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If you or someone you know suffers from fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), then you recognize the physical, mental and emotional toll it can take. Full-body muscle and joint pain, fatigue, insomnia, headaches, anxiety, depression and more. Fortunately, there is compelling evidence that warm water hydrotherapy, along with moderate heated-water exercise, can provide significant benefits.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Pain Research commented: “There is strong evidence for the use of hydrotherapy in the management of FMS.” For at least 12 weeks, study participants engaged in two to four hydrotherapy sessions per week, each lasting from 30 to 60 minutes. Sessions included a warm up, cool down and relaxation period. Exercise involved moderate contraction and relaxation of different muscle groups in a structured and organized manner, with a 60-80% maximum heart rate. What were the results?
All participants indicated “significant outcomes in favor of hydrotherapy,” including a reduction in pain and tenderness and an improved quality of life. Over 90% indicated “significant mental health outcomes,” including less depression and anxiety. In fact, researchers concluded: “Exercise appears to be the most important component of an effective hydrotherapy program for FMS, particularly when considering mental-health-related outcomes.”
Although it can be challenging to maintain an exercise routine, it’s vital to prevent FMS symptoms from becoming a downward spiral. Unless you take action, pain will lead to stress, depression, sedentary behavior and even more pain. According to Dr. Doris Cope, director of Pain Management at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “Clenching is an involuntary reaction to stress. People tense their muscles, and probably don't even realize they're doing it. That reduces blood flow to the muscles, which causes pain.” In contrast, heated-water exercise promotes circulation: “Running, walking… these increase your pulse rate so you're getting more blood to muscles. That will reduce pain in muscles. The worst thing is to lie there, because then it will only hurt more.”
The wonderful thing about heated-water hydrotherapy in a swim spa is that it raises your heart rate while lowering your blood pressure, mimicking the effects of mild exercise. Plus, the buoyancy that you experience takes the pressure off your joints, making it easier than running or walking on dry land. When you add in the benefits of hydromassage, you have a potent combination to cope with the symptoms of FMS, and finally experience some relief.
Lastly, soaking in a swim spa helps to relieve symptoms of insomnia and chronic fatigue. In the evening (about one or two hours before bedtime) 15 to 20 minutes of soaking helps to relax the body, calm the mind and induce the body’s natural sleep cycle. To enhance these results even further, add the benefits of aromatherapy, chromotherapy and music therapy. If you’re ready to learn more about ATV swim spa models, contact your local ATV Dealer to get started.