The Role of Hydrotherapy in Managing Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Current statistics indicate that over 33,000+ people live with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Australia alone, with most people being diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 (MS Australia, 2021). Numerous risk factors can increase the risk of the disease developing, this includes genetic predisposition, immunological factors, environmental factors, virus and bacteria exposure (Nourbakhsh et al., 2019).

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects an individual’s central nervous system and as such individuals may display numerous complications that disadvantage their ability to independently perform certain daily living tasks (Ghasemi, Razavi & Nikvad, 2017).  The complications manifest in various ways, such as a decline in motor control, fatigue, neuropathic pain, cognitive decline, sensory symptoms, visual disturbances, tremors, spasticity, mental health decline and bladder and bowel dysfunction. The challenges posed by these complications highlight the importance of effective management and support for individuals living with MS in Australia.

How can Hydrotherapy help?:
The buoyant properties of the water mean that body weight is decreased by 50-90% when in waist-to-neck deep water, putting less pressure on joints and allowing the individual to move their body in greater ranges of motion. This allows the individual to increase their exercise tolerance by working for longer periods and at an increased frequency while still managing symptoms of fatigue. The water supports gentle resistance, promoting muscular strength, pelvic/abdominal control and mobility benefits. The associated turbulence from the water is used to challenge and improve an individual’s balance and proprioception in a safe environment, leading to higher confidence levels when completing balance and walking tasks on land. Finally, the pool water temperature means that the individual with MS can exercise with a lower body temperature when compared to exercising on land (Bekiaris et al., 2021).

Why Choose Body Smart Health?:

Incorporating hydrotherapy into an MS management plan can contribute significantly to improving physical and mental well-being. Our team of Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists are educated to prescribe and deliver safe and effective exercise programs tailored to each individual’s needs and functional capabilities. 

Contact Body Smart Health today and we can help get you booked in with one of our experienced Exercise Physiologists or Physiotherapists who will take you through an initial consultation and develop a treatment plan specific to your needs.


Words from ANNEMAREE (featured image) who does Hydrotherapy with Exercise Physiologist – Keaton Pobar

“I find it so easy in the water, it gives me movement that I couldn’t normally do outside. Body Smart’s wonderful approach to everything and positivity makes me really look forward to every Friday!”


  1. Bekiari, M., Lakovidis, P., Lytras, D., Chatziprodromidou, I., & Dimitros, E. (2021). The effect of hydrotherapy on the symptoms and functional characteristics of multiple sclerosis patients. International Journal of Physical Education, Sports and Health 2021, 8 (2), 191-197.
  2. Ghasemi, N., Razavi, S., & Nikzad, E. (2017). Multiple Sclerosis: Pathogenesis, Symptoms, Diagnoses and Cell- Based Therapy. Cell journal, 19 (1), 1–10.
  3. MS Australia. (2023). Retrieved from 
  4. Nourbakhsh, B., & Mowry, E. M. (2019). Multiple sclerosis risk factors and pathogenesis. CONTINUUM: Lifelong Learning in Neurology, 25(3), 596–610. doi:10.1212/con.0000000000000725 

Alex Statham
Author: Alex Statham, Exercise Physiologist, B.Clin ExPhys AEP, AES, ESSAM
Clinic: Labrador
If you would like to make an initial appointment with Alex or any of our other available Exercise Physiologists, you can contact us on 1300 630 204.