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Aging Clin Exp Res. 2013 Aug;25(4):453-61. doi: 10.1007/s40520-013-0080-3. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Effects of a comprehensive intervention program, including hot bathing, on physical function in community-dwelling healthy older adults: a pilot randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Research Team for Social Participation and Community Health, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, 35-2 Sakae-cho, Itabashi, Tokyo 173-0015, Japan.



To study the effects of a comprehensive intervention program comprising exercise, diet, and hot bathing in community-dwelling older adults by using a randomized controlled trial.


The program included 61 community-dwelling healthy older adults (mean [SD] age, 69.9 [5.3] years) who were using a hot bath facility. The participants were randomly assigned to four groups as follows: an exercise, diet, and hot bath intervention group (A); an exercise and diet intervention group (B); a hot bath intervention group (C); and a control group (D). Individuals in groups A and B participated in a comprehensive intervention program (including exercise and diet classes) twice a week for 3 months, and those in groups A and C took hot baths.


After 3 months, the participants in groups A and B showed a significantly greater improvement in their timed up and go test and stepping test scores than the participants in groups C and D. However, the participants in groups A and C did not show any dependent or independent effects of hot bathing. Three months after the intervention, a follow-up assessment indicated that the group A participants maintained the effect of the intervention and showed improved lower extremity function and health-related quality of life.


The present study suggests that a comprehensive intervention program involving hot bathing may improve lower extremity function and that its effects can be maintained even in healthy older adults. However, the dependent or independent effects of hot bathing may not be expected for healthy older adults.

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