Pools and lakes are most commonly used for beginner swimmers learning new skills and
experienced swimmers perfecting their strokes. However, it can be used for more therapeutic
purposes as well. The warmth of the water allows for stretching and loosening of the body in
preparation for exercise. Exercise, which in turn, allows for strengthening of muscles around a
damaged, injured, or weakened area of the body. Strengthening these muscle groups allows for
increased functionality to complete activities in our daily lives.
Occupational therapists help people participate in every aspect of their lives to the best
of their ability. This includes helping someone bathe, dress, and feed themselves after
experiencing an injury, making adaptations to accommodate a lifelong disability, and providing
sensory strategies for those with intellectual disabilities. Helping someone with Rheumatoid
Arthritis complete their hobby of gardening with adaptive tools, helping a chef with Parkinson’s
Disease cook their favorite recipes, or helping a child with ADHD find success focusing in the
classroom all fall under the scope of occupational therapy.
Aquatic therapy is a discipline within the field of occupational therapy that can be utilized
for strengthening muscles and coordination for daily activity participation. This might include
recovering post injury or surgery to maintain or rebuild strength and range of motion.
Completing exercises in the water allow for individuals to strengthen muscles around injured
areas without gravity. Controlling levels of resistance in the water and slowly building the body
back up will prepare individuals for dry land exercises. This will allow the injured individual to
walk, sit/stand, and reach/pull with ease while completing a normal daily routine. Those with
long-term physical disabilities like Cerebral Palsy, and those with degenerative diseases such
as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s have wonderful potential for increased movement in the
water. Anti-gravity environments of pools lend themselves to those who wish to move their
bodies in ways they are unable to move on land.
Working as an occupational therapist, aquatics director, and swim instructor over the
course of the last 13 years, I have built an extensive toolbox of skills to show my clients what
they are capable of in the water. I have combined my passions for both aquatics and
occupational therapy to be able to provide aquatic therapy services through New Milford Fitness
& Aquatics Club. I am looking to build my clientele with those of all ages who would benefit from
physical exercise, water exposure, surgery recovery, and so much more!
Liz works as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, providing animal and nature-based therapies to
students at Green Chimneys School in Brewster, NY. Earning her Masters of Science in
Occupational Therapy degree from Towson University, she is now licensed in New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York. Over the years she has provided occupational
therapy, aquatic therapy, and swim lessons to with children, adolescents, and adults with a
variety of abilities. Liz can be found providing aquatic therapy, small group, semi-private, and
private swim lessons at NMFAC.