Recovery for Mind, Body & You

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Recovery for Mind, Body & You

A life-changing moment can occur at any time. It’s how you deal with the situation that matters.

Struck down unexpectedly by viral pneumonia two years ago, retired CEO Claude Ganz ended up in intensive care. Formerly active, he was still using a walker two months later. After prolonged immobility, his strength and balance felt irretrievably lost. “The Mayo Clinic said I could fall, and I was scared to move,” he says. “I came to Canyon Ranch in Tucson because I needed to get stronger and be medically supervised.” He returned to the Ranch last year to work on ongoing issues with his legs. He’s regained mobility and smiles a lot more.

Unfortunately, says Mike Siemens, M.S., Canyon Ranch in Tucson Clinical Director of Exercise Physiology and Aquatic Therapy, resources for physical recovery and rehab tend to be less than ideal.

“I’m frequently appalled at the inadequacy of exercise programs and therapy that are commonly available,” he says. “People are left high and dry with inadequate follow-up after surgery or injury.”

On your team
The integrative Ranch team of Health & Healing and body work experts provides a broad spectrum of services to address pain, injuries and concerns, says Mike, who often works with guests who’ve undergone knee, hip or back surgery, or have arthritis.

Guests like Claude, with physical setbacks, are assessed by a team of medical professionals and physical therapists, says Mike. “Next, we work on establishing pain-free range of motion and improving muscle endurance and strength, and design an exercise program that can also be followed at home. Meanwhile, a team of massage therapists, acupuncturists and physical therapists work together to loosen up tight areas and joint adhesions to improve range of motion and reduce pain.”

On his last visit, “Claude’s right ankle was immobilized due to locked-up muscle fascia in his lower leg,” Mike says. “Our experts used percussion and vibration on muscles to loosen up the fascia around the muscles, which immediately improved his ankle mobility.”

Aquatic therapy, including Burdenko therapy and the underwater treadmill, was particularly helpful for Claude. “Burdenko uses a progression of exercises, in deep and shallow water and on land,” says Mike. “Starting in chest-deep water minimizes the painful effect of gravity compressing the joints, and the buoyancy of the water prevents impact on joints. Horizontal and vertical exercises on the land help to increase strength and balance.”

“I did Burdenko every day and got my legs back,” recalls Claude. “After two weeks, I was off my walker.”

When life gets tough
Life transitions, debilitating stress or bereavement can be equally devastating. For guests facing such issues, Ranch experts can suggest ways to access their inner resources to optimize their health and outlook on life, says licensed therapist Karen McIntyre of Canyon Ranch in Tucson.

“Someone in a deteriorating marriage can learn new ways to communicate, and how to be proactive rather than reactive,” says Karen. “Or, if a person is facing a cataclysmic event like a loss, we might talk about how to take small steps to help them begin again. Instead of asking what to do with the rest of their life, I help them look at just the day, or the morning – to have a cup of tea and breathe again. That way they’re not intimidated by too big a change.”

Other healing opportunities might include hypnosis, spiritual exploration such as Shamanic Journey and soul coaching, meditation and biofeedback. And, says Karen. “Everyone can benefit from breathing and centering to help cultivate awareness and enhance the mind-body connection.”

Education can be empowering, she says. “Discussing what’s happening with the brain and nervous system helps to normalize the issue and put things in perspective.” Take-home programs and telephone follow-up help to ensure that recovery is a continuing process.

Whatever the triggering event, rehabilitation is about learning how to live, play and enjoy the moments of your life again, says Karen. “We’re not defined by what happened, but by how we navigate it.”


Our team of experts have developed Back in the Game of Life: Gearing up Before or After Surgery, a new health package designed to help guests who come to the Ranch specifically to prepare for or recover after surgery.

