Unique aqua physio clinic opens on Iber

Hydrathletics co-owner and manager Shawna Emmott along with founder Joe Stilwell. Photo by Devyn Barrie.

PHOTO: Hydrathletics co-owner and manager Shawna Emmott along with founder Joe Stilwell. Photo by Devyn Barrie.

“Taking the weight off, taking the pressure off… it allows people that have major injuries that can’t do anything on land, to do it in the water.”

Aqua-based physiotherapy has long been popular for pro athletes, and the owners of a new gym in Stittsville hope to bring it into the mainstream in our community.

The Stittsville location of Hydrathletics opened Monday at 154 Iber Road. 

Founder Joe Stilwell operates a similar facility in Kingston and now commutes three days a week to the Stittsville location.

Shawna Emmott is a co-owner and manages the Stittsville facility. She told StittsvilleCentral.ca that Stilwell was the first to make HydroWorx aqua therapy pools available for public use.

“Joe was the first one to bring it to Canada, the first one in Canada that services the public,” said Emmott, “A lot of private, professional athletes and teams have the pools.”

A special pool called a HydroWorx has an underwater treadmill for training and cameras for monitoring. The technology is popular in the United States but Emmott said it never entered the Canadian mainstream because of its prohibitive cost.

Despite the expensive equipment, clients pay about the same as they would for traditional physio.

Hydrathletics pool
The Hydroworx pool. Photo by Devyn Barrie

 

A similar facility called Liquid Gym opened in Ottawa in 2013, incorporating underwater workout equipment.

Stilwell said the water creates a low-gravity environment to lighten the load on clients, who may be too weak for traditional dry land therapy.

“Taking the weight off, taking the pressure off… it allows people that have major injuries that can’t do anything on land, to do it in the water.”

In addition to the pools, the clinic has room for traditional physio and a small gym.

Hydrathletics is only one of many physio clinics in the area and Emmott said that’s because people recognize the benefits.

“I think people are just becoming more aware of what physio can do for people not just in a rehab environment, but in a prehab environment, too.”

She says that many people use physio for training or to prevent injuries from getting worse. Clients include athletes, car accident victims, arthritis sufferers and rehabilitating veterans.

Emmott has roots in the area and that’s one of the reasons they chose to open shop in Stittsville.

“I’m from the west end, I was born and raised in West Carleton,” she said, “So, it had to make sense for me and my family.”

She has practiced physio in the area for the past eight years and hopes to build off the reputation.

Another reason is the rapidly growing population, which recently reached 116,777 in the Kanata-Stittsville area.  Because of a large and mostly active youth population, Hydrathletics expects to get a lot of young athletes as clients.

At the moment the only staff members are Emmott and her mother, but Stilwell plans to hire more soon.

An open house for the community is being planned for after Easter, an exact date hasn’t been determined.

(Devyn Barrie is a student at Sacred Heart High School and runs 960 News, a Stittsville blog and podcast.)


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