How water weights helped me finally recover from shoulder impingement
Hi, my name is Lupko, founder of Tidal Tank. I'd like to quickly tell you about how training with water changed my life, fueling my passion to the share Tidal Tank with the world!
A little background: let there be pain! 😫
It started when I was 16 years old. A little shoulder pain turned into a lot, and before I knew it, I could no longer do any of the activities I so adored. No swimming, no martial arts, not even a single push up.
The verdict: Shoulder impingement, caused by too little room in my shoulders. But after 10 years of seeing many physical therapists, the pain and lack of mobility were still there.
The elastic band exercises only made the pain increase. Furthermore, the detailed instructions made me question my every movement, always anticipating the pain, blaming myself whenever it came.
Things were not getting better and at this point I was seriously considering surgery. According to two surgeons, they could create more room for my nerves by chafing off a part of my shoulder bones.
The turning point: meeting the shoulder magician 🧙
Through a stroke of luck, I heard about a mysterious shoulder specialist. Apparently, he didn't do things 'by the books', and had created a unique treatment method, that was wildly successful. He healed people who had been having shoulder issues for years. While it sounded too good to be true, I had to give it a try.
First session - lack of mobility (and off-camera pain)
The therapist - Wieger Heijkenk - first had me do a simple test: raising my arms fully upward. As you can see, the mobility of my right shoulder was clearly limited. My left shoulder was limited as well, but it's harder to see on the video. What the camera doesn't capture, was that this movement was rather painful, so I preferred to avoid it.
Let the body fix itself using dynamic water weights 🌊
Wieger told me there are two types of learning. Most therapists, all of mine included, only focus on the first:
Explicit learning. The Traditional and Coach focused approach. The coach (or physical therapist) tells the athlete (or client) exactly how to perform a task.
Implicit learning. The New and Athlete focused approach. The coach (or physical therapist) gives only minimal instructions on what to do, never saying how to do it. Rather, he/she gives constraints allowing the client to learn the best way to do the task implicitly (subconsciously by him/herself).
Water weights give the direct feedback needed for implicit learning
➡️ Client deviates to the left ➡️ shoulder locks itself in
❌ shoulder impinged ❌ limited range of motion
Water weight (while standing on a BOSU)
➡️ Client deviates to the left ➡️ water reacts directly, sloshing to the left ➡️ client subconsciously unlocks the shoulder ➡️ achieves full extension of the arms
✔️ shoulder moves freely ✔️ full range of motion
So, I embarked on my water training journey. Starting of with exercises such as the ones below.
This me doing some of the first exercises with Wieger. He never focused directly on painful area directly. Not in practice, and not in speech. It was all about giving an external task - such as 'touch this point', and adding the right constraints. These often involved an unstable platform and holding a tank filled with water. And - This - Did - Wonders. As a client, it not only strengthened my shoulder, but my body was also able to relearn how to move my shoulder correctly. I was having fun and most importantly I was regaining confidence in freely moving my arms.
Soon, I was able to do moves I deemed impossible before
After just 2 months, the shoulder issues I carried with me for 10 years had disappeared, and I had full mobility
Under his guidance, the pain and lack of mobility almost completely disappeared after just 2 months! For me, this was absolute magic. I could not believe how much improved in such a short time. But for Wieger, this apparently happened all the time. He is flooded with patients who've had shoulder issues for years, sometimes having undergone multiple (unsuccessful) surgeries. Just like me, they all come in skeptical to the idea of quick recovery, and they are all blown away when Wieger could fix them, often already to a great extend in one session.
I never imagined I would come this far. I want to sincerely thank Wieger for fixing my shoulder, and inspiring and helping me to start Tidal Tank.
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