From stroke victims to patients with neuromuscular disease, 32,000 gallons of warm water are helping people get the blood moving again. We went to Aberdeen to see how warm water therapy is helping patients cope with chronic pain and feel better than they have in years.
Mary Lynn James from Houghton, SD has a rare inflammatory disorder called Polymyalgia Rheumatica. It causes widespread muscle aching and stiffness all over the body. Two years ago she started doing warm water therapy with Physical Therapist Sherry McNulty at the Avera St. Luke's Physical and AquaticTherapyCenterin Aberdeen.
McNulty says, "The pool allows people to do things they can't do on land. They have too much pain exercising on land so the warm water helps lift them up and the pain is reduced."
Mary Lynn says the only thing that didn't hurt were her elbows. Once she started coming to warm water therapy with all the amenities, she says it changed her life for the better.
Mary Lynn says, "Oh man! With this disorder you are supposed to exercise, but you hurt so bad you can't. I come in to the warm water pool and do things I can't otherwise do and it makes you feel so good. It helps take the inflammation out of your body too, I think."
The aquatic center is fairly new. Avera St. Luke's added it to its Aberdeen Campus four years ago. The water is kept between 92 and 93 degrees. There are parallel bars in the middle for people to use for balance and exercise. Plus, there are two powerful jets (you can either swim against the current or run against it) so folks can add intensity to there work out or therapy session. There is also a lift poolside for people who are in wheelchairs.
Mary Lynn says, "It's such a great help. I want to build a house in the parking lot so I'm closer to it."
Before she started warm water therapy, Mary Lynn couldn't stand the weight of a bed sheet on her toes because it hurt so badly. She loves that she can go bare foot and be fancy free for at least a few hours a day.
Mary Lynn James does warm water therapy two days a week and has seen a lot of improvement.
Avera St. Luke's Physical & Aquatic Therapy Center is located north of the main St. Luke's campus in Aberdeen:
721 First Ave. S.E.