You’ve just propped your legs on a physical therapy wedge, iced ‘till you felt refreshed, and are walking to your car. Your physical therapy session left you feeling relaxed, loose, and strong. The problem is, how do you re-create this feeling at home?
A physical therapy session is exhausting both mentally and physically. You experience fatigue, frustration, pain, encouragement, soreness, hope, and excitement. You are hard at work on a journey of healing and are doing everything you can to achieve your goals.
A physical therapy bolster is part of the ending to most PT sessions. It’s no accident that your therapist ends your session with a time of rest by perfectly supporting your body on a wedge pillow. After a rigorous therapy session, it is essential to your healing to experience this time of mindfulness.
When your therapist grabs a physical therapy wedge pillow and props your legs up, they are not just passing time. Spending 10-15 minutes in this position allows your blood pressure to lower and your heart rate to come down. It also gives your heart a break because the elevation helps your blood circulate easier.
When you rest on a physical therapy leg bolster, it takes away the arch in your lower spine and allows the muscles around your back and hips to fully relax. This leg bolster will put a slight bend in your knees, allowing your knee joint capsule to rest.
Resting on a bolster pillow shows your body and your mind how good it feels to work hard, and how good it feels to take care of your body. Why then, after doing at home exercises, do most people neglect ending their personal session with mindful and supported rest?
A common answer is “I don’t have time to rest on a wedge bolster!” As a physical therapist, my answer to that is that mindful rest is part of the rigor of your healing journey. Taking the time to rest allows you to get to know your body, lets your heart rate come down slowly, helps your body improve its circulation, and lets your muscles fully relax. Making rest a part of your exercise routine will change the way you think about yourself.
By not participating in this aspect of your exercise session, you lose some benefits of your hard work! A physical therapy leg bolster isn’t just for when you are at physical therapy. It’s for home too. So don’t cheat yourself by skipping out!
Resting on a physical therapy wedge isn’t just for fun, its an important part of your healing journey.
-Hillary Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy