Mark's "Game-Changer" for Parkinson's Therapy
His X500 swim spa heats up the Idaho winter with warm-water therapy.
“It’s been remarkable,” Mark says. After his Parkinson’s diagnosis, his doctor’s recommended aquatic therapy to help him regain his balance. That’s why Mark invested in an Endless Pools® SwimCross® Exercise System, a 15-foot swim spa for his backyard.
After months of daily workouts, “my balance is better, without a doubt,” Mark now asserts. The swim spa has delivered other benefits too – for his wife, his grandchildren, and to help make the long Idaho winters all the more bearable!
A Prolonged Diagnosis
A few years ago, Mark began experiencing “tremors on the left side. Then as things started to progress,” he recalls, “it started going into some balance issues when I walk – stepping off a step or stepping over something, that kind of stuff. And you’d move slower, obviously.
“It took them about a year and a half to two years to diagnose,” he reports, and that’s not unusual. A neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease can take many forms, with a range of possible symptoms. Once he had his official diagnosis, he was ready to act.
“I talked to the doctor and asked for a recommendation.” She suggested that aquatic therapy “might be a good method to try.” He also asked “my neurology doctor, then my regular physician … they agreed.”
Choosing a Therapy Spa
Before choosing an Endless Pools swim spa, Mark tried another brand of swim spa that a friend owned. But with accessibility being a significant issue for him, he rejected that one. “It seemed like the steps didn’t work quite right.” By contrast, he found, “I didn’t have a problem climbing in and out of this one,” meaning his SwimCross X500 model.
He also appreciated that Endless Pools swim spas offer SwimDek®, which are cushioned, high-grip inlays for the swim spa floor and interior steps. Soft, durable, and designed for safety in aquatic environments, SwimDek provides exceptional traction and added comfort. When you have balance issues, that grip translates to peace of mind.
He also enjoys our simple-to-operate flexible swim spa cover. The insulated End2End cover rolls off to one side and then rolls back for a secure fit just as easily.
Installing for Easy Access
To help him get in and out, he installed his X500 swim spa partially in-ground. With just 18 inches of the spa above ground, Mark can sit on the side of the spa to easily step into the water, one leg at a time.
“I poured a concrete pad then put a two-foot concrete stem wall all the way around it. Then I put some drain holes in it” before having the X500 lowered into the vault.
For the deck material, Mark chose a composite lumber designed for durability and ease of maintenance. The deck surrounds the swim spa, “so if it needs to be worked on, you can just crawl in there and go all the way around the unit. The installer said it would be better to have access all the way around in case I need it,” and that’s a recommendation we strongly second.
Daily Aquatic Therapy
Before installing his swim spa, Mark reports getting “fair” results with dry-land therapy exercises. “My knees aren’t that great, so there were some issues with that.” Water’s natural buoyancy relieves some of the pressure on the joints, so naturally, he found, “The water helped me a lot.”
In his swim spa, he now does many of the same exercises that he found so challenging on dry land. “For balance, I’ll turn the river jets on to create a good current. Then I’ll stand in front of it, back a foot or two, and lift one leg up in the air, and alternate back and forth.”
His results from aquatic therapy? “My balance is better, without a doubt,” he states confidently.
When he’s not exercising in his X500 swim spa, “I may go out there and just lay in the water for 45 minutes. It seems like the relaxation helps.”
Have his doctors commented on his progress? “They have made the comment that they’re surprised [my symptoms] haven’t progressed more.” That’s a positive report when dealing with a degenerative, progressive disease such as Parkinson’s!
Is It Covered?
One of the most common questions that we hear at Endless Pools is, “Will insurance cover my therapy pool?” Mark shared a noteworthy success story.
“My insurance company,” he reports, “they first said it really isn’t a covered item, but it’s not named as an exclusion either.” After some phone calls and paperwork, he reports, “They actually ended up paying for about 60 or 70 percent of the cost. That’s a rarity, I think. They thought it was worth a shot. I’m sure they’re watching what my claims do.”
Regardless of how the insurance carrier calculates its cost-effectiveness, Mark feels certain that he’s getting results. “This swim spa is real game changer for me. I use it daily, and it’s been remarkable.”