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Meet Michelle McLafferty of Aqua Care For Me in Studio City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle McLafferty.

Michelle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have always been part-mermaid. My love of water came naturally, through my Hawaiian heritage, I learned to swim before I could walk, and I’ve always felt at home in the water. I’ve also known, since around age 7, that I wanted to become a doctor. Specifically, a holistic doctor, helping people naturally manage stress and overcome pain, with a focus on the mind-body connection. It wasn’t until many years later, after becoming a Chiropractor, that my love of water merged full circle with this calling to heal. The weightless buoyancy and support which water provides, creates an ideal environment for healing to occur. I am so grateful to have discovered Aquatic Therapy as a specialty.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road (or water, in our case) was a little choppy in the beginning, branding and marketing a business which is quite unique. Aquatic Therapy is an unusual niche, and to our knowledge, there are no other Chiropractic aquatic therapy specialists in California. Thankfully, we have received wonderful word-of-mouth marketing from previous clients, colleagues, as well referrals from several physicians within LA, who support Aquatic Therapy and seek to empower patients before/after surgery, or help them avoid surgery and reduce pain naturally, in the water, as opposed to prescribing excess pain medications. Overall, the waters have been smooth, especially over the past couple years, with wonderful feedback from our clients. We have been happy to see the business growing steadily every year.

Please tell us about Aqua Care For Me.
Aquatic Therapy is therapy that is done in a pool, in warm water, to restore movement and strength. We create personalized aquatic fitness programs, therapeutic exercise training, and perform hands on therapy, stretching, and massage, in the pool. Services are provided by Doctor of Chiropractic and aquatic therapist, with over 10 years of Aquatics experience, who is in the water with you, by your side.

Water creates an ideal environment for healing to occur. Water’s buoyancy creates a sense of weightlessness, relieving muscle tension, and facilitating joint decompression. It is an ideal environment for the client to receive hands on adjustments, stretches, and floating bodywork.

Furthermore, being in the water is FUN, and helps us get out of our “Head,” and more in tune with our body. Floating, exercising, and playing in the pool is an invigorating way to reduce pain, gain strength, and reconnect with our “Best self.”

Sessions may include gait and balance training, deep and shallow water cardio exercise, tai chi in the water, Pilates-type core stability training, as well as assisted stretching, floating massage, and manual bodywork, all provided in our pool, or a pool of your choice (we offer travel to local residential pools within LA).

OUR BODIES ARE APPROX 75% WATER. Therapy in the water provides several benefits that exercise on land cannot. Water:

Limits joint impact and enhances joint stability
Provides isokinetic resistance, which helps tone muscles – especially the abdominals and core
Is excellent for aerobic and muscular conditioning after injury or before/after pregnancy
Allows for faster progress, with less pain and increased stamina
Provides hydrostatic pressure, which naturally decreases swelling and edema
Improves circulation, balance, and proprioceptive feedback
Targets separate muscle groups, and adds unique variety to land-based exercise regimens

* Swim skills are not necessary. One’s face remains out of the water at all times, and it is possible to keep one’s head, ears, and hair dry while receiving therapy, if they desire.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Being in the water: Swimming with my dad in the ocean, diving through waves, snorkeling to see many species of fish, stingrays, octopus. We even saw the occasional shark, or sea lion, swim by, which never frightened me. I would tread water, and float on my back beyond the shore break, literally for hours, feeling completely centered and at peace.

Pricing:

  • $110/60min, $160/90min: 1-on-1 Individualized Aquatic Therapy. Sessions are individualized to fit the clients needs. These private sessions include aquatic therapy techniques such as Water Tai Chi, core and spinal stabilization, cardio, muscle strengthening & posture and breath awareness – all focusing specifically on the clients needs and precautions. Many of the exercises and manual techniques will be offered in deep water (wearing an aqua belt) and while floating comfortably on your back aided by flotation equipment…reducing compressional forces on your joints. Some of the manual techniques offered in water are massage, acupressure, spinal traction, joint mobilization & deep or soft stretching.
  • $90/60min; $125/90min: Aqua Personal Fitness Training. Includes a comprehensive fitness routine that focuses on your own personal goals, needs & precautions. Our personalized 1-1 aquatic fitness training emphasizes cardiovascular exercise, core stability, balance training, muscle strengthening and recovery from injuries, surgery, or pain. All the non-assisted stretches will be guided by the therapist.
  • $120/60min, $175/90min: Therapeutic WARM water massage, with gentle Chiropractic therapy, combining eastern meridian and point work with myofascial release (massage), proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and breathwork. In a warm pool, the person floats weightlessly (as our bodies are naturally buoyant, although some use small floats wrapped above the knees for added buoyancy). The head is supported by the therapist’s arm or collar while the eyes and nose are out of the water. The body is gently twisted, stretched and wafted through the water in graceful fluid movements as the therapist massages pressure points and stretches your body in ways impossible on a table.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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