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Floating away the pain

Park Nicollet pool therapy helps treat depression, chronic pain


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March 13, 2017

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Cindy Olson tried a number of treatments to find relief from depression and chronic pain.

While she found some success, in July 2016 her condition had reappeared. That is when Cindy met Kristin Berling, an occupational therapist with the Park Nicollet Lifestyle Renewal Program in St. Louis Park.

“I didn’t think that my visit with Kristin would be helpful. I didn’t think there was anything more she could do to help me,” Cindy recalls. “I was surprised when she suggested a different breathing technique and warm water pool therapy.”

Image of Cindy Olson Cindy Olson treats her depression and fibromyalgia with warm water pool therapy.

Park Nicollet offers pool therapy in St. Louis Park and Eden Prairie to treat patients with a number of conditions. These include arthritis, chronic pain, and fibromyalgia. According to Berling, the benefits are both physical and mental.

“It improves body awareness and increases self-confidence to participate in other activities,” says Berling. “It also relaxes muscles and has an overall calming effect due to the warmth of the water, improved blood supply, and slowed down nervous system.”

Two weeks after their appointment, Cindy made her first trip for a pool session. What she found would change her life for the better.

“The instructor explained how pool therapy helps to retrain the nervous system. I also learned relaxation floating and spent about 30 minutes doing it on my own. This was very relaxing and gave me a healing feeling,” she says.

After just one session in the pool, Cindy felt relief from her chronic pain and exhaustion.

“For the first time in a long time, I felt better,” she says. “The pool therapy became the first activity I looked forward to in months.”

While Cindy could feel the difference, Berling says that she could see the changes on the outside as well.

“It was such a pleasure to work with Cindy,” she says. “I was so happy to see her progress and transformation.”

Despite being a skeptic at first, Cindy admits that her experience has been life changing.

“Pool therapy has been healing in a way that is different and worth every minute I have spent in the water. I am thankful every day to know this is available to me.”

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