By Peter Damiri, MSAA Senior Director of Programs
Each year MSAA exhibits an information booth at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) annual conference. This year, in addition to staffing the booth in the exhibit hall, I had the distinct honor of representing MSAA as a faculty presenter during the conference.
As part of the full-day session on Current Topics and Trends in MS Rehabilitation, I had the privilege of sharing the stage with several prominent healthcare professionals as we presented on the topic of Aquatics and MS.
Lead by Dr. Yasser Salem, Linda Csiza, PT; Michele Harrison, PT; and Julie See, BS; this two-hour presentation was the culmination of six months of work to research, write and publish: Aquatic Exercise & Multiple Sclerosis: A Healthcare Professional’s Guide. This 48-page guideline serves as a comprehensive manual explaining the discipline of aquatics and MS, covering topics such as research studies, patient assessments, the unique properties of water, and sample exercise techniques. The program featured each author from the various sections of the book presenting on his or her findings and fielding a lively question and answer period.
The CMSC presentation and aquatics book is part of MSAA’s larger Swim for MS initiative. Supported by national sponsor Genzyme Corporation, Swim for MS is a national fundraiser in which volunteers are encouraged to create their own swim challenge while recruiting online donations. Funds raised support individuals with multiple sclerosis through the many programs and services offered by MSAA, including the increased awareness, understanding and availability of aquatic exercise for the MS community. In addition to the healthcare professional’s guide, MSAA will soon offer a series of patient education materials on this topic including brochures, sample aquatic exercise flip charts and online video segments. These items are still under development so please be patient as we will inform you as to their availability as soon as possible. For more information on aquatic exercise and MS, please visit the Overall Wellness section of MSAA’s new website: http://mymsaa.org/manage-your-ms/overall-wellness/#Exercise.