Birth of the Waterbabies at Santa Rita Springs

Kathy Jendrezewski

Walking through the double turquoise doors at Tucson’s Santa Rita Springs for the first time, Kathy Jendrezewski had no idea what she would experience. The welcome sitting areas beckoned her, but the pool was what she was interested in. Suffering from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and the whole range of things that come with those syndromes, moving her body had been painful for a long time. She fell often, had no energy, was depressed and had been feeling isolated.

The pool house created a feeling of belonging, with a waterfall, plants around the pool and a southwestern mural outside the window. “When I got into the pool, the relief was immediate. I could move, I could stretch, I could move like I hadn’t for a long time—without pain. The water itself was wonderful,” Jendrezewski describes. “The other part of it was the wonderful women I met. I had expected everyone in such a group to moan and groan about the pain and other challenges they were facing, but there wasn’t any of that. Instead, I found the new information exchanged was invaluable. The support, though, is what surprised me. Authentic, caring women were there to listen, encourage and best of all, laugh.”

Sometimes the group of women meditates, sometimes they just visit, but throughout each session, they are moving. Using aqua arm weights and noodles to aid in exercise routines, each individual does their work on their own. A group might include people with all kinds of ailments, some strengthening to prepare for surgery, some with fibromyalgia, MS, arthritis and other mystery conditions. People who can barely walk may even ditch their walker after just a few months of doing work in the water.

Six years later, Jendrezewski continues to go to the pool twice a week. She even started Waterbabies Freestyle Poolsharing, as her way to help other ill, isolated, pain-ridden women. “I found near ecstasy, and want others to feel that too. I make a point of never missing a session,” she enthuses. “I continue to be drawn to the relief, and mesmerizing comfort I feel at Santa Rita Springs. As one of my Waterbabies said, ‘Santa Rita is not only a therapy pool, but offers support for healing.’”

Kathy Jendrezewski facilitates Waterbabies Freestyle Poolsharing at Santa Rita Springs, located at 2301 N. Santa Rita Ave., Tucson, and can be reached at 520-577-7377
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