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  Frequently Asked Questions
  Aquatic Therapies
How big is your pool?
As you can see on the facilities page the pool is “Grecian” shaped with a maximum interior length of 16,’ width of 8,’ and depth of 4.’
Is the pool heated?
Temperature can be regulated quickly with advance notice, but we usually keep the temperature at 85 degrees for exercise. We turn it up to 96 degrees for Watsu and hydrotherapy massage and up again to 103 degrees when in use as a hot tub.
What do I wear or bring for aquatic therapy?
Robes and slippers are provided by The Abbott Center. Bring your own bathing suit. If you forget, we do have extra suits and swim trunks on hand. We also have nose clips and goggles, but you may bring your own if you need them.
What kind of purifying chemicals do you use?
Bromine is our choice. It doesn’t have the strong odor of chlorine and less of it is needed in a pool of our size.
How are you regulated for water safety?
Our water is tested a few times a day by our staff and professionally inspected and treated by a Certified Pool Operator every week. The Westwood Board of Health makes an inspection monthly.
What kinds of aquatic therapies do you offer?
1) Watsu: This is our most popular therapy and is just as common as massage in the California spas. Your body becomes free in the warm water, supported by a practitioner while having your limbs stretched and guided through a series of flowing movements. See more about Watsu on our Services page.

2) Fitness: Exercising in water is very popular. Our pool offers the privacy that many prefer and can’t find in public facilities. Exercise here in shallow water for aerobic conditioning, flexibility and strength, directed in individual sessions by our degreed and certified fitness instructor/personal trainer. We have toys to work with and a swim jet for swimming in place. Aquatic exercise is recommended for cross training, for those who have difficulty exercising on land, or for rehabilitation from injury, disease, joint problems and surgery.

3) Hydrotherapy massage: A lovely soothing summer alternative to a table massage, a licensed therapist massages your body with a pressurized hose while floats support you in warm water. Hydrotherapy massage is also recommended for those who need deep tissue work but have delicate skin or are sensitive to deep manual pressure.

4) Relaxation: Before or after a therapy session, it’s wonderful to sit, float or move gently in still, moving or bubbling warm water. Sit at whirling massage jets on the side benches, stand in front of the swim jet for more forceful water movement, or just float and stretch in still water looking up at the sky.

What is the pressurized hose like that’s used in the hydrotherapy massage?
In a hydrotherapy massage, the therapist holds a hose with a nozzle like what you see in hot tubs. A mixture of air and warm water forced through the hose produces the massaging action of the nozzle. The stream of water pulsing on the skin feels deep without being painful and has the effect of relaxing the muscles, loosening the joints and releasing the body’s natural pain killers (endorphins).
Is aquatic therapy something new?
The therapeutic use of water and baths, both internally and externally can be traced back over 6000 years. Traditional methods of treating disease and injury can be found in many healing systems including those of ancient Rome, China, Japan and Greece, as well as in our own Native American and folk cultures. More recently, new therapies have been developed combining existing models in different ways. Aquatic exercise has become a very popular way of combining physical therapy with water for rehabilitation. With the increased number of pools in gyms and health centers, aquatic fitness classes have become very popular. Watsu developed in the hot springs, doing traditional shiatsu bodywork techniques in warm water instead of on a futon.
What are the recuperative and healing properties of “hydrotherapy?”?
Water has mechanical effects. Our nervous system reacts to the pressure exerted by the water, especially moving water, and to the sensation it gives. Nerves in the skin carry impulses deeper into the body where the immune system is stimulated, where stress hormones are produced, where digestion is encouraged, blood flow invigorated and pain sensitivity lessened. Pressure on the skin also stretches it, encouraging the underlying lymphatic vessels to carry away waste products that cause sensitivity and swelling.

Warm water also has thermal effects, quieting and soothing the body, calming the nerves, endocrine system, heart and lungs, and releasing tension in the muscles.

Weightlessness releases the force of gravity on the musculoskeletal system, allowing the soft tissue to come to a state of rest. The weightlessness also decreases the requirement for oxygen, reduces pressure on the nerves, and gives the body new information to help break its holding patterns. Freedom from the effects of gravity also encourages more flexibility in the spine and joints and allows you to move in ways that may be difficult on land.
Why would I want to have aquatic therapy?
“Submerge the patient in a thermoneutral pool, and you eliminate the temperature gradient between skin and air. Have her close her eyes; she instantly loses the ability to determine where her body ends. Immerse her ears, and you eliminate sound…. Let her body rise and fall in the water with her breath. Gravity loses its strength and the body’s joints are unloaded. The warmth of the water establishes an environment of relaxation and peacefulness. The patient is touched and touch by itself is often healing. Joint mobilization, soft tissue elongation, and massage become less like therapy and more like dance.”
(Andrea Poteat Salzman, MS, PT, Aquatic Resources Network)
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The Abbott Center
323 High Street Westwood
MA 02090-1103

TEL (781) 326-3841
FAX (781) 326-4344

 
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