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Energy Conservation Therapy – 5 Ways to Use Less Energy When Doing Daily Tasks

Reducing energy use when performing daily tasks can significantly decrease feelings of fatigue, pain and breathlessness – plus help you feel more productive. Furthermore, these tips could improve overall health.

From among the included studies, an analysis of approach designs revealed that most interventions were organized as closed sessions for providing information, guidance and training on energy conservation strategies (Figure 4). Such techniques are compatible with various diseases.

Basic ADLs

Energy conservation therapy aims to train patients on how to perform tasks as efficiently as possible and thus use their energy wisely. Occupational Therapists frequently incorporate such strategies known as Energy Conservation Strategies (ECTs) into treatment for various conditions including multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and pulmonary diseases.

These occupational therapy (OT) strategies include teaching patients to pace activities, take breaks throughout the day and plan their day around completing the most important tasks first. They can also learn how to modify or simplify challenging tasks by delegating them to family, friends or hired caregivers; in addition, therapists instruct patients in using adaptive equipment like reachers, tub benches, electric kitchen tools, long handled sponges or rolling laundry baskets as an aid to safe completion of tasks safely, efficiently and comfortably; pursed lip breathing or deep breaths are encouraged during daily activities so as to maintain adequate oxygenation of cells throughout our bodies.

Utilizing the Functional Independence Scale, or FIS, patients can ascertain which basic ADLs they can perform independently and which require assistance from others on an everyday basis. This information can assist them with planning for the future, selecting services in their community and establishing eligibility for state or federal assistance programs.

Fatigue can be caused by many different conditions, including cancer, COPD, cardiac conditions and simply getting older. No matter its source – be it disease-related or age related – fatigue has an enormously detrimental impact on quality of life; managing this symptom is key to leading a fulfilling and productive life and reaching our patients’ goals. If fatigue management needs are present for yourself or a loved one, find a Frontier Community near you and start energy conservation therapy today.

Meal Preparation

Diets that focus on energy conservation techniques can assist patients in managing fatigue by aligning dietary needs with physiological demands. A dietitian can play an invaluable role in this regard by creating tailored dietary habits and plans tailored specifically for each individual patient’s unique requirements.

As an example, someone living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can reduce muscle effort and oxygen use needed for daily tasks by learning one task at a time, taking regular short breaks, and working from a stool or chair when possible. By developing these skills they will be better able to perform at their best and less frustrated by changes in their ability to complete daily activities.

Diets based on energy conservation principles can assist those living with MS and other conditions who experience fatigue by helping ensure their nutritional intake meets energy requirements. A dietitian may recommend supplementation and energy-conserving techniques as part of an overall program to manage symptoms such as fatigue, pain and depression more effectively.

Studies examined in this scoping review demonstrate that energy conservation-based treatments are most often employed for neurological and systemic diseases characterized by chronic fatigue and pain symptoms, including neurological, systemic, client-centered approach, activity analysis, work/rest balance and physical/environmental adaptation. Studies grouped these methods into six strategies such as setting goals and providing guidelines to patients as well as client centric approach, activity analysis work/rest balance and physical/environmental adaptation. Future research should investigate optimal duration, number of sessions and duration of treatments using energy conservation-based techniques.


Bathing involves cleansing one’s body using water or an aqueous solution and may include soaps, bath salts, lotions or oils for hygiene or leisure use. Bathing can take place in either a bathtub or shower but it can also take place outdoors – river banks, lakes or pools provide ideal environments to bathe – this activity may provide healing, pain management or relaxation benefits.

Occupational therapists teach techniques to conserve energy during bathing, such as performing tasks in a seated position when possible and using long-handled tools with long handles to minimize reaching and bending, along with including rest breaks as needed. They can also address cognitive strategies to strengthen attention, memory and problem-solving abilities related to bathing.

At the same time as energy conservation is an integral aspect of nursing practice, few studies have explored nurse and respiratory therapist perspectives on bathing during PMV weaning trials. Therefore, this qualitative secondary analysis (using micro-level ethnography21) sought to examine nurse and respiratory therapist practices and beliefs regarding bathing activities for critically ill patients weaning off mechanical ventilation in intensive care or step-down ICU units.

Leisure and Social Activities

Leisure activities are voluntary pursuits conducted in free time and may include recreational hobbies, sporting events, social interactions and socialization activities. Leisure participation has been found to significantly enhance quality of life while improving psychological health, aiding in coping mechanisms, decreasing sedentary behaviours and even aiding recovery from stroke.

However, those living with chronic conditions often struggle with participating in leisure and social activities due to fatigue. Energy conservation strategies provide patients with ways to adjust their activities according to what energy resources are available and reduce fatigue symptoms while performing daily tasks.

Occupational therapy provides energy conservation training to individuals living with various medical conditions to manage fatigue and take advantage of leisure and social activity participation. A pilot study with 12 post-therapy cancer survivors demonstrated the effectiveness of such training; their energy conservation training program outperforming usual care by offering one or two hour face-to-face energy conservation training sessions from an occupational therapist along with once weekly telephone monitoring for three weeks.

Although social relationships and health outcomes have long been established, little research has examined how leisure affects this relationship. A study of middle aged adults conducted by authors revealed that types and frequency of leisure pursuits had varied associations with health outcomes – for instance social activities that involve visiting friends were found to have the strongest positive correlation, while arts participation and volunteering/community group engagement had more moderate effects.

These findings demonstrate how leisure activity is an effective means of strengthening both social relationships and health for middle-aged adults, and may be useful as part of future interventions targeting increased participation such as social prescribing schemes. To maximize its benefit for individuals participating, health professionals must understand each patient’s personal motivations and beliefs when selecting activities to engage in.