This pages lists exercises to try and alternative/complementary therapies to consider. Before beginning and alternative/complementary medicine or supplement program, contact your medical provider.
The key is to be as active as possible and exercise in a way that protects your joints and bones. Exercise is important, but make it fun! Try some of the activities below and see what you enjoy. Modify activities if they don’t work with your body. For example, find a yoga class is a sitting only class.
Exercises for people with Dwarfism
Find which one of the exercises below is for you! Consult with your medical provider to learn which exercises are safest to try.
- Aerobics: Helpful link on adaptive aerobics: http://www.turnstep.com/Adaptive/index.html
- Bicycling: This can be a great low-stress activity. How to find a bicycle that fits people with dwarfism.
- Low Impact Aerobics
- Sit and be Fit Exercise
- Swimming: This is one of the best exercises for people with dwarfism. It puts little stress on the joints and is a great workout. It can be a fantastic way to strengthen back and abdominal muscles
- Walking: It is important to wear good shoes when walking. Check out the Finding Shoes for People with Dwarfism section.
- Water-Walking/Water-Jogging/Water Aerobics: Exercising in the water is a great choice! The water provides resistance, but the activity is low impact. If the water is over your head, consider getting a life vest that is designed to hold you vertically in the water or some ankle weights and a flotation belt. If your feet do not touch the floor, consider sinking a step stool with a non-skid surface on it or using a floating ‘noodle’ to keep yourself a float.
Movement Therapies can be low impact and great
- The Alexander Technique – The Alexander Technique teaches the body to restore balance and coordination. A person trained in the Alexander techniques looks for movement patterns which impede freedom of movement and help people move more easily. The way you use your body effects digestions, mental clarity, and immune response.
- Feldenkrais – Feldenkrais is a series of visualization and movement exercises designed to shift habitual movement patterns, allowing new and better ways of movements. There are two main ways of teaching Feldenkrais: Function Integration using hands on approach and also in Awareness Through Movement, a class setting.
- Rolfing – Rolfing is a technique of moving the connective tissue that surrounds muscles in order to lengthen and balance the body along a vertical axis. Distortions of this balance can come from many sources including accidents and emotional traumas that have never been released. A complete rolfing session consists of 10 sessions progressing from superficial to deeper layers if tissue and eventually covers
- T’ai Chi – Tai Chi is a Taoist Chinese martial art form of meditation in movement, combining mental concentration with coordinated breathing. It is a series of slow and graceful movements.
- Yoga – Yoga is a series of poses and exercises that help people achieve a state of clarity and make the mind and body one. It is supposed to help people become unified with the universal spirit. Yoga concentrates on posture and alignment and control. There are many different methods of Yoga.
General Web Pages about exercising for People with Different Abilities.
- Dwarf Athletic Association of America: http://www.daaa.org/
- The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability: http://www.ncpad.org. This site contains a calendar, an incredible number of fact sheets, ideas, research data, and more. If you want to find some fun exercises that meet your abilities, this is a great web page to start.
- Paralympics http://www.paralympic.org/.
- Check out 3-time Paralympic Eric Popovitch: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Popovich . Erin is a person with dwarfism who won 14 gold medals, and 19 total medal. She and set 3 World Swimming records and 4 Paralympic Swimming records!
Custom Bicycles for People with Dwarfism
- www.bikefriday.com. Bike Friday is known for their custom made folding bikes and happy customers. Click here to read an article about a man with dwarfism who loves his Bike Friday.
- Terry Precision Bicycles, http://www.terrybicycles.com/, makes bicycles specifically for women 5’2″ and smaller.
- Tricycles for the disabled: http://www.ambucs.com/
- Bicycles for all abilities: arms-only, leg-only, amputations, blind/low-vision, down-syndrome: http://www.rocknrollcycles.com/
- More bicycle links are available through http://www.dwarfism.org/ (go to the dwarf store, the search under toys).
- Do you have a bike that fits you that is not listed above? Please Contact us.
Discuss any alternative/complementary medicine or supplement program with your provider before starting.
Please see general web page disclaimer.
Acupuncture, Acupressure, Chiropractic, Massage
What is acupressure?
acupressure is based on an oriental philosophy which believes that better health can be achieved by qi, the energy which flows in people. If this energy is blocked, health will decline. In acupressure, blocked points are opened by massage or using hand or finger pressure rather than needles, which are used in traditional acupuncture. Other forms of acupressure include Jin Shin Do, Jin Shin Jyustu, and Shiatsu.
