canterbury’s own lifestyle magazine / a great local read
After a spinal injury three years ago left him a quadriplegic, Ben has adapted to life in a wheelchair. For someone who was previously fit and active, it hasn’t been easy. Ben likens it to being on a long international flight – the tight muscles and the intense desire to just get up and go for a run, but with no possibility of doing so. Add to that nerve pain, which for Ben is an intense ‘pins and needles’ sensation in the parts of the body without feeling, and the combination of these factors means ‘when you get to bed, you can’t relax,’ says Ben.

Water is one therapy that soothes the pain. ‘Even having a shower helps,’ he explains, but the relief provided by a spa pool is ‘life-changing’. By relaxing the muscles, especially just before bed, it enables Ben to sleep ‘totally differently. When I wake up in the morning – that’s the biggest difference – I wake up feeling refreshed.’

Once Ben had decided to invest in a spa pool, his research led him to a HotSpring from Wright Spa Pools. Although not the cheapest on the market, the HotSpring range is designed and made in the USA, so it’s at home in colder conditions. Superb insulation minimises heat loss through the base, ‘so you save on power’.

HotSpring has made a name for itself with features that reduce environmental impact. Aside from heat-retaining insulation, the spa Ben chose uses a low-voltage plug. Not only does this make the spa more energy efficient, with less power draw, it makes installation easy as there is no need for additional wiring – it plugs straight into an existing outdoor plug. A superior filtration system means it needs draining less often, a key feature for HotSpring, which takes the issue of water conservation seriously. Ben’s spa also uses a fresh-water salt system, turning salt into chlorine to reduce the need for chemicals (and to be gentler on the skin).

Once he’d decided on a HotSpring, the process was ‘really straightforward’, says Ben. ‘The guys are really good.’ Wright Spa Pools, exclusive South Island agents for HotSpring, offer a deluxe installation service – checking the site, installing the pool and filling it. They also offer a comprehensive back-up service available seven days a week. ‘The most technical time for customers is the first two months,’ says Matt Lowe, Manager of Wright Spa Pools, ‘then they’re away.’ The fresh-water salt system reduces the need for water testing to just once a week and the pool needs only five to 10 minutes a week to maintain. For Ben, it couldn’t be easier: once a week he puts a PH testing strip in the water and if something needs adjusting, most things can be controlled at the push of a touchscreen.

A mobile hoist helps Ben into the pool and, once there, the touchscreen remote used to operate the pool floats in the water, making it easily accessible. The new spa pool ‘makes a huge difference’, says Ben. ‘I would use it every night if I could.’ The benefits are obvious for other customers too. Apart from helping people with aches and pains, and relieving tension, many people appreciate the opportunity to spend ‘quality family time’, says Matt, ‘opening up communication between adults and teens – a place where tech can’t be used!’

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Words Michelle Berridge Images Charlie Jackson