Women diagnosed with fibromyalgia experienced significant improvements in pain intensity, quality of life and depression after participating in moderate-intensity hydrokinesiotherapy twice a week for 15 weeks, according to recent research.

The study, “Pain, quality of life, self-perception of health, and depression in patients with fibromyalgia treated with hydrokinesiotherapy,” involved 64 women ages 50 and older with a clinical diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

The women were randomly assigned to either the hydrokinesiotherapy group or the control group. Throughout the 15-week intervention, all subjects were instructed to use only those medications prescribed and monitored by their physicians.

The women who were assigned to the control group did not participate in any formal physical therapy during the study period. For the women in the hydrokinesiotherapy group, the intervention sessions lasted 45 minutes and happened twice a week for 15 weeks, for a total of 30 sessions.

The hydrokinesiotherapy sessions took place in a heated pool with a water depth of about 4 feet and a temperature of about 90 degrees. The exercises for each class were divided into three parts, starting with a five-minute warm-up. Then, the women performed 35 minutes of exercises designed to improve strength, mobility, balance, coordination and agility, using equipment such as weights, balls and noodles to increase intensity. The classes ended with five minutes of stretching and relaxation.

The main outcome measures for this study were pain intensity, quality of life and depression. These were evaluated before and after the 15-week intervention period. Pain intensity was measured using a visual analog scale. Quality of life was assessed via the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, and depressive symptoms were measured by the Beck Depression Inventory.

Results of the study showed significant improvements in the perception of pain intensity, quality of life and depression symptoms among women in the hydrokinesiotherapy group as compared to those in the control group.

“The study suggests that the hydrokinesiotherapy is effective as an alternative therapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia,” state the study’s authors. “A statistically significant improvement was observed in all evaluated dimensions, including aspects related to physical health and also to the individual perceptions of the psychological state related to fibromyalgia.”


Authors: Rubens Vinícius Letieri, Guilherme E. Furtado, Miriangrei Letieri, Suelen M. Góes, Cláudio J. Borba Pinheiro, Suellen O. Veronez, Angela M. Magri and Estélio M. Dantas.

Source: Faculdade Católica Rainha do Sertão, Quixadá, Ceará, Brazi; Faculdade de Ciências do Desporto e Educação Física da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; Centro Universitário da Fundação Educacional Guaxupé, Guaxupé, MG, Brasil; Motor Behavior, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brasil;

Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil;and Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Vila Mariana, SP, Brasil. Originally published in 2013 in Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia, 53(6), 494-500.