Some Ranch services that may be helpful in enhancing recovery:

Burdenko Water Exercise

Learn and improve the six essential qualities of fitness: balance, coordination, flexibility, endurance, speed and strength. No swimming skills are necessary, as you use a flotation vest. The Burdenko Method can be used to regain function and help recover from injuries or surgery. The conditioning and training aspect is perfect for those interested in improving quality of life and sports performance. 50 minutes

Coordination & Balance Testing

Coordination, balance, reaction time and proprioception (your sense of where you are in space) are critical keys to physical performance, comfort and successful aging. Using state-of-the-art Monitored Rehab Systems equipment, an exercise physiologist will assess these aspects of your physical functioning in detail and help you improve mind-body communication, with a printed report of results and a customized training program for home or gym. Book optional follow-up training sessions on the equipment to progress even faster. 50 minutes.

Muscle Function Assessment

Muscle strength and coordination differences between one side of the body and the other can significantly impact quality of life, future injury risk and athletic performance. This service is valuable for pre- or post-surgery, and for post-injury rehabilitation, since it improves not only muscle strength, but also neurological communication between brain and muscle. An exercise physiologist will use our Monitored Rehab Systems (MRS) machines to objectively measure the performance of up to two muscle groups, comparing one side of your body to the other. A full printout of test results and customized training program are included, in addition to exercises you can do at home. 50 minutes.

Watsu® – Aquatic Massage

Float comfortably in a pool of warm water while a therapist uses massage techniques to soften muscles, stretch tissues and open energy pathways to allow healing to occur. Watsu® is exceptionally effective in addressing stress, chronic back pain, orthopedic limitations, arthritis, sleep disorders, fibromyalgia, range of motion issues and therapies involving emotional release. This is a profoundly relaxing, holistic body experience unlike any other. 50 minutes.


Top-level athletes use biofeedback, as do medical practitioners treating attention deficit disorder and other conditions – including some forms of insomnia, hypertension, migraine and tension headaches, chronic pain, depression, anxiety and addiction. Our instruments provide feedback on your physiological state that helps you tap into your capacity for achieving optimal health, creativity and peak performance. A single session teaches you to recognize the interplay between your mind and body and introduces you to breathing and thought-management techniques for handling stress. A second session teaches relaxation techniques and further stress management tools, along with specific recommendations for incorporating them into your lifestyle. 50 minutes per session.

Charting Your Inner Life

Putting your inner world into visual form can be a powerful exercise that can yield far-reaching insight. We offer several types of “mapping” that can enhance your understanding of where you came from, where you are and where you’re headed. Use this service to explore family dynamics and emotional patterns, and/or brainstorm during life transitions. Available techniques include genograms, life maps, graphic self-assessments, journaling techniques and creative time-lining tools. 50 minutes.

Healthy Lifestyle

A lifestyle consultation is an opportunity to examine any issue in your life, although you need not identify a specific concern to benefit from a consultation.

Use this time to explore your thoughts and attitudes, gain a fresh perspective or develop a personal action plan. Frequently addressed areas include:

  • Alcohol and Health
  • Anger Management
  • Body Image
  • Caregiving
  • Communication
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Coping with Illness
  • Dream Exploration
  • Ecopsychology
  • Grief and Loss
  • Life Transitions
  • Parenting
  • Step-Parenting
  • Retirement
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sports Performance
  • Work in Balance

50 minutes.


Hypnosis is a natural phenomenon of the mind that increases openness to positive change. Some common applications include habit management, smoking cessation, sleep improvement, stress reduction, athletic and work performance, attitude change, childbirth, personal growth, inner-child work, and grief and loss. The session includes physical and mental relaxation, imagery, and suggestions for healthy transformation. Multiple sessions may be useful in achieving specific goals. 50 or 100 minutes.

Meditation, Visualization & Relaxation

Calm your mind and body. Meditation, visualization and conscious relaxation have a long history in the promotion of physical health, mental clarity and spiritual development. These practices often bring about improvements in stress-related conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and hypertension. Work with a licensed therapist to determine which techniques are right for you. Then, learn to use one or more of these techniques to promote healing, serenity and self awareness. 50 minutes.

Stress Management

Improve your health and your life by learning to better handle your reactions to stress. 50 minutes.