Effects of aquatic training and detraining on women with fibromyalgia: controlled randomized clinical trial

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2019 Feb;55(1):79-88. doi: 10.23736/S1973-9087.18.05041-4. Epub 2018 Jul 6.


Background: Aquatic physical training (APT) promotes improvement of clinical symptoms and aerobic functional capacity in women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). However, there are controversial studies that refer to the maintenance of adaptations obtained from APT after a detraining period.

Aim: To evaluate variables oxygen uptake (VO2) relative to lean body mass (LBM) and clinical symptomatology in women with FMS submitted to APT and after 16 weeks of detraining period, and to evaluate the association between the magnitude of VO2 improvement relative to LBM and clinical symptomatology.

Design: Blind randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Department of Physical Therapy of the Federal University of São Carlos.

Population: Fifty-four women with FMS were randomly assigned into trained group (27) and control group (27).

Methods: All women underwent cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET) and body composition assessment to estimate VO2 and LBM respectively, and clinical symptoms were assessed before and after 16 weeks of training and detraining. trained group was submitted to APT program, performed twice a week for 16 weeks.

Results: After APT, trained group presented an increase in VO2 relative to LBM (P=0.01), in addition to an increase in pressure pain threshold (PPT) (P=0.02) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) pain (P=0.01), VAS well-being (P<0.01) well-being and lower Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire Score (FIQ) (P=0.04). However, these improvements were not maintained after the 16-week detraining period (P>0.05). In addition, no significant correlations were observed between improvement of clinical manifestations and increased VO2 relative to LBM after APT (P>0.05).

Conclusions: APT contributed both to increase VO2 at VAT and peak CPET, and improved clinical symptoms, but no association was observed. However, after 16 weeks of detraining, these variables were reduced near baseline.

Clinical rehabilitation impact: The results of the present study suggest that APT should be continuously performed in order to improve clinical symptomatology and increase the aerobic functional capacity in women with FMS.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / rehabilitation*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome