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J Sci Med Sport. 1998 Jun;1(2):73-82.

Whole body cooling by immersion in water at moderate temperatures.

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Human Movement Unit, Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia.


This study investigated the potential use of whole body cooling by water immersion for lowering body temperatures prior to endurance exercise. Rectal temperature (Tre), mean skin temperature (Tsk), oxygen consumption (VO2), and ventilation (VE) were measured in 7 male and 3 female subjects who were immersed in a water bath for up to 60 min. Initial water temperature was 28.8+/-1.5 degrees C and decreased to 23.8+/-1.1 degrees C by the end of immersion. Pre-immersion Tre of 37.34+/-0.36 degrees C was not altered by 60 min water immersion but decreased to 36.64+/-0.34 degrees C at 3 min post immersion (p < 0.01). Tsk decreased from 33.23+/-1.4 degrees C to 26.95+/-1.8 degrees C (p < 0.01) at the end of immersion. Reductions in Tre and Tsk resulted in reduced body heat content (Hc) of approximately 545 kJ (p < 0.01) at the end of immersion. VO2 and VE increased from pre-immersion values of 0.34+/-0.08 L x min(-1) and 6.2+/-1.4 L x min(-1) to 0.54+/-0.09 L x min(-) and 11.5+/-5.4 L x min(-1) at the end of immersion, respectively. Heart rate remained unchanged throughout immersion. These results indicate that whole body immersion in moderately cold water temperatures is an effective cooling maneuver for lowering body temperatures and body Hc in the absence of severe physiological responses generally associated with sudden cold stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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