Improve

You have to move to improve. For some people, especially those having chronic or persistent pain, this is easier said than done. Sometimes a person has so much pain they are unable to participate in everyday activities. There are, however, some techniques out there to help these people. Immersion in warm water as well as breathing, relaxation, meditation, laughter and music may help to calm the central nervous system allowing people with persistent pain to improve their quality of life.

Pain is a warning system designed to protect us and to make us react to danger or potential danger.  When nerves are stimulated, chemicals are released and transmitted to the spinal cord and brain. Pain only exists when the brain concludes the body is in danger and action is required. All pain is generated by the brain. All pain is real. In people who have persistent pain, it is the potential for tissue damage that the brain is concerned with.  The result is an over sensitive central nervous system. Pain then becomes restrictive, not protective.

The good news is that a hyper sensitive, over-responsive pain alarm system can be retrained with relaxation, breathing techniques and exercise. Laughter can also be a great tool in breaking through some of the restrictions that pain can create. A lesser known fact is that laughter promotes healthier blood vessels. Artery diameter increases by 22% during laughter and is decreased by 35% during mental stress. Also, by performing exercise in warm water a person with persistent pain may be able to help calm this overactive central nervous system. Here are some of the benefits of warm water exercise.

  • Gravity is reduced /eliminated depending on the depth of the water
  • When movement stops, the workload immediately stops
  • Pain, stiffness and muscle guarding are reduced
  • The touch, temperature and pressure of the water will compete with the pain signals going to the brain
  • Repetitive and comfortable movement helps to normalize input to the brain
  • Balance, core strength, stability and gait can be comfortably retrained using the water as an external support

According to the American Chronic Pain Association, chronic pain is the #1 cause of adult disability and affects 50 million people in the United States. If you are one of these people you may want to try some of the techniques listed above to help you deal with your pain and improve your quality of life.

Aquatic Therapy Rehab Institute Chronic Pain Specialty Course

Published in Blog
%AM, %11 %731 %2013 %11:%Feb

Why Water?

When you think of water exercise, what comes to mind?  Maybe you think of water aerobics classes or high school swimmers.  What you may not know is how water can help someone of any age and any condition.  Because of the buoyancy, when you are standing in chest level in water, you lose approximately 75 percent of your weight.  This decompression on your joints makes exercise more comfortable for persons with back pain, arthritis, joint pain, surgery, chronic pain, and for pregnant women.  Water exercise is a great way to increase strength and range of motion and improve balance. 

Published in Blog