Aquatic Therapy

Water makes up 70 percent of the human body, as well as the surface of the earth. It maintains energy levels, metabolism and keeps all of the body’s systems in working order. The natural properties of water make it an ideal medium for those with and without physical deficits. Using water for aquatic therapy can help people with MS move with ease in ways they may find difficult on land.

Numerous studies have highlighted the benefits of aquatic therapy for individuals with MS. Recent literature suggests that aquatic therapy has the potential to create a positive effect on MS related fatigue. Other findings support that aquatic exercise enhances many aspects of quality of life in MS patients.

There are multiple types of aquatic activities. Many address balance, gait, strengthening, mobility, stretching, endurance and relaxation. Patients can benefit from using paddles, kickboards, cuff weights, noodle floats, balls and even exercise bands in the aquatic setting.

How aquatic therapy can help people with MS:

Buoyancy - This is the feeling of floating while in water. Buoyancy provides support for weak limbs and promotes muscle relaxation, while its resistance helps build muscle strength. Movement takes less effort while a greater range of motion can often be achieved. Those with balance and coordination issues find it easier and safer to exercise in water than on land.

Viscosity - A sensation that there is resistance to your movements; that you move slower through the water. The resistance of water can be used to improve muscle strength throughout the body with simple movements.

Hydrostatic pressure - The sensation of compression while the body is in the water. Water pressure increases with depth. Compression can provide support for standing activities, such as walking, with less effort than on land. It can also reduce the swelling or edema of extremities.

Temperature control - Cooler water can help maintain lower core body temperature even during aerobic activity. This is especially helpful in allowing people with MS to achieve a better workout while staying at a safe temperature.

Sensory Input - The feeling of decreased weight-bearing can offer a decrease in pain and improvement of other sensory perceptions. These changes may lead to greater ease and range of movement.

Improved mood - Exercise in water may ease depression and increase self-esteem. Water therapy techniques may also reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Motivation - The positive results of aquatic exercise may also encourage people with MS to stick with it and reach more rehab goals.

Aquatic therapy is very individualized, safe and offers countless benefits. It is a great way for people with MS to improve all aspects of their health and functioning. Put the FUN in function with aquatic therapy!