Recreational Therapy for FAP

Brian Murphy, Ph.D. avatar

by Brian Murphy, Ph.D. |

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Having a chronic progressive disorder such as familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP) can be both stressful and isolating.  Recreational therapy is a form of treatment that may provide both physical and social benefits to people with FAP.

What is FAP?

FAP is a rare genetic disorder characterized by progressive damage to the nervous system and other systems. Mutations in the TTR gene cause FAP. These mutations result in the transthyretin (TTR) proteins to be misshapen and clump together. These clumps, or amyloids, build in different tissues and organs including the nervous system, heart, kidneys, and eyes, leading to the characteristic symptoms of this disease.

What is recreational therapy?

Recreational therapy is an activity-based treatment, conducted in a secure environment, that helps people with serious illnesses or disabilities improve their physical and psychological health. A recreational therapist usually plans and oversees the activities. They typically take place in a group setting, as opposed to the individual sessions of occupational therapy or physiotherapy.

Recreational therapy can incorporate a wide variety of activities that focus on interaction, exercise, and enjoyment. The aim is to build skills and improve quality of life. Activities that make up recreational therapy could include working with animals, arts and crafts, music, dance and movement, drama, nature or community outings, sports, and games.

A doctor’s referral is generally needed to begin recreational therapy. If you think this therapy would be of help to you, talk to your doctor or healthcare team about getting a referral to a program that’s convenient for you.

How can recreational therapy help people with FAP?

Research has shown that the daily stress of living with FAP, and the pain associated with the disease can cause patients to feel depressed and anxious, and to engage less in social and physical activities. Chronic stress can also worsen peripheral neuropathy symptoms, so that patients may feel they are burdening family and friends. They withdraw from needed social contact.

Recreational therapy can provide many benefits to these people. By keeping patients active both physically and socially, it helps them to better manage stress, promotes greater self-reliance and physical conditioning, and enriches their life. Recreational therapy, though its engagement, also helps to ease feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Taking part in fun activities in a group setting can help you feel less isolated, easing stress and anxiety. By increasing your sense of self-reliance, recreational therapy may also help you in staying active and close to your friends and family, and better physical conditioning may help to lessen the pain of neuropathy.


Last updated: Nov. 12, 2020


FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.