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Fruit and Veg, Hydrotherapy, Art and Garden

Notes from the Neuro Café on 24th March 2021.

Fruit and Veg

A positive start to the day eating apples instead of biscuits. This fitted nicely with our initial chat about home-grown fruit and vegetables. We heard about an allotment with so many varieties of fruit and vegetables being planted, I think we will all be in the queue for fresh produce come the end of the summer! Some interesting photos had been posted on the group chat showing all the new plantings. Inspiration for everyone!

A few reminiscences about growing up in a time where most people grew their own produce. Some LEGS people had allotments where advice was welcomed by Greek and Turk expert gardeners; others remembered being treated to breakfast of fresh papaya every day, grown amongst the fruit trees, tomatoes, mulberries, mangoes on their plot.


Conor described the numerous benefits of hydrotherapy for those with a neurological condition. Acqua or acqua physio therapy can help increase your independence as you can practise movements more safely in the water than on land. There is no risk of falling in the water!

Hydrotherapy can reduce anxiety and help develop more relaxed and fluid movements, and reduce the possibility of muscles freezing or seizing up when you have a neurological condition.

After an initial assessment you can

  • improve stiffness of muscles

  • relieve pain

  • practice balance and walking

  • improve gait, walking, balance

  • improve venous return

Water provides resistance and moving in it helps improve muscle strength.

Where to go

Hydrotherapy is quite widely available. Your GP or other healthcare professional can refer you for hydrotherapy treatment (after UK pools reopen on 12 April).

You could find a public pool with a hoist to help get in and out of the water.

  • Sometimes even standing in the water is beneficial: children’s pools are good for this because they are warmer and less deep than main pools

  • find a person who knows you well to accompany you into the pool

  • speak to pool staff who are usually happy to help

  • You expend as much as 6x the amount of energy walking in a pool as you use on dry land

  • swimming instructors can wait in the pool for you; book lessons

  • ask your local pool, you may be surprised at how far they will go out of their way to help!

A long-term goal may be to start swimming again.

LEGS staff will be happy to help you get referred to a local pool.

Participants had tried hydrotherapy in the past and enjoyed it and found it gives a sense of achievement and is good exercise. Even splashing or throwing a ball is good fun. Highly recommended as an activity… notwithstanding the odd occasions where one member turned turtle in a pool in the South of France while his wife was being slowly devoured by mosquitoes at the pool edge, or encountering problems with slipping by the poolside, necessitating the summoning of a full crash team whereas one person helping to get up would have sufficed!


Contact the pool in advance of your visit and explain what support you need, such as support for balance.

Be aware that wet floors can be slippery and dangerous.

Be careful your walking stick does not float away!

Some places have a hoist with a detachable chair and your carer can wheel you to and from the changing rooms in.

Art and Gardening

LEGS participants do keep busy. Such as trying a new artistic activity using acrylic paints.

We heard about growing plants, including pineapples. You can do that in the house; take the top off, put in a bowl of water and see the roots grow. Avocados can also be grown at home although you could grow one for years and only have a few leaves on a tall stalk. A date palm has been grown to about 7 feet tall; this took years to grow but can now be put outside. Strawberries grow well, even indoors, and bear fruit, usually in the second year.

Suggestion to protect your soft fruits from birds: put some plastic drain pipes in sand, place a net over the top.

We agreed that things taste nicer when they are home-grown.

Some risky misadventures in the garden: accidentally strimming wife’s plants; watering her plants with the wrong watering can, ie the one containing weedkiller (killing all the plants).

Tips outside: keep walking around the block and improve every time.

It is fine to use a walking stick. Remember to build up activities gradually and do not overdo things.

Despite the fact that the session was ending, there was unfortunately just enough time for a couple of the usual groan-worthy jokes.

Conor reminded us that although there are no LEGS exercise sessions for the next two weeks, the Neuro Café will take place on 30.03.21 and 07.04.21 at the usual time of 10am.

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