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Recognized as the Gold Standard in Water Fitness Specialty Programs:
Water Running, Kick Box, Aquafitness, Yoga, Older Adult, Pre/Post Natal and PT and Healing Waters: Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Training and Certification

Charlene Kopansky,
President & Founder
canfitpro Life Time
Achievement Award  2013

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Prereq Vertical Water
Group Aqua Fitness
Aquafit Introduction
Kick Box
Hydro Rider
Older Adults
Personal Training
Pre/Post Natal
Water Running
Rehab Prep Course
Post Rehab

"The Foundations of Vertical Water Training - The Kopansky Method Pre-Requisite Course and the Group Aqua Fitness Specialty Training and Certification Course have been launched in Ontario and Alberta thus far. All other provinces continue to use the CALA Combined Foundations of Fitness Theory and Aquafitness Leadership Training Course, Part 1 & Part 2. Any person who has completed the CALA Combined Foundations course, is not required to complete the Vertical Water Training Course or the Group Aqua Fitness Specialty Course."



Post Rehab

CALA Healing Waters:
Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program

Fee Schedule * CECS * Registration 

Description · Content · Target Audience Duration · Prerequisites · Recommendations  
Certification · Recertification · CECs    Fees ·  What to Bring  · Manual

Finally the 'civilized' world is catching up with what ancient societies recognized the "Healing Power of Water" and practiced various forms of water exercise for centuries. Movement in water offers multidirectional resistance in a non impact environment. Water supports the body and cushions movement. When the water is warm enough, the pain cycle is interrupted and the healing process is encouraged. Aquatic Post Rehabilitation is not new. Recently, there has been renewed interest in water as a therapeutic means of healing. Health Care Providers, (physicians, chiropractors, physios, OT's, massage therapists - to name only a few) in the 'know' are referring patients to exercise in water. The business opportunities are immense. With certification in Healing Waters, you can expand your business, bring relied to so many people and contribute to the health and well being of your community: win-win-win. 
Charlene Kopansky, Founder and President of CALA Inc.

Come on board with CALA! Get trained and certified through our comprehensive Healing Waters Program.

  • Aqua Post-Rehabilitation Program
    (This program consists of two compulsory course: Healing Power and Introduction to Therapy, and other specialty courses offered over an extended period of time): 

    • Aqua Arthritis 

    • Aqua Back Splash 

    • Aqua Joint Rehabilitation 

    • Aqua Sports Injuries 

    • Aqua Cardiac Rehabilitation 

    • Aqua Multiple Sclerosis 

    • Aqua Breast Cancer 

    • Aqua Osteoporosis 

    • MVA Rehabilitation 



CALA pictureRehabilitation is not just for the aging. Many health conditions affect all ages and each needs rehabilitation. Take time to educate yourself on such conditions as osteoporosis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, breat cancer, heart and stroke and not to forget the many injuries suffered during a vehicle accident or sporting activity. In addition become familiar with those conditions directly related to aging.

Aquatic therapist and clients have expressed the need for high quality, effective training in aquatic treatment practices. The absolute necessity of standardized practices and training in water has been voiced by numerous agencies involved in rehabilitation and post rehabilitation. These include hospitals, clinics, community centres, universities, colleges and elder-care facilities. This leading edge program is being developed by a team of medical doctors, Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Kinesiologists, Nurses, Aquatic Therapists, Exercise Physiologists and others.

The CALA Healing  Waters program teaches post rehabilitation techniques which effectively utilize the aquatic medium to restore and enhance functional ability. This is a comprehensive training program, based on experiential learning which involves putting theory into practice. Program participants will learn skills necessary to design and deliver an appropriate post-rehab, therapy-based program which incorporates a multidisciplinary approach. The fundamental paradigm of this program involves thoughtful integration of the mind, body and spirit - a holistic approach to client care.

The development and promotion of standards and training in aquatic post rehabilitation will create a safer and more effective transition from the health care environment to functional daily living in the community. A reduction in costs to the clients, the insurer and the health care system are tangible benefits of this training program.

