A number of studies have contributed to the evidence that so-called ‘aqua running’ or ‘water running’ (using a buoyancy belt to avoid foot impact and keep the torso and head upright) offers many benefits for fibromyalgia patients. In particular it offers an excellent option for those who have problems with land exercise involving impact stresses, or have lower limb limitations. This video demonstrates what is involved in the simple exercise. And the studies cited below report the details of FM improvements, including significant reductions in pain intensity.
Examples of studies reporting FM benefits from water running:
In addition to ameliorating pain intensity, these trials reported improvements in circulation, orthostatic support (water pressure acts somewhat like compression stockings), balance (compromised in many with FM), aerobic capacity/ circulation, relaxation and mood. Not to mention weight loss.
• “A randomized controlled trial of deep water running: Clinical effectiveness of aquatic exercise to treat fibromyalgia,” Assis MR, et al. Arthritis and Rheumatism, Feb 2006. (See free full text article here.) Finds average 36% reduction in pain intensity.
• “A pragmatic community-based intervention of multimodal physiotherapy plus deep water running (DWR) for fibromyalgia syndrome: A pilot study,” Cuesta-Vargas AI, Adams N. Clinical Rheumatology, Aug 25, 2011