Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:30

Advancing Aquatic Therapy in Malaysia Featured

Written by  Stephanie Johnson

 As a former competitive swimmer and daughter of an Olympic swimmer, water has always been a part of Fezia Tyebally’s life.fezia tyebally

“We tried the water and he actually moved in it. So he actually likes the water,” explained Tyebally, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

She now owns and operates Amir’s gym from her home, focusing on strength, stamina and wellness for differently abled children. One side contains a physiotherapy gym and the other a swimming pool and a spa pool.

“I work twice a week with kids in the water and the results are outstanding; they’re not even good, they’re outstanding!” the former Olympic swimmer said.

When he was 13, her son became severely ill and was unable to move from his back. Scoliosis developed but before surgery was pursued, Tyebally worked with him for six months using CranioSacral therapy, myofascial release and water techniques. She made sure to get in the pool every day, even if it was just for 15 minutes.

“In six months, there was an improvement of 20 percent,” she explained. “I knew this was good; I needed to do more.”

Since then, Tyebally has researched and completed programs to expand her knowledge. Among the therapies she uses are Watsu, a combination of hydrotherapy and shiatsu, and the Claire Timmermans Method, a water program for special needs children. She will be expanding her knowledge base next week attending Aquatic Therapy University’s two-week pediatric intensive course in Tennessee June 24 – July 3.

Part of the two weeklong course will be held at Clinton Physical Therapy Center in Clinton, Tenn. Co-owner of CPTC, Kelly Lenz, PT, CEES, a therapist for 29 years, opened the clinic in 1988.

“I wanted the freedom to treat patients,” she explained. “I didn’t want a limit on how long I could spend with a patient or limits on treatment choices.”

Lenz strives to make her clinic a resource for the community.

“We’re well-rounded as far as being able to treat most any kind of patients there is since we have a lot of specialized programs. The pool is one of those.”

Lenz is looking forward to the additional tools and techniques the seminar will provide to her staff, especially for those handling pediatric patients. The clinic treats patients with conditions ranging from delayed motor development, spina bifida, cerebal palsy, down syndrome to autism.

“Having access to the aquatic environment with patients is incredible as far as working with them and especially early intervention,” Lenz said.

In Malaysia, Tyebally sees a great need to expand aquatic therapy as it is seldom used. She sees other clinics where aquatic therapy consists of putting arm bands on patients and allowing them to splash around.

“That’s not hydrotherapy,” Tyebally explains. “What I would really like to be able to do is to teach therapists and even parents that you can use the water.”

She said there is a government system in place for health care in Malaysia, but for special needs children it can be almost negligible. Tyebally often works in Singapore and Indonesia to provide care for children.

“I want to change people’s perception of what happens in the water; that it can be used for so many things,” Tyebally said.

One patient at CPTC, an avid hiker, suffered from multiple rib and spinal fractures following an accident. He was determined to resume hiking within six months of the accident.

“He was not going to sit around and wait while he healed. He wanted to be able to do something,” Lenz said. “Had we not had the pool, it would have been a much longer process because we would not have been able to start as soon as we did.”

The seminar is taught by Kiki Dickinson and Andrea Salzman. Salzman is the founder of Aquatic Therapy University. Both Lenz and Tyebally said they are looking forward to the seminar and the knowledge the instructors will provide.

“We are delighted to have Andrea (Salzman) come use our facility. She’s the expert in the field, nationally and probably internationally as well,” Lenz said. “It will be great to have her here and have our staff be able to take advantage of her expertise.”

Tyebally agreed. “Every time I search the internet and I’m looking for answers or research that’s been done, it’s always done by Andrea.”

Tyebally said the hardest part of her trip to the United States will be leaving her son, but she has explained to him why she is going.

“There will be a lot I can do for him and for other kids,” she said. “He likes to be able to help people. If you tell him that this will happen and it’s going to help someone … he’s quite happy about it.”

See Fezia's webpage here.

See Clinton PT Center webpage here.

Read 1388 times Last modified on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 13:42

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