It’s getting deep at Powell Wellness Center as AquaStretch practitioner Sharon Steele gets into the muscles to provide almost immediate relief to pain and stiffness.
AquaStretch calms the fascia, a sheet of connective tissue under the skin that protects and stabilizes muscles and organs in one’s body. Sessions are provided on an individual basis, for 30 minutes, in shallow, warm water. Available to members and non-members of Powell Wellness Center, interested clients can sign up at the front desk.
Steele, who has been teaching fitness for 42 years, got certified as an AquaStretch practitioner in 2012. Her certifications are extensive and include Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA); Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA); Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute (ATRI) and BackHab; Arthritis Foundation; and Bio Exercise Coach.
Steele’s main purpose in pursuing AquaStretch training was that she wanted it to be available to the community. “We have the best facility as far as a therapy pool and it fit perfectly with the needs of the community,” she said.
AquaStretch is recommended for people who have had joint replacements, experience lower back, shoulder or knee pain or stiffness, or for athletes. Steele said AquaStretch is appropriate for everyone though a physician note is required following surgeries.
A basic AquaStretch process consists of four steps. A client is asked to freely move the part of the body that is experiencing pain or stiffness. They are then asked to freeze in the position where they feel their pain or stiffness. Steele then applies pressure on the area of restriction.
Lastly, the client is asked to move again, while pressure is maintained, which results in the pain or stiffness being relieved. This four-step process is repeated until the client cannot find any pain or stiffness in their movement.
A highly effective means of relief, Steele recommends interested clients to sign up for at least four sessions initially and then “frequent tune ups” as necessary.
During a recent AquaStretch session with client Briarly Rogers, 63, Steele used a suspended move called water dancing to perform spinal relief and alignment.
“Oh my gosh, this is wonderful,” said Rogers, in a supine position while Steele moved her spine in shallow water. “I feel like a cooked noodle,” she said, smiling, at the end of her session.
Rogers has done personal training with Steele since September of 2017, primarily for lower back pain. “Personal training is the only thing that makes my back feel good,” said Rogers who has had previous AquaStretch sessions with Steele for Iliotibial (IT) band release. Steele recently stressed the importance of healthy fascia, likening it to water. “When it’s healthy it flows, and when it’s unhealthy it creates all sorts of problems,” she said.
A 30-session for PWC members is $45; for non-members the cost is $55. Sessions can also be purchased in packages of four or more. Clients do not have to be able to swim to attend.