What is Aqua Stretch?
Loosen and relax tight muscles with slow exercises performed in warm water.
Aquatic Exercises Created by George Eversaul, A.P.H.
AquaStretch is a new form of individual and facilitated aquatic exercising, which may be used in Wellness programs and also as an aquatic therapy.
The AquaStretch exercises are a series of stretching exercises done in varying depths of water, with and without 2 to 10 lbs of weights attached to your body.
AquaStretch exercises are usually done with your body holding a static position for at least 5 seconds, but are sometimes done dynamically with intuitive body movement while maintaining your stretch.
Although there are general “starting” positions for each basic and advanced AquaStretch exercise, the specific body positions in which you “find the stretch” constantly varies, depending on your individual stretching needs.
AquaStretch is considered a breakthrough in pain management and preventive medicine, provided primarily by massage therapists, athletic trainers, and physical therapists.
It may quickly restore flexibility lost from accidents and surgeries more than three months old, significantly and immediately reduce chronic pain or movement pain, and/or create profound relaxation that may help improve sleep. AquaStretch theoretically breaks down fascial adhesions that inhibit flexibility or may cause nerve impingements, muscle tension or soreness, vascular insufficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and pain. It may also be potentially used in athletic conditioning and fitness programs to increase flexibility.
AquaStretch has consistently restored flexibility lost following prior injuries and accidents.
It also consistently reduces chronic pain and movement pain, probably from stretching fascia between vertebra and other joint spaces, which then reduce nerve impingements.
AquaStretch also consistently produces muscle relaxation, and sometimes profound relaxation, that may decrease muscle soreness following intense workouts, decrease anxiety, and improve sleep.
AquaStretch has been observed intermittently to improve vascular function, hormonal imbalances, emotional dysfunctions, and cognitive behavior. As part of an athletic conditioning program, it may increase flexibility.
Principles of Aqua Stretch
AquaStretch theoretically works because it takes advantage of the body’s enhanced flexibility in water and controls stress resistance with 5 to 15 lb weights attached to the body in different water depths to vary relative buoyancy, with a facilitator encouragements to “Move, if you feel the need to move” and then accenting your intuitive movement to dissolve fascial adhesions. It is the combination of these four theories that seems to account for AquaStretch’s effectiveness to restore freedom of movement and symmetry of function, and its many physiological benefits.
People experience dramatic restoration of range of motion as well as reduced pain, increased relaxation, and better sleep.
AquaStretch™ is an assisted stretching technique that can be used in a variety of settings, from athletic training, to fitness and wellness, to physical rehabilitation.
AquaStretch™ is ideal for use by personal trainers, physiotherapists, massage therapists, athletic trainers and others who work one-on-one with clients / patients in the water.
AquaStretch exercising has been observed to restore and/or increase flexibility in amateur athletes, ballroom dancers, and ordinary people, as well as those with above average or exceptional flexibility such as professional dancers and yoga instructors. AquaStretch has often been reported as a superior stretching technique useful in:
- Athletic Conditioning: As part of programs to restore or increase flexibility.
- Athletic Training: To relieve soreness from intense training and pain post injury.
- Athletic Psychology: To physically “get loose” and to psychologically relax.
AquaStretch results are immediate versus other forms of exercise, and are relatively permanent. It is also useful as a motivational tool for other wellness program tools, i.e., diet. The following groups have especially benefited from AquaStretch:
- Movement pain or flexibility loss more than 3 months after injury or surgery.
- Women with foot and leg pains from high heels or dance shoes, or from playing tennis.
- Recurring need for massage, chiropractic, or osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT).
- Occupation aggravated joint or muscle pains (back, neck, shoulder, wrist, foot).
- Personal growth clients: may enhance meditation or stimulate altered/spiritual states.
AquaStretch exercising has helped people with:
- Lower back, neck, joint or muscle pain (including arthritis, headaches, fibromyalgia)
- Idiopathic pain or nerve dysfunction (ovarian pain, dysmenorrhea, P. Fasciatis)
- Soft tissue prep, for synergy with massage, chiropractic, OMT, and cranial work.
- Post surgical rehabilitation: ACL, meniscus, hip & knee replacement, post natal.
- Pain management programs, including accidents, combat, and sports injuries.
- Scoliosis & other spinal deformities, including degenerative or herniated disks.
- Psychological: may reduce anxiety & PMS emotions. May increase mental clarity.
- Sleep problems.
AquaStretch™ was developed by George Eversaul in Nevada. His years of cranio-sacral training and bodywork evolved into the unique technique he calls AquaStretch™. George uses AquaStretch™ with dancers and performers in Vegas, as well as the local hotel workers, UNLV athletes, and ‘just plain folks’. If you are fortunate enough to meet and work with George, you will marvel at his creative genius, his ‘great hands’, and his Socratic teaching style.
Aquatic Therapy is recognized for its potential to:
- Promote well-being
- Reduce anxiety
- Alleviate chronic pain
- Relieve stress
- Ease the pain of fibromyalgia
It is believed that the thermal properties of water assist healing. The body’s reaction to hot and cold water causes the nerves at the surface of the skin to carry impulses deep into the body. This reaction is thought to:
- Lessen pain sensitivity
- Stimulate the immune system
- Aid lymphatic drainage
- Increase blood circulation
It is also likely to leave you both physically and mentally relaxed.
Thermal Aquatic Bodywork can Release Energy and Balance Chi
Thermal Aquatic Bodywork is an effective way of mobilizing “Chi” (life force) through the “Meridians” (lines of energy in the body). Body temperature water offers a unique and ideal medium for freeing energy. The lightness of the body in water allows the Aquatic practitioner to float you, which has the following effects:
- Frees the spinal vertebrae
- Rotates joint articulations
- Elongates muscles
All of the above benefits are simply not possible with land exercise.
Alcohol and smoking are prohibited during activities.
There are several precautions you need to consider before participating the thermal aquatic bodywork:
- confusion or disorientation
- after ingestion of alcoholic beverages
- under the influence of narcotic
- respiratory problems
- medical condition affecting the spine
- spinal disc herniation (slipped disc)
- limited strength, endurance, balance, or range of motion
You can not participate if you suffer from any of the following conditions:
- incontinence diarrhea, bowel/bladder incontinence
- vomiting (emesis)
- seizure (epilepsy) disorders
- open wounds or non-healing ulcers
- contagious skin condition
- high fever
- hepatitis C
- infectious diseases
- ear infection (otitis)
- urinary infections
- perforated eardrum
- eye infection
- heart disease (abnormal heart function), cardiac failure
- blood pressure disorder (untreated)
- pregnancy (after the 17th week, with your physician approval)
- chemotherapy and radiation therapy (after the 3rd month)
- allergies or sensitivities to pool chemicals
- excessive fear of water
- colostomy bag/catheter use by patient
Stretching is one of the best forms of exercise for Fibromyalgia.
Here are some of the many benefits of basic stretches:
- Minimize muscle and joint soreness
- Release stiffness and pain
- Increase flexibility and range of motion
- Improve bio mechanics
- Stimulate muscle proprioceptors to maintain proper body posture
- Improves circulation
- Deliver more oxygen to muscles
- Remove waste products from muscle fibers
- Helps relieve stress
References: AquaStretch Overview by George Eversaul, A.P.H.
- AquaStretch Website
- AquaStretch Therapy & Training by Connie Jasinskas, Canada
- AquaStretch Therapy & Training by Exercise Elements, USA
- AquaStretch Training by Aquatic Therapy & Rehab Institute (ATRI)