How You Can Ease Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms By Starting Aquatic Therapy

With fibromyalgia, even the slightest movements can feel uncomfortable. At times, it even seems like the only solution to relieve the pain is to become completely weightless. Luckily, that’s possible with aquatic therapy.

More and more fibromyalgia patients are taking to the water and enjoying its soothing properties. No matter what your problem areas are, submerging yourself in water can help you feel more in control of your symptoms.

How You Can Ease Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms By Starting Aquatic Therapy | Quit Chronic Fatigue

What Is Aquatic Therapy? 

Aquatic therapy uses the properties of water to improve your health, alleviating the symptoms of fibromyalgia and other musculoskeletal conditions. The advantages of weightlessness and hydro-stimulation are well known! For centuries, people across the world have used baths, pools, and natural bodies of water to relieve stress and ease pain and other symptoms.

Simply entering the water has therapeutic qualities, but the practice of aquatic therapy involves strategic movements and exercises based on your unique needs. You may want to participate in aquatic therapy to gain strength, improve flexibility, or maintain your cardiovascular health.

Some aquatic therapy classes leverage props include:

  • Balls
  • Fins
  • Goggles
  • Water weights
  • Diving rings

You can experiment with different tools and decide what works best for you. The beautiful thing about exercising in water is that it reduces strain on all parts of the body and adds resistance to each of your movements. 

3 Types of Aquatic Therapy You Can Try

Before you can decide if aquatic therapy is the right treatment for your fibromyalgia, you have to consider the different types! Here are three styles of aquatic therapies for you to think about.

Water-Based Exercise 

Exercising in water encompasses all the regular benefits of aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (resistance) exercise with added support and relief of pressure. The buoyancy of the water makes all of your movements more fluid (pun intended) and steady. Plus, many think it’s a lot more fun than exercising on dry land!

People with fibromyalgia can try water jogging, treading water, or lap swimming, to start. Joining a class and splashing around to music gets your heart pumping and has a positive impact on your mood (which is major for people combating fibromyalgia).

Aquatic Massage and Physical Therapy 

Aquatic massage and physical therapy are two slower and more personalized forms of aquatic therapy. You may require one of these treatments to tackle a specific problem area or get relief from a particularly bad flare-up.

Even if you don’t have a facility nearby that offers aquatic massage or physical therapy, many licensed therapists will come to your home and give you a massage or carry out physical therapy treatment in your bathtub or pool. Many of their “water moves” are the same as their table moves, just without a  hard surface to climb up on.

Ai Chi

Ai chi is a fairly new form of aquatic therapy. It has been developed over the last thirty years or so and combines strategies from familiar land exercises, like pilates, tai chi, and yoga. And just like its dry land counterparts, ai chi focuses on slow movements, purposeful poses, and inner peace.

The soothing and spiritual qualities of ai chi are especially beneficial for fibromyalgia patients. Paired with feel-good music, ai chi has an amazing influence on your mindset and body. 

If you’re new to ai chi, it’s best to enroll in a group class and become familiarized with a few move sequences. You can also search for some beginner sets on YouTube and try them out on your own!

Related: How Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia Helps Alleviate Your Symptoms

How Does Aquatic Therapy Improve Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms? 

The specific impact that aquatic therapy has on fibromyalgia patients is significant! While you struggle daily with musculoskeletal pain, water can greatly reduce (and even remove) your discomfort long enough for you to catch your breath. 

Have a look at five reasons why aquatic therapy works for people with fibromyalgia.

It Alleviates Pressure On Your Joints

Most folks with fibromyalgia can attest to horrendous joint pain from time to time. Aquatic therapy is good for all types of joint pain because it makes you nearly weightless! Your joints get a break each and every time you surrender them to the water.

Whether it’s a warm bathtub or a trip to the beach, spending time in the water is proven to help with joint pain in fibromyalgia patients long term. The more frequently you find yourself in water, the better your mobility.

Aquatic Therapy Reduces Inflammation While Boosting Circulation 

You’ve probably tried a host of other treatments for your fibromyalgia-related inflammation and circulation issues. Turns out, water reigns (or should I say rains?) supreme! Aquatic therapy speeds up the healing processes within your body to help heal your inflammation and increase blood flow.

Manipulate water temperature and experiment with jets, bubbles, or currents to maximize the effects of water-based therapies. Practice aquatic therapy regularly to reduce the need for painkillers or anti-inflammatory pills!

It Increases Your Flexibility and Mobility 

Whatever your range of motion is on land, you may find that you can go much farther (with less pain) in the water. Aquatic therapy encourages gentle movements and stretches, no matter which style you practice or how rigorous your goals are.

Just be cautious that the weightlessness of water doesn’t inspire you to do too much too fast! You may feel great in the water, but your body has to return to land eventually. It’s best to set gradual goals and scale up to more ambitious aquatic milestones. 

Aquatic Therapy Improves Your Mood 

Even if you don’t usually enjoy getting wet, aquatic therapy can boost your mood. The weightless experience of water opens up a world of opportunity that you might not be as comfortable with pursuing (if even possible) on dry land. 

Enroll in a class with lots of people, fun music, and shared goals as an added bonus! Living with fibromyalgia can be incredibly lonely at times, but joining a water-based class invites you to discuss your symptoms with other people. The experience of moving with friends (and being able to in spite of your worst symptoms) is truly a gift.

It Helps You Build Muscle

Exercise on land presents many challenges for people with fibromyalgia. There’s no question that exercise in the water is far more doable and maintainable for most people combating chronic symptoms—but that doesn’t mean it’s all easygoing.

Aquatic therapy helps people with fibromyalgia build muscle that stays with them long after their hair dries. You can practice smoother movements in the water for pain relief or stronger movements (against the current) for resistance training. The swift transition between either option is what makes swimming such an attractive option for people with fibromyalgia.


No matter how severe your fibromyalgia symptoms, aquatic therapy can ease your pain. Choose water aerobics, lap swimming, ai chi, or combine all three to manage your pain and improve your health!

How You Can Ease Your Fibromyalgia Symptoms By Starting Aquatic Therapy | Quit Chronic Fatigue

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