can swimming heal GBSers

    • Anonymous
      September 1, 2006 at 6:18 pm

      how good is swimmming for gbsers,
      we took my sister who s a gbser since april now , and she could slightly move her legs, (she is on a wheelchair, and can hardly move her hands: swimming pools and sea could be veryyyy efficient, don’t you think so

    • Anonymous
      September 1, 2006 at 6:54 pm

      When I first was beginning my recovery, the physical therapists worked with me for a couple of weeks in a 4.5 ft heated (92*) pool because they said that the extra buoyancy was vewry easy on the joints. The resistance and mild heat helped too. It worked very well for me, and really helped the transition to normal walking. I hope she recovers quickly, and good luck.

    • September 2, 2006 at 12:26 am

      Yesterday I went swimming for the first time since I got GBS. It was in salt water in a protected cove and the water was very warm. I was always a good swimmer but I was disappointed that I could not swim with anywhere near my normal force. I couldn’t do a strong sissors kick nor use my legs for most of my forward thrust as I normally would. I had to rely mostly on my arms. I couldn’t swim down and keep myself on the bottom either. I could swim however and my control over my breathing was normal. Since I could swim for several kilometers before and now I can only swim for 10 or 15 minutes without resting I am a bit unhappy. I am not close enough to water to go swimming very often but I think it would help me if I could. I think swimming is therapeutic. The water supports your weight which is a big advantage.

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 1:50 am

      if you take her in the water please make sure she is wearing a life jacket. i swim-well use to when it was warmer, i started off without a jacket then thought if i over did it, which is very easy to do then i couldn’t get out and wouldn’t put that responsibility on my kids. it is good therapy, just don’t over do.

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 12:32 pm


      Swimming is good for GBSERS. In the begining of Frank’s illness he had water therapy and it was the only time he could stand unaided.

      But I see that your title of this thread is “Can swimming heal GBS?”

      The answer is no, the body has to heal itself and will take a very long time.

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 12:50 pm

      I found that having sessions in a pool, while recovering, helped decrease the time it took for me to start walking again. Mainly because of the boyancy issues what allowed me to move more freely, without the risk of loosing balance and crashing to the floor.

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 12:51 pm


      As Brandy said, no on healing. Darn good for rehab though. Time heals, rehab keeps the body ready and willing when it comes. I will say this though. Take the water words sea, lake, river, out of your vocabulary. Water to a GBSer means pool only. Why? No current, no waves. Pools have circulation and filtration only, and that can be a bit much in the beginning too. My first time in a pool with therapists, lifed in by chair, I started to just walk around the perimiter to get the feel. Doing just great, smiles on the therapist’s faces, then I passed the water jetting out of a location, and all hell broke loose. The therapists wern’t that close to me at that point. Knocked me off balance, couldn’t hold my feet undernieth me, and I went under. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      September 2, 2006 at 2:27 pm

      For GBSers, light exercises are part and parcel of the life now. My physio therapist had suggested that Swimming is also best exercise depending upon our capacity/condition, and that too in the pool only (and not do overdo).

    • Anonymous
      September 4, 2006 at 12:42 pm

      Have been in the pool now for over a year and once it was felt that my core was strong enough started swimming (with a float) doing the breast stroke –and I might add with afos’ and sneakers on. The extra weight just made me work harder to do any kind of kicking-as the therapist mentioned “anyone can swim without these on the trick is for you to do them with the braces on!” Now have been able to do the backstroke but with no afos-braces — What Racer has mentioned re the jets is so true — they can really play a big part in keeping you aware as to the power of movng water — would love to take a walk into the ocean but not yet! Swimming has been a challenge and a very strong booster in my general feeling of “getting better slowly” -the removal of gravity allowing me to work on so many other things -sit-stand-balance, the sequencing of activities (legs/arms/breathng) in swimming has been and continues to be a big plus!

      Head for the pool but make sure there will be someone with you

      Robert L

    • Anonymous
      September 4, 2006 at 1:28 pm

      Hi agin,

      I was a complete quad when I took my first dip. So, pool work can be done very early in the recovery stages. That is where I stood upright for the first time on my own, and took my first steps on my own and felt my feet on ground for the first time. With flotation devices of coarse. As Robert figured out, weight is your enemy for awhile. What I immediatly took away from the first time was that if I can do it in water, then only time stands in my way before being able to do things on dry land. There’s your inspiration to keep at it when being defeated on dry land. Remember, I did it in water, just more time needed. I never used braces of anykind while doing it, like Robert. Probably for the sole reason that he could and I can’t. Without is the best way to get all small ankle and feet movements and other little stuff to get some action. Water is good.

