Abstract This systematic review summarizes the relatively scant literature concerning the effectiveness of water-based exercise (WBE) interventions in people with Parkinson’s disease(PD). Databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, PEDro, Scopus, and SportDiscus were searched from the earliest available date to December 2011. Studies had to meet the following selection criteria: (1) the target population was patients with PD; (2)the effects of a WBE intervention (as the primary intervention)were tested; (3) the abstract of the research was available in English. Selected studies were subject to unmasked quality assessment by applying a methodological scoring with a possible maximum score of 15 points. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria, although only three of them achieved a methodological quality score above 10 points. Collectively, the data showed that WBE has some beneficial short-term effects on the impact that PD has on the patients (mainly on their motor symptoms and on their functional mobility), as well as on their quality of life. This review provides evidence that WBE is safe for patients with PD, but there is a lack of hard evidence regarding its beneficial effects. Further randomized and controlled trials with larger sample sizes are required.
Keywords Parkinson, Rehabilitation, Review, Water-based exercise