Multiple Sclerosis, or MS as it is often known, a debilitating disease that affects nerve cells in the spine and the brain, is the subject of much discussion in the medical world at the moment. Experts from the Anglia Ruskin University of Chelmsford are currently planning an extensive four-year study into the effects of aquatic physiotherapy on the disease, as treatment of this nature is currently speculated to have a positive impact on balance and tiredness in MS sufferers.
Aquatic physiotherapy is an innovative treatment pioneered in London, involving the underwater manipulation of the body in order to stimulate blood flow and promote healthy bodily function. The weightless effects of the water allow a patient to move more freely, with a reduced risk of pain or damage to the body.
Physiotherapy itself revolves around the gentle stimulation of areas of the body, particularly the extremities, in order to promote the flow of lymph and other bodily fluids through the system. This movement throughout the body is enhanced by the effects of being surrounded by water, which makes it an ideal treatment for patients suffering particularly from stiffness or pain.
Multiple sclerosis fits the bill here, as it is characterized by a number of symptoms that can be treated effectively by aquatic physiotherapy. Persistent weakness, spasming muscles, and difficulty of movement are all commonly caused by Multiple Sclerosis, as are prickling sensations or feelings of numbness. MS can also cause problems with balance, which can likewise be alleviated through the application of aquatic physiotherapy, by manipulation of the appropriate bodily systems to promote balanced fluid levels in the body.
There has been little clinical research up to this point into the benefits of aquatic physiotherapy on conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, but the likelihood of such a treatment exerting a positive effect on the condition has prompted the Chelmsford Ruskin University to embark on a lengthy study. The focus of the trials is the improvement of fatigue levels and balance in patients suffering from MS.
Some patients, who have already been undergoing aquatic physiotherapy in London, have reported that despite their initial skepticism regarding the effectiveness of the treatment, they now find the benefits to be considerable – testimony which has prompted Ruskin University’s research campaign.
The head of the Multiple Sclerosis society’s care and services research department, Ed Holloway, has emphasized the need to explore low-cost, simple courses of treatment for a range of conditions. “It’s vital that we are funding research that looks at how simple things, such as aquatic physiotherapy, can really impact people’s quality of life.”
If you know someone who has Multiple Sclerosis, or if you are a sufferer of the disease yourself, you could benefit immensely from an appropriate course of physiotherapeutic treatment, aquatic or otherwise. To find out more about how the practice of physiotherapy can benefit you, speak to your local physiotherapist today.