Keep Summer Going with the Health Benefits of Your Own Warm Water Pool
“I use my backyard Marquis pool as a powerful weapon against pain,” says Tammie Smithback, whose doctors recommended warm water therapy to help reduce the effects of painful, bone-on-bone arthritis.”
By Sharyn Alden
The idea of having your own heated pool may seem glamorous and luxurious. But even though swimming and exercising in a private pool is a lot of fun, many people have turned to water therapy at home because it’s just what their doctor or physical therapist ordered.
If you’re looking into improving your health and reducing pain from health issues such as arthritis, or sports injuries or accidents, consider incorporating water therapy into your health regime.
One of the newest ways to use aquatic therapy at home is with the Marquis ATV (it stands for aquatic training vessel) available at Patio Pleasures Pools & Spas in Sun Prairie and Madison’s west side.
Adrianne Tritt, owner of the company along with her husband Tom and Rene and Brett Huston, says, “Most people install the spa outdoors so they can enjoy it 12 months a year no matter what the weather.”
When Patio Pleasures (www.patio-pleasures.com) was looking at the benefits of the Marquis swim spas, they were impressed with the company. “They have very high standards and the highest quality products,” says Tritt. We also like that their philosophy aligns with ours, so it was a good match.”
It was also important to Patio Pleasures that Marquis had an exclusive relationship with the national Arthritis Foundation where they learned how to develop a product that could help those who needed warm water therapy.
So what exactly is a Marquis ATV spa? For starters, it it’s a niche product that is somewhat like a hot tub but offers far more opportunities for swimming and even rowing.
“Many features distinguish it as being an excellent option for people with a wide range of health needs as well as those who want to enjoy swimming outdoors when the weather turns cold,” says Tritt. “If you’re thinking hot tub, think again. This is a high-tech water therapy tool that provides a full spectrum of exercise options.”
She noted that you can physically swim in the Marquis ATV just like you can in a small pool. The spa also comes with a rowing package as well as a harness that can be used to help you better swim against the current and maximize your exercise workout.
The question on many people’s minds when they think about a year-round spa is maintenance. But Tritt says this spa is an easy one to maintain. “The excellent filtration system means you don’t need a second job to take care of it. It has a strong structure and design—it’s built like a million dollar yacht.”
Warm Water Benefits
If you’re wondering why warm water is helpful for aches and pains associated with stress of accidents, injuries or health issues like arthritis, the answer is warm water can work wonders. It’s not a new form of relief, and in fact, warm water therapy has been used since ancient times. According to the national Arthritis Foundation, warm water reduces the force of gravity that’s compressing the joint. That provides 360-degree support for sore limbs and can decrease swelling and inflammation and increase circulation.
The Foundation notes warm water can be so helpful in fighting the pain and stiffness of arthritis and fibromyalgia that experts recommend heated pools for exercise. Several studies have shown that people who exercise in warm water two or three times a week, may find their pain is reduced as much as 40 percent and their physical function increases at the same time.
Side effects of reducing pain are plenty. People tend to improve their outlook on life, sleep better and have more energy all around.
Besides arthritis, research has shown warm water therapy is highly effective for treating musculoskeletal conditions, including fibromyalgia, and low back pain.
The Arthritis Foundation makes it clear on that warm water exercise help by making a person’s joints looser. Bruce E. Becker, MD, director of the National Aquatics & Sports Medicine Institute at Washington State University in Spokane notes on the Foundation’s website, “It reduces pain it seems to have a somewhat prolonged effect that goes beyond the period of immersion.”
Megan Cooley, executive director of the Arthritis Foundation’s regional office in Madison says, “Warm water therapy can be incredibly beneficial to those living with arthritis and can be an excellent source for exercise. The water provides a weightless aerobic option and keeps the joints in motion; something crucial when living with arthritis. Warm water is especially therapeutic to inflamed joints and muscles.”
Check with the Arthritis Foundation online (www.arthritis.org) for more information.
Real-World Results From Swimming at Home
For over two years Tammie Smithback of Deerfield researched warm water therapy to improve her health. Smithback is a candidate for having knee replacement surgery in both knees. “Both my orthopedic surgeon and primary care physician suggested water therapy because of it has zero impact to the knees. That’s a big benefit opposed to running on a track or sidewalk when your knees are in bad shape”
Each of Smithback’s physicians wrote a letter recommending she use a water therapy spa. She learned she could use this “prescription” in purchasing durable medical equipment (a recommended therapy pool). She suggests discussing this with your own health care professionals.
In her research, Smithback, a dental insurance administrator with SVA Consulting, came across the Marquis ATV (Aquatic Training Vessels) and how they provide numerous health improvement benefits while swimming and exercising at home. She liked the idea that even in Wisconsin, you can use the swim spas outdoors, year-round.
Before she had a chance to see this swim spa in person she was impressed that Marquis, the U.S. company that makes the spas, is a proud sponsor of Make-a-Wish foundation and is committed to helping kids who are part of the program, experience swimming and playing in these unique pools.
After learning that Patio Pleasures sells Marquis swim spas (the only outlet in southcentral Wisconsin), she visited the Sun Prairie store to try out an on-site 17-foot model. “I quickly became a fan because of the spa’s outstanding workmanship as well as the knowledge and professionalism of the Patio Pleasures team. After two years of research, everything came together for me.”
On June 24 Smithback’s 14-foot, ATV-14 Sport spa was installed at the family’s farm.
“I could hardly wait to get in it and exercise and do that without pain,” she says. “Now that I’ve spent many hours in the pool, there are many things that I love about water exercise at home. The degree of resistance in the water can be completely personalized. I can go from an easy swim stride to a very challenging workout.”
When she’s through exercising, she uses the cool down feature that could be described as water massage for your back, neck and shoulders. “It’s a wonderful experience,” she says.
Since her pool was installed she goes in the pool several times a week for about 30 minutes at a time. “It’s wonderful to be able to exercise and take pressure off my knees,” she says.
She also loves the fact that water exercise has helped her lose weight.
“I was committed to losing weight to take some stress off my knees,” she says. At last count she has lost over 50 pounds, including about 10 pounds since her pool was installed.
For Smithback, outdoor water therapy, along with subsequent health benefits, won’t come to an end as summer turns into fall and autumn into winter.
“I’m looking forward to being able to continue exercising in warm water outdoors even when the temperatures plunge. I’ll be able to plunge ahead and stay as healthy as I can be doing what I really enjoy. I can’t imagine any other way to exercise given the pain I’ve experienced in the past.”