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Pat Segar is unequivocal in her evaluation of therapy in the Endless Pool, which she has done for approximately four years: "Had I not found this as a method to treat my condition" - post-polio syndrome - "I'd be in braces or a wheelchair today."
A 48-year-old registered nurse, Pat's infirmity promises to become more common as the "demographic bulge" of the postwar baby boom generation reaches the age where symptoms tend to emerge. An inflammation of the gray matter of the spinal cord, polio often led to infantile paralysis during the epidemic in the 1950s that was squelched by the discovery of an effective vaccine.
Post-polio syndrome is a re-emergence of symptoms among otherwise healthy people who were exposed to the disease as youths, but did not become seriously ill at the time. Pain and weakness, which at first caused Pat to suspect a chronic back problem, are the syndrome's primary manifestations.
As a medical professional herself, she was also initially frustrated by inability to receive a diagnosis that would allow her to take a proactive approach to treatment. She became convinced of the worth of aquatic therapy, particularly water aerobics, and tries to use her Endless Pool at least every other day, heating it to 86-88 degrees.
In addition, she calculates that it is easily the most economical way to get the therapy she needs, calling it, "The best thing we ever did."
"It's the greatest thing since sliced bread," Pat says.