Hydrotherapy and Arthritis
Almost any doctor will tell you that warm water exercise provides a safe, ideal environment for arthritis sufferers to ease stiff joints, relieve stress and relax tense muscles. Water buoyancy significantly reduces pressure on the joints, making it much easier to perform the full range of motion in exercise routines. The Mayo Clinic has found that arthritis patients who exercise in warm water also gain the benefits of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and better balance. It also helps to control weight, which alleviates strain on diseased and painful joints.
Many people with osteoarthritis (OA) find movement to be so painful that they miss out on the benefits of consistent physical activity. Even though study after study has confirmed that strength training and aerobic exercise can reduce pain levels, improve body functionality and advance the general health of arthritis sufferers, people who are experiencing significant pain find it very difficult to get motivated for exercise.
However, when patients exercise in warm water, they benefit from several therapeutic effects at once. The warm water opens the blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure and induces relaxation. Muscles are able to shed harmful wastes and toxins. As muscles warm with increased blood flow, they become more flexible as the fibers stretch in relaxation. This reduces pain and enhances range of motion. Buoyancy, by decreasing strain on the joints, makes it easier to engage in movements that would be painful on dry land. ThermoSpas offers a variety of warm water spas to meet practically any water exercise requirements. These include exercise spa models that support practically any exercise that can be done in a gym.
As you begin a program of hydrotherapy, start slowly at first. Ease your joints into exercise, especially if you haven’t been active for a while. Pushing too hard can overwork the muscles, which aggravates joint pain. Before you begin your exercise routine, allow plenty of time for the beneficial effects of the spa’s warm water to take effect. Give yourself about 20 minutes.
Move your joints slowly to warm up. Consider doing range of motion exercises for five to 10 minutes before you move on to more vigorous strength building or aerobic exercises. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Don’t push yourself beyond what you think your joints can handle. Remember to take it slow and easy. You can build up your exercise intensity and work for longer periods as you progress.
Range of motion exercises relieve stiffness and increase your ability to move your joints through their complete range. These exercises involve movement of the joints through their normal range of motion, such as or rolling the shoulders forward or raising the arms over the head and backward. These exercises can be done daily or at least every other day. When done in a warm water spa, they are especially beneficial. ThermoSpas patented Total Control Therapy (TCT) technology allows the bather to customize the spa experience to meet individual needs. With TCT, water jet and bubble flow can be individually adjusted to optimize comfort and effect, making range of motion exercises especially beneficial and comfortable.
You may notice some pain after exercise, especially if it’s been a while since you last worked out. Generally, if pain lasts for more than two hours after the cessation of exercise, you probably have exercised too strenuously.Be sure and talk with your doctor about what amount and kind of exercise is right for you. Also consult your physician if you have lingering pain after exercising. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sufferers should consult their physicians about whether or not they should exercise during either general or localized flare-ups. One option is to perform only range of motion exercises, just to reap the benefits of keeping your body moving.