Tips and Encouragement
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If your doctor or physical therapist suggests pool therapy for relief of fibromyalgia symptoms, give it a try if at all possible! Exercising in water two, three, or four times a week can be very helpful.
It is not clear why exercising in warm water helps reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Pool therapy is not the soothing experience of soaking in a hot tub or bath. Pool exercising is strenuous — the harder you work your muscles in the water (up to a reasonable point), the better you will feel later.
Pool exercises are easy to learn, and you can make up new exercises as you go along. Instead of numerous, tricky steps for every procedure, you are simply pushing water in various directions. Our arms and legs are a marvel of functionality — pivoting and bending at shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, and ankle. You will have plenty of ideas for how to put your muscles to work.
The therapeutic benefits of pool exercise are increased by wearing "aqua-fins" on your wrists and ankles during exercise in water (for example, see the aqua-fins at Kiefer.com). The greater the resistance your arms and legs encounter as they move through water (within reason, of course), the more pain relief you will eventually experience. Be patient as you begin pool exercises, as it may take a few weeks before you notice a difference.
Below are descriptions of some of the exercises you can perform in water. Click on a thumbnail picture to view it full-size. Or download a printable version of the entire collection (a Microsoft Word document).
Contact: Joy E. Daniels