What is acupressure used for?
Acupressure is used to treat many problems including back pain, chronic conditions such as varicose veins, depression, and for energy balancing. Dwarfs with any joint of spinal problems should tell acupressure practitioner in detail about all problems. Some acupressure practitioners may request to see an X-ray to assist them in working on a patient with a spinal injury.
- Internet resources for acupressure: http://www.holisticmed.com/www/acupuncture.html
- Locate an acupressure practitioner near you: http://www.acupuncturebyspecialty.com/
Acupuncture stimulates the body’s ability to balance itself and correct imbalances of qi, life energy. Acupuncture was developed in China almost 6,000 years ago. Very thin needles are used to balance the body’s energy points.
As with Acupressure certain points on the spine may be too tender. Make sure your acupuncturist uses clean, disposable needles. Having acupuncture makes you ineligible to donate blood for a few months.
- Internet resources for acupuncturehttp://www.holisticmed.com/www/acupuncture.html
Chiropractic uses forceful and/or gentle touch and movement technique to correct spinal imbalances. Misalignments often put pressure on the spinal chord and have a domino effects all over the body. Chiropractors maintain balance in the body and promote maximum functional efficiency.
Because dwarfism is rare, most chiropractors have never worked on a dwarf before. Since there are frequent spinal complications with dwarfism, it is vital that any chiropractic care be very gentle. Adjustments used on people of average stature can be disastrous for people with unstable spines. Consider asking the chiropractor to not do a manual adjustment. An “adjustment device” can achieve the same results without the risk of injury from adjustments. An adjustment gun is piece of metal used to stimulate nerves.
- For an FAQ about Chiropractic Medicine, please see http://www.google.com/Top/Health/Alternative/Chiropractic?tc=1/.
- American Chiropractic Association: http://www.amerchiro.org/
There are many different forms of massage. Massage is said to relax muscles, speed healing, and improve the immune system by improving the lymph system circulation. It is also a great stress reducer.
Communication is vital between a massage therapist and person f short stature. Make sure to let them know of underlying conditions, such as back instability. Note that ‘deep tissue’ massage has been associated with some injuries, such as to the spleen.
- For a FAQ on massage, please visit http://www.google.com/Top/Health/Alternative/Massage_Therapy_and_Bodywork?tc=1/.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology works with the theory that the entire body can be mapped to the hands and feet. Using massage and relaxation techniques, points on the hands, feet, and outer ears are manipulated to assist the body to come back into balance with itself.
What is Reflexology used for?
Reflexology has been used for relief of back, neck, and shoulder pain and to relieve allergic reactions, upset stomachs, and other ailments.
What is Reiki?
Reiki means universal life-force energy. Reiki is a method of activating the body’s energy and balancing it. Light hand placement techniques are used on the body to properly channel the energy.
What is Reiki used for?
Reiki is used for emotional distress, mental problems, chronic health problems, and for achieving spiritual focus.
Reiki Links: http://www.reiki.org/.
Nutritional Therapies and Supplements
- Herbal Medicines
- Glucosamine Sulphate and Chondroitin
- Arthritis Foundation information on Glucosamine: http://www.arthritis.org/conditions/alttherapies/glucosamine.asp
- Links on pain management
Other Alternative Therapy Links
- Osteopathic Medicine
- The National Council for Reliable Health Research
- Osteopathic Medicine
What is an Osteopath?
While Osteopathic physicians have been around for over 50 years and often practice in offices with MD’s, they are still considered alternative. In addition to their regular MD training, they are also taught to correct musculoskeletal ‘obstructions’ which impair the body’s ability to heal itself. They only apply these special procedures to selected patients who specifically request it.
You can see an osteopath for any primary medical condition, as they are as qualified as an MD, but they can also use osteopathic manipulation for osteopathic manipulation for musculoskeletal disorders such as back and neck pain, joint pain, sciatica, sports injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and headaches.
Osteopathic Medicine Links:
- The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, AACOM: http://www.aacom.org/
What is Meditation?
What is meditation used for?
Meditation Links: Google directory of medication links
- The National Council for Reliable Health Research, http://www.ncahf.org/ also seeks to provide reliable health information to consumers. Like Quackwatch (see above), this page does neither accepts any alternative medicine nor list any risks associated with conventional Western Medicine.
If you find a good resource that is not on this page, please let us know!