The program is organized into one compulsory course which address important areas of aquatic post rehabilitation. The courses range from 8 to 16 hours in length and contain both theoretical and practical components. Currently, the complete program offers more than 96 hours of training through a variety of specialty courses.

Indications For Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic post-rehabilitation should be considered for patients with problems arising from:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of joint mobility
  • Poor co-ordination or balance
  • Pain or lack of confidence
  • Pre-gait training

Aquatic post-rehabilitation is of particular value over dry-land treatment because of the physical properties of the water. For example, buoyancy counteracts gravity, provides support and relieves weight-bearing pressure on joints and is therefore beneficial for degenerative conditions. The warmth of the water reduces pain and can relax muscle spasm. The aquatic medium enhances mobility for patients who may be wheelchair-bound or recovering from prolonged immobilization.

Clearly defining the patient population that can be treated effectively in your facility is critical.  The Medical Team has the opportunity to consider aquatic therapy/post-rehabilitation when treating patients with:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Juvenile chronic polyarthritis
  • Spondylosis
  • Capsulitis
  • Mechanical spinal disorders
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)
  • Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)
  • Major fractures especially of the lower limbs or spine
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Neurological disorders such as hemiplegia, paraplegia, tetraplegia, polyneuropathy.
  • Pregnancy
  • Athletic conditioning during recovery.
  • Children

The CALA Healing Waters Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program is designed to meet the training needs of health and fitness professionals who wish to effectively use aquatic exercise as an instrument of healing. This comprehensive program is comprised of  two main compulsory courses (The Healing Power of Aquatic Exercise with The Physiology of Immersion and Introduction to Aquatic Therapy), and a series of other optional courses which provide further education about specific topics.

This comprehensive program involves therapeutic exercise designed to meet the needs of people who will benefit from the specific qualities of warm water immersion and movement. On medical advice, and or as a follow-up to medical care or physiotherapy, aquatic post rehabilitation can provide a vital link between medically-supervised rehabilitation and community-based aquatic programming. It is vital that the providers of aquatic post rehabilitation are properly trained to provide appropriate exercise programming and client-specific care.

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The list below outlines the courses offered in the comprehensive CALA Healing Waters: Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program:

The CALA Healing Waters Program - The Launch - September 2004.

The launch of this program marks the beginning of an ongoing series of specialized courses. The selected courses for the September 2004 launch included:

1. The CALA Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Prep Course (Compulsory Course) and

2. The CALA Aqua Arthritis, Joint Replacement and Selected Joint Disorders Specialty Course

Other selected specialty courses will be on offer in the following areas of interest: 

  • Cancer
  • Post Burn
  • Post Cardiac
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sports Injuries
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Back Care and Whiplash
  • Post Stroke and Brain Injury
  • Degenerative Neuromuscular Conditions (including Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s)

If you are interested in hosting any of these educational courses please contact CALA.

Note: Aquatic Post Rehabilitation specialty areas not listed on this web site, are under development or can be developed based on the demand (i.e. Parkinson's, Alzheimer's). 

Contact CALA to express your interest.

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Continuing Education Credits And Certification

Participants may elect to take any number of courses to suit their specific training needs. CALA continuing education credits will be granted for each course. Each course is a self-contained unit of information, which addresses a specific health condition.

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Please note: If you have already achieved CALA certification in Aqua Arthritis you may be granted permission to attend the other Aquatic Post Rehabilitation courses without completing the compulsory courses listed above. Call CALA to discuss your status.

Effective January 1, 2004, all candidates who wish to complete CALA certification in Aqua Arthritis must complete the compulsory module included in the CALA Healing Waters: Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program

Compulsory Education

CALA Healing Waters: Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Prep Course (compulsory: eight hours)

The CALA Healing Waters Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program is facilitated through interactive classroom theory. The theory is applied during practical pool sessions and/or simulated clinical settings.

Written materials containing theoretical and practical information will accompany each component of the program. It is recommended that participants be prepared to take notes in preparation for the theory exam and practical assessment.

