Exercises and Alternative Therapies


Before beginning and alternative/complementary medicine or supplement program, please contact your medical provider. This pages lists exercises to try and alternative/complementary therapies to consider:


Alternative Therapies

Movement Therapy

Physical and Occupational Therapy Links

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.

  • General fitness web pages for people with disabilities
  • Aerobics: Go at your own pace, and modify moves as you need to. 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.
  • Dancing
  • Low Impact Aerobics
  • Rowing
  • 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

Alternative/Complementary Medicine

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

Physical and Occupational Therapy Links

  • American Physical Therapy Association: http://www.apta.org/. Find out about physical therapy, find a therapist, find out about insurance coverage for physical therapy, and more!

  • The American Occupational Therapy Association www.aota.org. This page has information about the profession, occupational therapy books, and links to other OT pages. OT interventions occur in a wide range of settings including schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, home health, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, psychiatric facilities, and community health programs.

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Movement Therapies

  • Feldenkrais
    What is 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.

    What is Feldenkrais used for?
    Feldenkrais is used for orthopedic problems, posture, flexibility, coordination, reducing chronic pain, and renewing inner vitality.

    Feldenkrais Links:

  • Descriptions, articles, SenseAbility Newsletter and research about the Method: http://www.feldenkrais.com/
  • http://www.feldenkraisathome.com/

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  • Rolfing
    What is 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 overall body balancing.

    What is Rolfing used for?
    Rolfing is used for posture improvement and dealing with past traumas. Some cautions include spinal injury from deep tissue massage.

    Rolfing Links:

  • http://www.rolf.org/

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  • T’ai Chi
    What is 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.

    What is T’ai Chi used for?
    T’ai Chi is used to reduce the heart rate, relax the mind, aid digestion, fix muscle and glandular problems, and improve flexibility. People who have trouble standing for long periods of time may have to modify their regime. T’ai Chi is practiced my many senior citizens and can be a great benefit to people of many physical abilities.

    T’ai Chi Links:

  • http://www.easytaichi.com/
  • http://www.tai-chi.com/

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  • Yoga
    What is 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.

    What is Yoga used for?
    Yoga is used for all sorts of ailments including concentration, posture, and metabolic disorders. Some cautions include positions that put a lot of stress on the spine and involve much twisting. Most dwarfs will have to adapt certain poses so it is a good idea to find a very experienced and flexible teacher.

    Yoga Links:

  • For a FAQ on Yoga, please visit http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Yoga/.

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    Introduction to Alternative/Complementary medicine While alternative therapies might not be for everyone, these treatments have been around for thousands of years. Some, such as acupuncture have some solid scientific studies backing their efficacy, while others are still untested by western methods. This page is intended to give you a brief introduction to some popular treatments as a compliment to conventional western medicine.

    Another reason for including them on this web page is that many western-style physicians will not discuss complementary therapies unless patients bring them up. This science magazine article on http://www.jmir.org/ researches the quality of information about Complementary and Alternative (CAMs) medicines on-line.

    General alternative health links:

  • Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural health and preventive medicine, Dr. Weil provides an innovative approach to health care that encompasses body, mind, and spirit. http://www.drweil.com/
  • Complementary medicine schools: http://www.altmedschools.com/
  • Index of alternative therapies: www.onlinehealthresources.com
  • Google’s directory of alternative health links: http://directory.google.com/Top/Health/Animal/Alternative_Medicine/
  • International links and directories of practitioners: http://www.therapypages.com/

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Discuss any alternative/complementary medicine or supplement program with your provider before starting.

Please see general web page disclaimer.


Acupuncture, Acupressure, Chiropractic, Massage

Nutritional Therapies and Supplements

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Other Alternative Therapy Links