Hydrotherapy and multiple sclerosis

Hydrotherapy

Exercise can be challenging for some people with multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurological condition that affects about 2.8 million people worldwide. Common symptoms such as muscle weakness, numbness, and difficulty balancing can make physical activity difficult.

However, exercise is important for people with MS. Although there is no cure for MS, a proper exercise routine can help reduce some of the following symptoms with lifeguard course.

  1. Reduce fatigue
  2. Improving balance
  3. improving the quality of life

Many people with MS believe that water therapy is the easiest and most beneficial way to increase physical activity. The density of the water that neutralizes the weight helps to support the limbs, making them feel lighter.

Water also creates resistance which helps to strengthen the muscles. People with MS in water can stand more easily than on land, reducing the risk of injury in a fall.

What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy, also called water therapy and pool therapy, involves the use of water to treat a variety of conditions as well as to promote good health. It is characterized by the use of water in various forms and temperatures and may include:

  1. Immersion at different temperatures
  2. Inhalation of steam
  3. Massage with water and ice
  4. Walking or exercising in water
  5. Hot or cold compresses
  6. Bathrooms with Jacuzzi
  7. Mineral water baths

Scientific research confirms the benefits of hydrotherapy in conditions such as MS and fibromyalgia, as well as pain management.

What are the benefits of hydrotherapy for MS?

People with MS may find that moving in water is easier. As previously noted, the density of water neutralizes body weight. As a result, the strain on the joints is much lower when your body is submerged. Swimming can also improve your coordination, flexibility, strength and balance.

The results of a study conducted in 2020 suggest that hydrotherapy may slow the progression of MS and help deal with depression, difficulty in balance and the ability to walk.

Swimming can further reduce fatigue, which is experienced by about 80 percent of people with MS. The results of another study published in 2020 show that after 8 weeks of exercise in water reduces fatigue and improves the quality of life in people with MS.

Another 8-week water exercise program, documented in a small study from 2018, also shows that fatigue is reduced after the program is implemented, while improving balance and functional capacity.

Water activities can help people with MS avoid overheating, which can sometimes make symptoms worse. Overheating can occur during a stay in a hot tub, sauna, at high temperatures, and even in a hot bath.

Swimming is a good way to exercise while your body is not warming up because excessive heat can make MS symptoms worse. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the water temperature should not be above 29.4 degrees Celsius.

Types of hydrotherapy

Swimming is beneficial for people with MS and is a primary form of exercise in the water. However, this is not the only way to exercise in the pool.

If you are unsure about your swimming skills or just do not want to water your head, there are other water activities that help with MS. These include:

Water aerobics

Walking in water

“Ai Chi” which combines “tai chi and Qigong” and is implemented in water

Ai Chi is a Japanese-made herbal medicine for the mind and body. It consists of a series of movements in water that combine deep breathing and slow, wide movements. Performed in a group setting, “Ai Chi” combines a sense of community with a sense of healthy physical activity.

In many communities, aqueous training is available that focuses on stretching, balancing, and strengthening muscles. Your doctor or physiotherapist may recommend a specific hydrotherapy program that may involve lifting legs, marching, and using resistance equipment.

Hydrotherapy classes are often run by licensed physiotherapists who specialize in helping people with MS or other disabilities.

Depending on your physical abilities, you may not need training to work out in the pool. Playing in the pool with children or grandchildren can be a great exercise, and of course it is a very fun activity.

Other types of exercises (performed on dry)

Research shows that for people with MS, exercise in general can lead to improvements in:

  1. Balance
  2. Walking
  3. Fatigue
  4. Quality of life
  5. Depression

There are many types of exercises that can be helpful if you have MS. If you are considering starting a new exercise program, talk to your healthcare team about what type of exercise is best for you.

Pilates

Research suggests that Pilates may have benefits for improving movement and increasing strength. A small study from 2014 shows that Pilates exercises for 8 weeks improve balance, mobility and muscle strength.

Another study published in 2016 showed that 12 weeks of Pilates or standard physical therapy were similarly effective in improving gait and balance in people with MS.

Aerobics

Aerobic exercise, such as cycling (static or outdoor) can also be helpful if you have MS. Another small study from 2020, which included 10 adults with MS, found that compared to 15 minutes of rest, 15 minutes of cycling in a supine position improved function, including posture and walking.

In a 2019 study conducted on 20 respondents, 12 weeks of combined resistance training and static cycling showed efficacy in reducing the severity of the disease, depression and fatigue in people with MS while improving their quality of life and ability to walk.

Strength training

Resistance training alone can improve strength and coordinated movement in people with MS.

In a 2015 study, 14 women participated in an 8-week resistance training program, and another 13 were included in the control group. The results showed that in the first group, in contrast to the control, the parameters of disease severity decreased.

In addition, the first group had a 27.5 percent increase in the level of neurotropic factor derived from the brain, which may help neurons heal.