3 Benefits of Aquatic Therapy When You Have SMA

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by Kevin Schaefer |

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Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to help SMA individuals as their muscles deteriorate over time. Yet while it can be extremely difficult for a person who has SMA to do any kind of physical exercise on land, water therapy is an even better alternative. According to this study from Long Island University, water therapy can increase an SMA individual’s strength, mobility and flexibility.

Though SMA causes the muscles to weaken over time, water therapy allows a person to stretch their muscles in a way that they can’t do on land. While most SMA individuals spend the majority of their time in wheelchairs, in the water they have the ability to kick, stretch their arms and move their entire bodies with the assistance of a physical therapist. Doing this kind of exercise on a regular basis can help maintain an SMA individual’s muscle strength rather than let it decline.

MORE: Five tips for going to college when you have SMA

In addition to maintaining muscle strength, aquatic therapy can also increase a person’s mobility. Both SMA children and adults have a greater range of motion in the water than they do on land, which allows them to move more freely and even stand and walk while they’re in the pool. The more you or your child works with a physical therapist, the more you’ll be able to do. Even little things like stretching your arms are easier to do in the water than they are on land.

There’s nothing like the ebb and flow of water when you’re in a pool, and it’s especially liberating if you have SMA. The range of motion you have in the water allows for greater flexibility, and this can be great for both your physical and mental health. Whereas the restraints SMA puts on someone can impact them psychologically, the freedom they have in the water can reduce these frustrations and put them in a more relaxed state.

If you or your child is interested in water therapy, talk with a physical therapist near you to get the process started.

MORE: How group therapy can benefit SMA patients

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