A Pilot Study of the Comparative Effectiveness of Two Water-based Treatments

Aix Massage vs Watsu® Massage Therapy for Fibromyalgia

By Faull Kieren, QE Health New Zealand, 2005

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness on health outcomes of Watsu massage therapy as a possible intervention for people with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) by comparing its effectiveness with the present water-based therapy, Aix massage.

Thirteen females diagnosed with FMS completed Watsu® massage therapy and Aix treatments. Short-Form-36 General Health Survey (SF-36) data were collected at the start and completion of treatment in a two-condition, within-subject, reverse-order counterbalanced design. Each SF-36 subscale was tested with a two-way, repeated measure analysis of variance.

Significant change in treatment and interaction effects were found for Watsu® massage therapy on the SF-36 subscales of physical function, bodily pain, vitality and social function, but not for Aix treatment.

Watsu® massage therapy was supported as an effective holistic intervention compared to Aix massage. Variables other than Watsu® may have caused the significant result. A study with a larger sample and a control group is required before it can be inferred that the change is due to this therapy.

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