Friday, 01 February 2013 11:05

Interview with LeAnn Childress Featured

Written by Stephanie Johnson

Aquatic therapy can be useful for just about anyone. LeAnn Childress, PT, ATC/LAT, ATRIC, and her staff at West Tennessee Healthcare rehabilitation facilities hope to make that fact known in their community. With four existing pools and two new pools coming to the LIFT Wellness Center in Jackson, Tenn., the Sports Plus, Work Plus and Aqua Therapies facilities are ready for everyone from the avid triathlete to the weekend gardener with sore knees.

“We can take care of any need. Aquatics can meet any need a person has,” Childress explained.

The new pool at the LIFT Wellness Center in Jackson, Tenn. has a deep well which will aid patients who are hindered by weight bearing. It also contains a four lane lap pool, a heated therapy pool and a large hot tub. The pool is equipped with UV lighting and an Evacuator pool system to make it comfortable for even the most sensitive of clients. The four other pools are located in Dyersburg, Humboldt, Milan and Jackson, Tenn.

While aquatic therapy can certainly help patients with fibromyalgia and arthritis, Childress hopes aquatic therapy can overcome the stigma that it is just for older patients.

“You don’t think about (aquatic therapy) with the well population,” she said. “It’s not just for the physically challenged.”

She hopes physicians and those in her community will understand benefits available so close to home. Although some clients may not know how to swim, this should not stop them from pursuing aquatic therapy for their needs.

“We’ve seen miracle after miracle of what aquatics can do, both personally and professionally,” Childress said.

Childress’ interest in aquatics started after attending a conference in 1999. “I just soaked it in after that,” she said of her passion, even if her day to day activities now primarily consist of management duties.

Childress and her staff currently work with student athletes in the West Tennessee area: 15 high schools and two community colleges. The staff trainers assist with athletic training, on-field assessments, taping and prevention. Each trainer is assigned to a clinic. If an injury is prescribed physical therapy, they often can utilize aquatic therapy at one of their four pools.

“I get the kids in there and afterwards they just look at me and say ‘Miss LeAnn, you kicked my butt!’”

Childress said because of the small town atmosphere in West Tennessee, the junior leagues will often contact the trainers as well, which she views as a positive. Besides organized sports athletes, she also wants others to know aquatic therapy may be beneficial for them, like the weekend rock climber or home gardener.

“Triathletes, runners and marathoners have really picked up here in Tennessee and we can help them get the help they need,” she said.

To further the staff’s knowledge as their customer base grows, Sports Plus AquaTherapies will host Aquatic Therapy University and their Aquatic Training for the Collegiate, Professional and Elite Athlete seminar March 1 and 2.

Childress said she is specifically excited about learning new sport specific techniques.

“A lot of the athletes are in the best shape of their life with their strength and endurance, but they can lose it so fast because they can’t do load-bearing exercises after an injury,” she said.

The Sports Plus AquaTherapies facility has worked with ATU in the past and was able to increase their staff’s knowledge base through their industry recognized aquatic expertise. Childress said they plan on hosting an ATU seminar every year to continue to learn new skills.

She encourages other facilities wanting to venture into aquatic therapy to not give up. Childress advises to start small if needed and to try working with pools in local hotels.

“It’s the best thing that’s happened to us in my opinion,” she said.


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Read 1478 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 February 2013 22:06

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