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Effects of Aquatic Therapy on Adults with Multiple Sclerosis

Ellen Broach, John Dattilo

Abstract


Research on the effects of aquatic therapy (AT) on people with multiple sclerosis (MS) is limited. To address the need for research on this topic a replication and extension of Broach, Groff, Dattilo, Yaffe, and Gast (1998) was conducted to examine effects of AT on participants' gross motor activity and fatigue. This single subject, multiple-probe design across participants was used with four adults with relapsing-remitting MS (ages 30-53). This study incorporated two gross motor dependent measures used by Broach et al.: walking up and down stairs and rotations on a bicycle. The study also included measurements of rotations on an upper ergometer and fatigue. Fatigue was examined via a mental and physical fatigue scale. This study supported previous findings that participation in AT by individuals with MS resulted in improvements in gross motor behaviors, and on walking stairs and bicycling. Mixed results prevented conclusions regarding the effect of AT on mental fatigue.

Keywords


Aquatic Therapy, Aquatic Exercise, Multiple Sclerosis, Therapeutic Recreation, Strength, Fatigue

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