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Target Audience

Health care professionals including but not limited to: 

  • Kinesiologist

  • Physiotherapist

  • Doctor, Chiropractor

  • Athletic therapist

  • Massage therapist

  • Occupational therapist

  • Home care specialist

  • Others with a keen interest in post rehabilitation: Rehabilitation and post rehabilitation specialist

  • Group fitness instructor

  • Personal trainer

Participant with a condition that prevents pain-free functioning (including but not limited to: arthritis, back pain/spinal injury, cardiac conditions, joint replacement, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, motor vehicle accident victims, workplace injury, sports injury), with a desire to learn how to alleviate or relieve their symptoms through aquatic exercise

The courses included in the comprehensive CALA Healing Waters Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program are intended for a variety of professionals who will be responsible for teaching aquatic specialty classes for people with the following:

  • Orthopedic and rheumatologic conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain
  • Athletic injuries
  • Pre-surgical conditioning; post-surgical rehabilitation
  • Back pain
  • Post motor vehicle accident and/or other musculo-skeletal injuries
  • Post-Polio
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Breast Cancer
  • Amputees

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The CALA Healing Waters Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program: Compulsory Courses are a total of 8 hours. The other courses range in length, for example the Aqua Arthritis Course is 12 hours.

During each course, candidates will experience the following: a combination of land and water 'activity-based' sessions complimented with applied theoretical sessions.

  • a 30 minute question and answer session
  • a one hour open book theory exam which will include a case format

Host affiliates will schedule the courses according to the availability of the pool and classroom and the needs of potential course participants.

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You must be a current member of CALA to participate in this educational opportunity.

There are three levels of acceptance to gain entrance into this Healing Waters Program. Select the Level that best describes your level of expertise. If in doubt, contact CALA for clarification.

Healing Waters Entrance Criteria: Level One:

If you have a diploma or degree in health care or a related field of study (Kinesiology, Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Sports Medicine, Athletic Therapy, Massage Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Nursing, Human Kinetics, Human Biology, Exercise Physiology, Physical and Health Education) you are a candidate to participate in the Healing Waters Program without becoming a CALA certified Aquafitness Leader.

You will be responsible for learning the International CALA Compendium of Moves and the Magical Properties of Water. The CALA Combined Basic Fitness Theory and Aquafitness Leadership Training manual must be purchased through CALA. You must purchase a CALA Basic Fitness Theory and Aquafitness Specialty Training Manual which accompanies the CALA Foundation Course.

You must complete the open book theory exam associated with the manual and the Foundation Course. You may also choose to complete the CALA Foundation Course: Part I to become familiar with CALA terminology.

Healing Waters Entrance Criteria: Level Two:

If you do not have a degree or diploma as noted in Level One above, but do have current certification as an Aquafitness Leader with an organization other than CALA, you may challenge the CALA certification for aquafitness leadership. You must purchase a CALA Basic Fitness Theory and Aquafitness Specialty Training Manual which accompanies the CALA Foundation Course.

You may also choose to complete the CALA Foundation Course: Part I to become familiar with CALA terminology. Completing this course usually enables you to earn continuing education credits with the organization you are certified with.

Healing Waters Entrance Criteria:
Level Three:

If you do not have a degree or diploma as noted in Level One above, but do have current CALA certification as an Aquafitness Leader you are accepted as a candidate for the Healing Waters Program.

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Note: The following are highly recommended, but not compulsory:

  • Keen interest in aquatic post rehabilitation
  • Willingness to learn through practice and study before, during and after the course
  • Eagerness to achieve a high standard of leadership in aquatic post rehabilitation
  • Openness to learning and embracing new information
  • A strong desire to help people; to work with people who may be in experiencing intermittent or chronic pain
  • CPR and First Aid are highly recommended

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Certification Process

To earn status as CALA Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Specialist the following criteria must be met:

  • Complete the open book theory exam for the compulsory course: Aquatic Post-Rehab Prep Course
  • Complete the certification exams for one other optional specialty courses within the program. (ie Aqua Arthritis)

The CALA Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Specialist Certificate will list the specialties completed.

Note: Refer to the course within the CALA Healing Waters Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program to determine the specific certification requirements.

