To compare cardiovascular responses in a whirlpool bath at 40°C versus user-controlled
water temperature (UCT).
Material and Methods
In an experimental study, six healthy men, 36 to 43 years of age, participated in
two randomly assigned trials of whirlpool bath use for 25 minutes at 40°C and UCT.
Water temperature, esophageal temperature (Tes), heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), and perceived comfort were monitored
before immersion and at 5-minute intervals during immersion.
Although the mean water temperature during the UCT trial was slightly below 40°C (39.4
± 2.0°C), it varied considerably among subjects (from 36.5 ± 2.1°C to 42.5 ± 1.7°C).
Peak Tes, HR, and SBP were not significantly different between the two trials, although the
UCT trial had greater variability. No adverse effects were observed. Mild or moderate
overheating was reported by four subjects in the 40°C trial and two subjects in the
UCT trial, and mild chest pain, light-headedness, dyspnea, and nausea were reported
by one subject during the UCT trial. A trend toward higher comfort ratings was noted
in the UCT than in the 40°C trial, especially during the final 10 minutes of immersion.
These data show that cardiovascular responses to whirlpool bathing for 25 minutes
at 40°C are mild. In comparison with the 40°C trial, peak Tes HR, and SBP under UCT conditions were not, on the average, significantly higher,
although more variability existed among the subjects.