Both Pilates and Water-based Exercise Ease Pain in Fibromyalgia Patients, Study Finds

Both Pilates and Water-based Exercise Ease Pain in Fibromyalgia Patients, Study Finds
Pilates brings benefits similar to water-based exercise for women with fibromyalgia, easing their pain and improving quality of life, according to a clinical trial. Those findings were described in the study, "Mat Pilates is as effective as aquatic aerobic exercise in treating women with fibromyalgia: a clinical, randomized and blind trial," published in the journal Advances in Rheumatology. Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and psychiatric disorders such as depression, all of which impair quality of life and overall well-being. Physical exercise has been suggested as an effective approach to manage pain and other symptoms, but evidence mostly supports the practice of aquatic aerobic exercise, which reduces the impact on the joints, improves blood circulation, promotes relaxation, and improves muscle strength — all with minimal impact on the musculoskeletal system. Mat pilates is another type of exercise that coordinates breathing and movement, thereby improving flexibility, strength, and posture control. Despite its popularity and wide recommendation, few studies have investigated this method in fibromyalgia patients. Notably, a recent study comparing tai chi with aerobic exercise suggested that mind-body exercises are more effective at managing symptoms of fibromyalgia. This led a team in Brazil to hypothesize that pilates, which also entails mind-body exercises, would bring more benefits to patients than aquatic aerobic exercise. To address this question, the team designed a clinical trial (NCT03149198) with 42 women who were assigned randomly to mat pilates or aquatic aerobic exercise sessions, given twice a week for 12 weeks. Average age of participants was 45.5 in the group on pilates, and 50.
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