Menstrual pain, period cramps or dysmennorhea is a common complain amongst the adolescent girls. Though it is not a debilitating condition and does not lead to any disability, it does affect the quality of life of the young women. The sharp, spasmodic pain just below the belly button, mostly on 1-2 days of periods, leads to social withdrawals, lack of active participation in any fitness or leisure activities and a lot of psychological disturbances. A health survey stated that it's the main reason of absenteeism from schools (14%) and offices (1%). Taking aspirin or any other pain reliever may give you a quick relief from your menstrual cramp but relying on pills each month is not a good idea. Over time, this could some serious health problems, including stomach ulcers, acid reflux and digestive problems. So, what could be the safer and effective way to ease cramps? You should try aquatic therapy.
Exercising in the warm water pools reduces the severity and duration of menstrual pain, says Dr Sudini Borkar, Women's Health Care Physiotherapist and Invasive Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Practitioner at AquaCentric Therapy, Mumbai. The expert explains the benefits of aqua therapy for women who have dealt with monthly menstrual discomfort.
Why does period pain occur?
While the innermost lining of our womb/ uterus sheds every month (1-4th day of our cycle), it releases a hormone PROSTAGLANDINS which leads to the contraction of our uterus muscles. This increases the intrauterine pressure and reduces the blood flow to the womb, giving rise to the pain.
The best way to tackle the pain is to indulge in exercises specifically focusing on the pelvic area that increases the hormone ENDORPHINS, which acts like a natural painkiller to reduce the pain. Targeting the core muscles and the tiny pelvic floor muscles help to increase the strength and stability of the pelvic area.
While there are various effective exercises such as yoga, aerobics, pilates for these concerns, aquatic therapy is gaining more attention because of the highest client's satisfaction, exciting fitness regimen and client's adherence to exercises.
What is actually Aqua Therapy?
Aquatic or Aqua Therapy is the science of performing therapeutic exercises in a warm temperature-controlled pool carried out by trained Aquatic Therapists. Below are a few benefits of Aquatic Therapy:
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Increase in circulation - Exercising in the warm water pools increases the blood supply to the pelvic, abdomen and thigh region helping the muscles to relax and wash out Prostaglandins.
Pain Reduction - Warm water blocks the pain sensation by acting on the Thermal and Mechanoreceptors. Various stretches performed against the hydrostatic pressure of the water helps to break the painful points in the muscles with less discomfort.
Stress Reduction - The Aqua T active and passive relaxation techniques reduce the stress and anxiety associated with the period cramp by acting on the body's sympathetic system.
Muscle strengthening - The viscosity of water provides a natural resistance to the exercising muscles that helps in the strengthening effect.
Low Impacton Joints - As gravity is almost eliminated in the water, exercising in the pool reduces the weight bearing stresses from the joints to as low at just 1/10th of the body weight.
Research also has a positive outlook towards Aquatic therapy on reducing the severity and duration of menstrual pain. A minimum session of three times a week, 60 minutes of supervised and structured workout in temperature-controlled pool is found to be super effective. Ladies, what are you waiting for? Dive yourself to the nearest aquatic therapy centre and bounce back to a good quality of living. And yes, don't believe anyone who says you have to live those days in pain.