There are a number of ways that aquatic therapy has the ability to improve the conditions of arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Due to range of motion issues in arthritis and fibromyalgia patients, it is important that the patient is able to move the areas effected through this entire range of motion. This is typically prevented from occurring by the pain the individual experiences in these areas.
Water increases the body’s buoyancy – reducing the effect of gravity on the body by 80%. While doing aquatic therapy, the subject endures less stress in these specific areas, and is able to safely work through the body’s entire range of motion – stretching the affected area, thus providing increased flexibility and strength.
Aquatic therapy has the ability to improve inflammation and swelling in sore muscles and joints. Due to the resistance water provides along with the variable resistance created with a therapy pool’s jets, it also has the potential to help burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and increase muscle strength and balance.
There are many aquatic activities that have been found to provide benefit to those with arthritis and fibromyalgia, including simple stretching, muscle strengthening activities, water aerobics, and “ai chi”, which is very similar to “tai chi”.
Aquatic therapy provides the relaxation, increased range of motion, pain relief, enhanced mobility, improved flexibility, and relief of body weight on the joints while exercising that those with arthritis and fibromyalgia need for reducing symptoms and improving conditions.