RELAXING: Aquatic Integration therapist Sandra Gee treats Zvone Vodnik at her Sedgwick Road premises. Photo Sven Carlsson OS0101-01

NEW Zealand’s only certified Aquatic Integration therapist is offering treatment from her home in Opotiki’s Sedgewick Road.

Having previously researched water therapies when she was in her 20s, Sandra Gee tried Watsu, a form of therapeutic bodywork performed in water, in 2014.

At the time she was suffering from pain in her hips and realised the pain was reduced and she obtained relief when in the sea.

She also tried Aquatic Integration, which has its roots in Watsu, and was so impressed she began training as a therapist so she could offer the treatment to others.

Aquatic Integration is a warm water, holistic therapy that encourages sensory integration through touch, communication, stillness and movement.

It bridges Eastern and Western approaches to healing and is an effective treatment for sensory neurological re-patterning, physical and emotional trauma.

“In this water-based therapy we used flotation devices, which free up the practitioner’s hands,” she says. “This means we can mobilise and stretch the patient, all in the water.”

Having worked with massage since her 20s, Sandra says she loves Aquatic Integration because it allowed her to use her hands.

She has been travelling back and forth to the United States this year completing her training in the therapy.

After her first training session, she had a pool airlifted onto her property and got a swim
machine so she could exercise in the pool.”

Sandra has had a dual hip replacement, which she says has removed the pain she was suffering a few years ago. The pool provided great relief when she was recovering after the operation.

She keeps the pool at a temperature of 36 degrees, allowing clients to fully relax.

“Clients suffering from pain, anxieties, PTSD, fibromyalgia and cancer are among those who have benefited from the treatment,” she says.

Eastern Bay resident Zvone Vodnik describes the treatment as relaxing and comfortable.

“You’re supported by the water and the flotation devices while you’re getting a massage and being moved around,” he says.

“My body kept releasing tension for several hours after the actual treatment and I am definitely going back.”

Sandra works with massage, counselling, craniosacral therapy and the water therapy from her property called Waioeka Views.

“We also have a cottage that we are developing into a retreat,” she says. “People can come here and have time out, have massages and water therapy.”