Mary Essert
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Mary holds a BA in English from Hendrix College and advanced study in Aging and Human Services from College of DuPage. She has been involved internationally in presenting and teaching swimming, safety, water fitness, and therapeutic intervention techniques since 1949. Her experiences with cancer, fibromyalgia, amputation and other chronic/phantom pain conditions have prompted her to share her expertise in aquatic exercise and rehab with others. Adapted Aquatics brought her to more active involvement and employment in rehabilitation and therapy. Her seminars, workshops and videos re: older adults, rheumatic conditions, breast cancer and warm water bodywork have helped many instructors and individuals. She holds many instructor certifications. In addition to her consultant work, she is currently employed by Conway Regional Health Systems (Conway, AR).

Certifications (Past & Present):

YMCA Fitness Specialist
ATRI Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute *
Instructor for: American Red Cross WSI and Basic Water Rescue, US Water Fitness Association, AAHPERD Adapted Aquatics Faculty
Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) *
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society
Cancer Wel-Fit *
Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute (ATRI)-RAST
Watsu (R) Assistant Instructor
Jahara Practitioner
Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program Instructor *
Silver Splash Instructor
* Current

Professional Awards:

Arkansas Governor's Council on Fitness 2009 Leadership in Fitness Award
International Swimming Hall of Fame Paragon Award for 2007
AEA Lifetime Achievement Award
AAHPERD Aquatic Leadership Award
Who's Who in Aquatics leadership for 1999-2006
Aquatic Therapy Professional of the year Award from the Aquatic Therapy Institute 2002
C. Carson Conrad Aquatic lifetime Achievement Award from USWFA in 1999
John Williams Adapted Aquatics Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame for 1998
Sevier/McCahill Award for Adapted Aquatics in 1997
US Water Fitness Association Lifetime Achievement in Adapted Aquatics Award in 1996
Tsunami Spirit Award from the Aquatic Therapy and Rehab Institute
And Others


Co Author of the YMCA Special Populations Manual with Grace D. Reynolds
Co Author of the YMCA Project Fit Manual with Faye Dulcey Weinstein
Aaronson, N. & Essert, M. Breast Cancer Recovery: On Land and In Water (CD). Fitness Learning Systems. 2006.
Aaronson, N., & Essert, M. Lymphedema: After Cancer Treatment What Aquatic Professionals Should Know. AKWA. Part 1: Oct 06/Nov 06, Part 2: Dec 06/Jan 07.
Essert, M. Bodytalk (video). Elmhurst Hospital, Elmhurst, IL.
Essert, M. Breast Cancer Waterwork. AKWA Oct/Nov. 2001.
Essert, M. Breast Cancer Waterwork (video).
Essert, M. Breast Cancer WaterWork Management Through Aquatic Exercise and Rehab Techniques. ECS Printing. 2004.
Essert, M. Exercise For Your Body, Mind and Spirit. Fibromyalgia Frontiers. Vol 14: 1. 2006.
Essert, M. Exercise Your Options – Wellness Guide for the Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer. MAMM Magazine, Winter 2003.
Essert, M. Get Your Feet Wet! A Sampling of Water Exercises. Fibromyalgia Frontiers. Vol 13:2. 2005.
Essert, M. The Healing Power of Water. Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation Sept. 1998.
Essert, M. Aquatic Archangels. Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation May 1, 1999.
Essert, M. The Human Perspective: Breast Cancer Survivors and Water Fitness. AKWA Oct/Nov. 2003.
Essert, M. Post Polio WaterWork (DVD). 2005.
Essert, M. Water Exercise: Questions and Answers with Aquatic Specialist Mary Essert. Fibromyalgia Frontiers. Vol 13:1. 2005.
Essert, M., Maxon, D., Shuler, R. ATRI Certification Review Course Material. ATRI, 1999.

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