Hydrotherapy can by helpful for those living with FOP and many people with FOP have found it to be highly beneficial.
Hydrotherapy, or aquatic therapy as it is also known, involves special exercises which are done in a shallow, warm-water pool, under the guidance of a physiotherapist. It offers a range of potential benefits. Hydrotherapy os offered on the NHS and most hospitals have access to a hydrotherapy pool. Speak to your occupational therapist, physiotherapist or GP to find out more about accessing hydrotherapy in your area.
One of the most important benefits of hydrotherapy is the joy and pleasure it can bring. Living with a rare condition like FOP can be emotionally and physically challenging. Engaging in hydrotherapy can have a positive effects mental well-being by providing a relaxing and enjoyable experience. The buoyancy and support of water can create a sense of weightlessness and promote a feeling of overall relaxation and calmness.
Hydrotherapy can aid with improving mobility, facilitating movement that may be difficult or painful on land. The warm water temperature in hydrotherapy pools can further help relax muscles and increase flexibility.
A crucial benefit of hydrotherapy is its role in improving lung function. Strong, healthy lungs are of vital importance to those living with FOP. Over time, hydrotherapy can help to increase lung capacity, as well as strengthening respiratory muscles. Breathing exercises done in the water are also beneficial.
Gentle exercise and movement in the water can sometimes offer pain relief by reducing the impact on joints and bones during movement. The buoyancy of water can allow for an increased range of motion and decreased pressure on affected areas, which has the potential to alleviate some discomfort. Being immersed in warm water can also have positive effects on circulation too.
It is important to note that hydrotherapy should be approached cautiously and under the guidance of healthcare professionals familiar with FOP. Before beginning any kind of therapy program, please consult a healthcare professional to ensure the safety and appropriateness for your specific needs, taking into account the stage and progression of the condition. In addition, please read the guidance in the ICC for FOP clinical guidelines relating to hydrotherapy. The ICC for FOP recognises that warm water therapy may be helpful but advise that a passive range of motion is strictly prohibited.
Listen to Isla’s mum, Nicky, talk about the benefits of water therapy for Isla. Isla shares her joy at having a therapy pool in her home – the happiness in her face is just a delight to see. However, hydrotherapy has a many more benefits for those living with FOP including improving lung function and mobility. Nicky talks about how having a pool has enriched the lives of all her family.