ARMC Opens Aquatic Therapy Pool


Athens, Tenn. - When the new Athens Regional Rehabilitation Center opened in September of 2006, it offered many services, including speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy, and lymphedema treatment.

However, one room in the new facility remained empty and one service could not be provided - until now.  It was a long time coming, but ARRC finally got its aquatic therapy pool, complete with a private bathroom and changing room.

Michelle Crafton, PT, is director of physical therapy at Athens Regional Medical Center.  She is very excited that aquatic therapy is now available at the Rehab Center.  "Aquatic therapy is very beneficial for patients with a wide variety of medical conditions who are unable to successfully participate in land based therapy.  We have worked hard to complete this project and are happy to be able to provide this service."

Decatur resident, Denise Gentry, was the first patient to use the new facility.  It was not her first experience with aquatic therapy, but it was her best.  "I previously had to travel to a Cleveland facility to receive this treatment. I love the privacy, the changing room, and the chairlift here that were not available there."

Kim Johnston, a member of the physical therapy team, is helping with the establishment of the new program.  She has great qualifications to fill this position.  Johnston is a graduate of the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, with bachelors degrees in Rehab Science and Biology, and a masters degree in Physical Therapy.  She has worked as an aquatic pool therapist in two medical facilities since 2002.

According to Johnston, aquatic therapy uses properties of water to assist  patients during exercise.  "The buoyancy provided by water helps support the weight of the person, thereby reducing stress placed on the joints.  This makes it easier and less painful to perform exercises.  The warm water also assists in relaxing muscles and increases blood flow to affected areas."
Patients who can benefit from aquatic therapy include:

  • Back problems
  • Hip/knee/ankle injuries and post-surgical
  • Strokes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Dysfunction that limits the ability to bear weight and participate in land based therapy.
Athens Regional Rehabilitation Center is located at 425 Old Riceville Road in Athens.  For further information on aquatic pool therapy please call (423) 744-0002.

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