Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is an alternative therapy found to be effective in the treatment of pain. Some of the major symptoms of fibromyalgia, chronic pain, excessive fatigue and sleep problems, may all be relieved with hydrotherapy. How does water therapy ease fibromyalgia symptoms?
What is Fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia is a syndrome of unknown origins. The most commonly shared symptoms include chronic pain in soft tissues and often joints, extreme fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Other symptoms may be present including bowel disturbances and neurological problems. Those with fibromyalgia appear to be more sensitive to pain.
What is Hydrotherapy? Hydrotherapy basically encompasses therapies that involve the use of water in any of its forms. Hydrotherapy in regards to diseases and conditions that cause pain and other symptoms usually involves submersion in water or the application of water to affected areas.
Hydrotherapy and Fibromyalgia: What Are Types of Water Therapy and How do They Work? The most commonly researched types of hydrotherapy to ease fibromyalgia symptoms include types of basic hydrotherapy, balneotherapy and spa therapy.
Hydrotherapy . Therapy with plain water can be used for submersion or exercise. Those with fibromyalgia often have trouble exercising due to pain, but exercise can actually help with pain. Water therapy reduces strain on the joints and makes muscle movements easier. Submersion in water can be relaxing and reduce stress. For fibromyalgia sufferers sensitive to cold, warm water therapy may be used.
Balneotherapy . Balneotherapy is water therapy with the use of natural thermal mineral water to ease fibromyalgia symptoms. Some believe that minerals can be absorbed through the skin. Studies have shown that sulfur may be absorbed through the skin and bring some pain relief. Another related water therapy is thalassatherapy, or the use of sea water.
Spa Therapy . Spa therapy may use a combination of hydrotherapy and balneotherapy or may involve types of massage such as the use of whirlpool baths. Spa therapy can reduce stress which may ease pain and promote restful sleep. Massage is found to be effective to help with pain and sleep issues in those with fibromyalgia. Water massage through spa therapy may cause less discomfort if skin or muscles are sensitive to pressure from traditional massage.
Hydrotherapy and Fibromyalgia: Is Water Therapy Right for You? Always speak with your doctor before beginning any type of alternative therapy for fibromyalgia. You should not use certain types of hydrotherapy if you have other health conditions. Since there is no one treatment that works for everyone who suffers from fibromyalgia, hydrotherapy may be a good option for you. Talk with your doctor to see if water therapy may help ease your fibromyalgia symptoms.
Debora Fernandes de Melo Vitorino, et al.; Hydrotherapy and conventional physiotherapy improve total sleep time and quality of life of fibromyalgia patients; Sleep Medicine
Joseph G. McVeigh, et al.; The effectiveness of hydrotherapy in the management of fibromyalgia syndrome; Rheumatology International Clinical and Experimental Investigations
FURTHER READING ON FIBROMYALGIA BY THIS AUTHOR:
Fibromyalgia and T’ai Chi; Y!CN
Electrotherapy for Fibromyalgia Pain; Y!CN