Relieving Mesothelioma Pain Through Aquatic Therapy
By: Jackie Clark
Mesothelioma is a rare and severe form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. According to The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, 2,500 – 3000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year. There is no cure, but there are effective treatments. Standard medical treatments for mesothelioma may include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. However, there are alternative, or complementary, forms of treatment that can also relieve pain, increase energy, and improve the quality of life for mesothelioma patients.
One such option is aquatic or spa therapy. Therapists have long recommended aquatic therapy for people with a variety of conditions and injuries. In recent years, evidence has shown that this soothing form of therapy is also beneficial to mesothelioma patients. Common symptoms of mesothelioma include fatigue, difficulty breathing, and pain in the chest and ribs areas. Several aspects of aquatic or hydrotherapy work to in conjunction with each other to combat these painful symptoms. The warm water relaxes sore muscles and joints and reduces pain sensitivity and muscle spasms. The buoyancy of the water increases mobility and stimulates the muscles and nerves. Hydrostatic pressure relieves muscle pain and tension. The water surface tension creates enough resistance to gradually and gently strengthen weakened muscles. Patients recovering from surgery often heal faster with aquatic therapy because the low-impact movement in the water allows for earlier weight-bearing activities.
Another benefit of aquatic therapy is the renewed body, mind, and spirit. Relieving stress and improving one’s life outlook is critical for people facing cancer or any serious condition. The painful symptoms and the uncertainty of life with a mesothelioma diagnosis can take a toll on the patient’s emotional and mental well being. The relaxing and low-impact nature of aquatic therapy can work wonders at restoring a patient’s confidence in the ability to heal.
Patients should consult their physician for the best treatment options. An effective mesothelioma treatment plan both fights the cancer in the body and restores balance and calm to the mind. Ultimately, a combination of traditional medical treatments and complementary treatments like aquatic therapy can improve a patient’s prognosis and potentially increase the mesothelioma life expectancy. Healthier minds and spirits lead to healthier bodies.
Help support cancer research: The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance will donate $1 to cancer research every time someone simply “Likes” their page on Facebook.
For additional information on the mesothelioma, visit www.mesothelioma.com.
Jackie Clark joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance in 2009 as research assistant after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in fitness and nutrition. Jackie’s experience in technical and medical research has allowed her to assist in the development of medical content and outreach efforts, with specializations in alternative care, cancer support programs, and social media campaigns.