Barbosa (2014) Effect of Watsu therapy on psychological aspects and quality of life of patients with temporomandibular disorder

Introduction to Watsu Therapy and Temporomandibular Disorders

Watsu therapy, an individualized water relaxation technique performed in a warm pool with music, involves rotational movements, stretches, joint tractions, and muscle tension relief. This study explores Watsu therapy’s efficacy on a patient with temporomandibular disorders (TMD), focusing on psychological aspects like anxiety, minor psychiatric disorders, and overall quality of life.

Methodology and Participant Profile

The research involved a 62-year-old female patient with TMD and associated myofascial pain, diagnosed using Research Diagnostic Criteria for Temporomandibular Disorders (RDC/TMD). The patient’s psychological state and quality of life were assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Goldberg Health Questionnaire (GHQ), and WHOQOL-Brief (World Health Organization Quality of Life) before and after the Watsu therapy.

Therapeutic Approach and Sessions

The Watsu therapy comprised ten weekly sessions lasting 40 to 60 minutes each, incorporating various movements designed for relaxation and muscle tension relief. The therapy aimed to provide a comforting and stress-relieving experience, leveraging the therapeutic properties of warm water.

Significant Improvements Post-Therapy

Post-therapy assessments revealed notable improvements in anxiety levels, psychiatric health, and quality of life across physical, psychological, and environmental domains. The therapy effectively reduced anxiety and psychiatric symptoms, enhancing the patient’s overall well-being.

Discussion on Watsu Therapy’s Benefits

The study highlights Watsu therapy as a beneficial non-invasive treatment for TMD patients, particularly those with myofascial pain prone to psychological distress. The therapy’s relaxation effects contributed to significant improvements in the patient’s mental health and quality of life, suggesting its potential as a complementary treatment for TMD alongside traditional therapies.

Conclusion and Future Implications

Watsu therapy demonstrated effectiveness in alleviating anxiety, minor psychiatric disorders, and improving the quality of life in a TMD patient. This case study suggests the need for further research to explore Watsu therapy’s benefits for a broader TMD patient population, considering its potential to address both physical and psychological aspects of the disorder.

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