by Dee McMath
Aqua therapy is a form of aerobic exercise in water. It is often used for rehabilitation after a sports injury or when the body is weak after illness or surgery. Considered safer than many land sports, it come highly recommended by physiotherapists worldwide.
The sports and health club industry has come of age in Andalucia. There is something international about gym culture worldwide. In the main towns of Andalucia and especially all along the Costa del Sol, English is spoken. You may even be surprised to find that English-speaking people, who have settled in these parts, run some of the gyms on the coast. In the Málaga Province alone there are over 130 gyms/sport centres open now, with current membership estimated around the 40,000 mark. This growing health conscious culture has given rise to the awareness of our physical state. Back injuries, bone disorders and muscle pain need special treatment. This can often be addressed by exercising in the swimming pool or aqua therapy.
Some of the larger sports clubs have swimming pools and some sports areas in the larger hotels have pools, where some form of water exercises are on the timetable. Most of the up-market health clinics will have a pool area and may have special times when a physiotherapist attends to give private of group classes. It's always best to phone up and ask if such classes exist, what level and age group they cater for and if you can join in as a non-member (or in the case of a hotel - as a non resident). Its much less likely that you will find aqua therapy or water aerobics further inland in Andalucia, but once you have a series of exercises, you can practice in a hotel pool, if you are traveling in more inland or remote areas.
On the Coast, many hotels may have a water aerobics programme in the summer months and is good fun, but unlikely to be at the professional level of a qualified physiotherapist.
In Málaga at the beginning of 2002 the "Aquasalus" Rehabilitation Centre opened and offers help for those with various complaints that require special physiotherapy and aqua therapy. The Technical Director of the Centre, Antonio Cuesta, explains that each patient is given a specific set of exercises to do, after an initial medical consultation. The main benefit of this type of exercise treatment is the absence of gravity, thus giving the body a chance to exercise without danger of further injury. Many degenerative bone diseases are treated at the Centre, as well as problems with the muscles and joints. Sr. Cuesta says that each patient receives an individually tailored treatment from highly qualified and experienced physiotherapists. The duration of treatment depends on the patient and his or her condition. Although Spanish professionals man this Centre, since Málaga has a long history of English speaking residents and visitors, many of the staff members speak some English and there is often someone on hand to translate.