Last week, Mrs Wifey and I visited Calvert Trust in order to give my wobbly bones some good old hydrotherapy.
Calvert Trust specialises in offering accessible holidays and activities and is located right next to Kielder reservoir which is ideal for me when I need some good old water-based physio. Swimming is great for building up muscle-tone, which is often poor in people with EDS, and for me the warm water is great for easing pain.
I’m struggling a lot at the moment with hip dislocations, muscle tears and balance problems thanks to my bendy body, and my usual physiotherapy I do at home isn’t helping. So I decided I needed to get myself back in the water where I can gently work on moving my legs and joints and hope that I can rebuild some of the muscle tone I am beginning to lose.
We had booked our session in advance and arrived a little early just in case there were others sharing the pool with us. Lucky for us we were had the pool to ourselves. After waiting in the reception area we were shown to the pool area and after a quick explanation of how everything worked, we were left to it.
The changing room was very spacious and had been designed with wheelchair users in mind. There were two large changing rooms with plenty of space to swing my chair around and a lovely large toilet with a shower just next door, which again had plenty of space.
The pool was small but with plenty of space to move around and swim. Long steps stretched the length of the pool allowing users to choose between a shallow toe-dipping or an adventurous deep-sea dive. I started with simple standing and walking along the middle step and after working my leg muscles well I then joined Mrs Wifey in the deep part of the pool. Standing on our tip-toes, the water came up to our chins and we soon turned to swimming a few small lengths before Mrs Wifey helped me with some more physio in the deeper water.
When it was time to dry off, I pulled myself out of the water and transferred from the pool edge straight into my wheelchair while Mrs Wifey used the shallow steps. After showering and getting dressed we headed back to reception where we booked ourselves an hour in the Sensory Room.
If you haven’t experienced a sensory room you have not lived! Imagine a dark room filled with gentle relaxing music, dimly coloured lights dancing around the walls and giant bubble tubes changing colour as you drift off to sleep. Sensory rooms are usually found in schools for children with additional needs and were originally designed to help people with various abilities to interact with their environment whilst also being calming. However, anyone can benefit from the utter relaxation that can be found in one of these magical spaces.
Mrs Wifey had never been in a sensory room before but she quickly picked a giant beanbag to curl up on next to the giant bubble tubes. Having worked with children with disabilities and additional needs for years, I knew exactly what to expect and after kicking off my shoes I headed straight for the fibre-optic lights and wrapped myself up in them.
The sensory room also has a UV section with a starry ceiling, a fibre-optic curtain, aromatherapy diffuser and much more.
When our hour was up we were both so relaxed we floated back to the car, but not before booking another swim session in a couple of weeks.
If you fancy a swim or need a good dose of calm, Calver Trust’s hydropool and sensory room are a great way to spend a few hours. The staff are very helpful, accessibility is priority and most importantly, it is affordable.
Hydropool – £2.50 per person for 1 hour.
Sensory room – £6 per person for 1 hour
Wheelchair-access is top notch. There is a hoist into the pool but you need to ask staff for assistance. The sensory room is wheelchair accessible and all of the features are controlled by switches that are clearly marked so you can control the environment to your specific needs. The reception area houses a very loud coffee machine that may be an issue for people with ASD or Sensory Processing Disorder so bring ear plugs if you find noise difficult.