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Continuing Education Credits

Note: One CALA CEC is granted for each hour of each  course.

Credits from this course can be applied towards re-certification in Aquafitness only if the CALA Foundation Course has been completed and CALA Certification status as an Aquafitness Leader has been achieved

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Attending CALA Specialty Courses, workshops and conferences and/or re-taking the CALA Post Rehab Compulsory and/or Optional Courses, will entitle you to earn Continuing Education Credits (CECs). One hour of education (theory and/or practical) earns one CALA CEC. For example: Attend a three hour Aqua Natal workshop, earn three CALA CECs.

To maintain certification status as an Specialty Aqua Post Rehabilitation leader you must meet the following criteria:

  • Current CALA member, in good standing

  • Gather a minimum of eight CALA CEC's before re-certification date

  • Conduct a specified number of post aquatic therapy sessions per year (ie. Aqua Arthritis classes)

  • Pay an annual re-certification fee. Refer to the fee schedule (pdf format)

Maintaining Certification Status: Made Easy!

Note:  At CALA, we make it easy to maintain certification status as a aquatic post rehabilitation specialist. CECs can be "banked" or accumulated before attending the Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program, or completing certification.  If more than eight credits are collected, CALA will bump the extra credits into the next re-certification period. The candidate is also required to conduct a certain number of aquatic rehabilitation sessions per year in order to maintain certification.

Petitioning for Credits

Note: In the event that the necessary number of credits are not collected before the certification expiry date, the candidate can petition for credits. This means, CALA will review documentation submitted by the candidate that proves attendance at educational events that enhance knowledge related to aquatic post rehabilitation. There is a petition fee applicable.

Refer to the fee schedule (pdf format)


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What To Bring

Attendees taking the course with the goal to lead post aquatic rehabilitation classes will need the following:
  • Proper Aquafitness shoes ( The RYKA 2 Aqua shoe" is available through CALA) or good quality running shoes suitable for the pool deck and dry land movement
  • Shorts to wear over a swimsuit (not short shorts), an aquafitness or an aerobic outfit (one that can get wet) for 'on deck' leadership practice

Attendees taking the course for general (personal) interest:

  • Slip-on water shoes or clean running shoes that can be used in the water attendees taking the course will need the  following:
  • A couple of swimsuits and towels
  • A water bottle
  • Shoes and comfortable clothing (tracksuit or athletic clothing) suitable for dry land movement
  • Writing materials to take notes
  • A lock to secure valuables
  • Details about any medical information that may be required in case of a medical emergency
  • Food for break times

Bring lots of energy and enthusiasm. Get ready to have fun and learn a lot. Remember - just like a parachute, your mind works better when it is open.

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Note: Refer to the specific course within the CALA Healing Waters Aquatic Post Rehabilitation Program to determine the availability of the course manual for purchase prior to the course.

Healing Waters Program Testimonial

To the CALA team

After having just completing the evaluation process for the Healing Waters Course I want to thank the whole team for making the experience so positive. Right from the start getting my many questions answered and setting up registration from Ottawa was welcoming and made the decision to go ahead with the course very easy. During the course Linda and Janet were very professional and shared their knowledge on a level that was able to reach all participants. Questions were welcome, practice in the water was well balanced and really helped hit the theory home. We also benefited by sharing the experience of other participants. The course content was informative and will be applicable in both specialty and main stream classes that have varied participants. How fortunate Linda and her team are to have such a great facility to work in. The exam process was again very accommodating, I appreciate being able to write the exams in Ottawa, and have my supervisor act as proctor. This definitely helped complete the certification process in a good time frame. As always this CALA training like past experience has left me with a lot of new knowledge and skill, as well as confirming there is always more to learn and expand on. The addition of the AET text was very helpful as an extra recourse.

In conclusion, thank you to all for being part of "the team" and for providing the education that helps make us better leaders.

Nancy Peever, Kanata, Ontario

CALA exceeds Provincial and National Standards and Guidelines for Aquafitness and Related Leadership Training Courses and Certification.
Credits are granted for CALA courses, workshops and conferences with many provincial, national and international organizations.


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