    • Anonymous
      September 4, 2006 at 11:31 pm

      I agree with Brandy that swimming will not heal GBSers. Most of us can say we are not healed. Complete recovery is more a myth than reality. I think the more severe your case the less chance of complete recovery. We learn to adjust and just are thankful we can do what we can do. Speaking of swimming I tried walking out in Lake Michigan this summer for the first time since my GBS of over 20 months and it was a little wavy. I noticed trying to walk barefoot into the lake was not easy as I could not balance as well. I only went in up to my mid calves. I was afraid of falling over. Maybe I should try water shoes next time. I can walk barefoot at home but not on uneven sinking sand. I did try swimming in a friend’s pool but like you said it is not like you are used too. A therapeutic pool is like 90 degrees and then you don’t swim, you learn to walk around the edges and walk in the bars and float on your back. I didn’t do any swimming.


    • September 4, 2006 at 11:32 pm

      Movement I think affects the nerves in the process of recovering and promotes healing and regrowth of your nerves. My baby who is 13 months old walks a bit like me but her nerves are not damaged. With time her constant movement will result in her gradually learning to walk more efficiently. Her nerves respond to practice and I think it is the same with someone who has nerve damage. In swimming one moves muscles that are not normally used in other forms of exercise. How can one say that your nerves are not affected by this movement? I think there is a two way relationship between your nerves and movement. Your nerves cause movement but movement helps the nerves to recover. Conversely the lack of movement I think would impede the healing of your nerves.

    • Anonymous
      September 5, 2006 at 10:05 am


      Bingo Robert! Exactly why I had to get moving soon, in any way. Nerves will go, or heal, where the body asks them to go first, and go places where help is needed. Right after the life support areas. Not used, not a priority, is how I looked at it.

    • Anonymous
      September 5, 2006 at 5:31 pm

      Hey folks,

      Thought I would share this for what it is worth. As you can guess, I have done a lot of swimming over the years … anywhere from 3 to 6 hours of swimming per day, every day, for over 10 years straight.

      After GBS, I went swimming as part of a lesson (I was the teacher) to help a triathlete on his form. While the swimming felt fine, I did notice something of which to take care. Since muscle activation is likely depressed in your legs, be careful of developing very strong muscle cramping while swimming. Just a little bit of activity can now trigger muscle cramping. Further, lack of muscle control can make it very difficult to rid yourself (or partially offset) the effects of cramping.

      So, in summary, my advice is to be sure to go swimming with a friend who can help you if you get into trouble … even if you are/were a nationally ranked competitive swimmer! Better safe than sorry.

      Happy paddling.

    • Anonymous
      September 15, 2006 at 6:51 am

      thanks for your help, we took my sister out from hospital in the weekend and went to the sea with two good swimmers with her, she could move slightly but we were very close to beach, anyway, swimmig, walkers, socks these are accesories the main thin that can heal anyone is faith, will, courage and patience, and also the idea that we can be happy without necessarily being healed completetly?

    • Anonymous
      September 17, 2006 at 8:55 pm

      I just returned from 4 wks in Cancun.
      ex, where I went swimming in pool and did aquaerobis every day for an hour. The water was warm and the depth5 ft. A friend gave me a splash ball which I used in the pool to help strength my hands, wrist and arms. We were joined by other friends, passing the splash ball around. It was therapeutic for my and fun for all. Tomorrow I go to health and fitness club to swim and do aquaerobics, 3xwk. The indoor pool is about 83, not as warm as the outdoor pool in Mex, and is graded to 5 ft. I can now cut steak without help, type better, and am beginning to walk (like a toddler)without assistance. Axon GBS hit me 17 mos ago at the age of 79, I couldn’t move legs, hands, fingers, arms. Was in hospital 84 days, ot/pt, continued outpatient another 10 months, followed by swimming and aquaerobics. Like everyone else, I’m working at it and praying for the best recovery possible.


    • Anonymous
      October 3, 2006 at 1:20 am

      i try to go swimming once in a while for keeping the movement there. i get easily tired after i do it, but it makes me feel so.i think swimming does help

    • Anonymous
      October 4, 2006 at 8:44 am

      The question was [B]”Can swimming heal GBSERS?”[/B]

      Swimming certainly helps in the therapy end of it, but it does not cure or heal GBS.

      Frank had swimming therapy and it was the only time he could be free of any devices that would help him walk on ground. He could actually walk around the pool unaided. He loved it and I personally think it should be part of everyone’s therapy. 🙂