In 2005 I was diagnosed with disabling chronic pain syndrome and later with fibromyalgia. I also had back injuries. After being disabled for 17 years, my chiropractor damaged my carotid artery, causing me to have a stroke in February 2020. I was lucky, if there is such a thing as a mild stroke, and only sustained minimal brain damage. As it turned out the surgeons’ missed a little flap at the original injury site and in August 2020, I suffered another stroke. My new surgeon was able to remove the clot before it reached my brain, which is the only reason I have been able to regain much of the use in my left arm, hand, leg and face. In January 2021 I had vascular surgery to repair the injury. After two strokes and two surgeries, my nerves, muscles, tendons and fascia were tight, weak, stuck and extremely painful. I continued to go to physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy, but my fascia refused to loosen up and the nerves in sections of my left arm and leg would not respond. My osteopath recommended I go to WATSU®. “Whatsu?” I exclaimed. “What’s that? I had never heard of it. After my osteopath’s quick description of WATSU® and seeing the photos online of smiling patients having a WATSU® treatment, I just had to make an appointment.
That is when I had the pleasure of meeting Trudy Jagger at Celestial Seahorse WATSU® Pool! When I arrived at Trudy’s therapy pool, I did not know what to expect. Her smiling face was there to greet me at the door. I was in a desperate state. Since the second stroke, I had been unable to fully lift my left leg, because of motor nerve disfunction and pain. Every time I put pressure on my leg, sat down, or lay down, my leg hurt and squirmed uncontrollably. It was driving me crazy and irritating my fibromyalgia and other injuries. I had not slept for days and was feeling depressed, anxious, and trapped in my body. Now, back to WATSU®.
Trudy asked me a few questions about what I had been through and what I needed from the session. She helped me into this wonderfully warm pool with jets that gently heat and move the water. She attached floaty weights to my legs and said that if it did not make me uncomfortable, I could either rest my head on her shoulder or she could use a floating neck pillow. Before she finished her sentence I had relaxed. It felt so good to let go. The warm water alone, already lifting some of the stress and pain away from my body. Then Trudy started to move me slowly and gently through the water. My fascia lifted and relaxed. She then began to gently lift and massage sections of my back, arms, and legs. I could feel the fascia unwinding and relaxing. I have been to many different modalities over the years, but this was the first time that unsticking my fascia and loosening it did not hurt at all. Trudy gently took my right arm and my right leg and put her knee in my middle and gently stretched me out. As Trudy pulled and pushed me through the water, stretching and massaging my tissues, guiding me past the wonderful warm jets, I felt like a young able dancer. Graceful, limitless, and pain free. It reminded me from my cells to my psyche what it felt like to move when I was a child. All I could say over and over while sitting in the pool after my treatment was “wonderful, absolutely wonderful!” and it was.
I have been going to Trudy twice a week for a little over a month now and I have noticed great improvements. First, my mood is better and my ability to see possibilities in my life has been activated after being shut down for more than a decade of struggle. Physically, my fascia is letting go and allowing my muscles to start working properly. I had been in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy since my first stroke. After the second stroke my fascia was so stuck from falling and spasming from the stroke, that I had stopped progressing. I kept doing my physical therapy homework, but instead of improving, my pain got worse and my ability to move my leg reduced. Since starting WATSU®, I have been able to walk and go up the stairs every other foot without holding onto the railing. I can now stretch my left leg in the “figure four” stretching position which has allowed me to put my own socks and shoes on without help. For me, there has been no painful recovery time after treatment. Also, as a person recovering from brain damage, WATSU® allows my brain to heal, sense and adapt in real time as my tissues adapt and heal. It lets my peripheral nervous system connect with my central nervous system without any delays between the two. I don’t know if it is because water causes everything to have a different rhythm than on land, or if it is because it provides a frame around my body that allows me to be more aware of where I am in space and how I am doing. On land I often have pockets of nerve damage and pain that leave me slightly unable to navigate where I am in space. WATSU® lowers my pain, lightens the burden on my neurology, and makes me feel happy, healthy and energized again. I am certain that part of it is because Trudy is such a great, educated, centered practitioner who I trust completely. WATSU® has changed my life and given me the “vacation” from pain and disability I need to stay sane and continue to heal. WATSU® has reconnected me with my sense optimism and reminded me of a time when I did not hurt.