Research findings- 5. Water immersion
4 August 2020 / 0 comments

Register here for our newsletter to get a monthly overview of the last research findings on water immersion and whole-body cryo.

Every month ProCcare extracts the new research studies on water immersion and whole-body cryotherapy. These studies are the basis of our literature database and form the foundation of our ProCcare method. In each newsletter, we provide an overview of the new research studies. Additionally, we offer exciting insights that assist implementation based on the findings of two studies that we selected from the list.

Study: Martin, J. Post-exercise hot water immersion elicits heat acclimation responses in endurance and recreational athletes. A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Method: a meta-analysis including nine studies on the effectiveness of heat acclimation via hot water immersion and its effect on several outcomes like time trial performance and maximal oxygen consumption.

Primary findings by the authors: Athletic performance is improved with post-exercise hot water immersion heat acclimation training. Guidelines: 40-50 minutes of sub-maximal exercise (>65%of VO2max)should be followed directly (within 10 minutes) by 40 minutes of hot water immersion at 40°C/104°F with immersion up to neck level. The protocol should last 6-9 days, with one heat acclimation bout every day.

ProCcare's take-home message: Due to physical activity; metabolism, and work done by the muscles increases which will produce additional heat. The athlete can become hyperthermic; an elevated body temperature due to failed thermoregulation that occurs when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. The amount of heat generated is strongly related to the intensity of exercise. Heat can be lost via conduction, convection, radiation, and evaporation. During exercise, evaporation via sweating is the most critical process. In warmer circumstances losing heat will be more difficult due to smaller thermal gradients. The same occurs in more humid environments; losing heat will also become more difficult. Water immersion can be used as a strategy to control and/or prevent hyperthermia while exercising in the heat. Either via cold-water immersion, in the form of precooling, or via hot water immersion in a heat acclimation or acclimatization period. Based on the results of the meta-analysis from Martin, hot water immersion during a heat acclimation or acclimatization period is a successful strategy. Martin provided strong evidence that 40 minutes of full-body hot water immersion for 6-9 days at 40°C/104°F directly after submaximal exercise is of benefit. It is critical, however, to respect these proposed guidelines. Additionally, to properly implement this hot water immersion strategy, the acclimation period should not be scheduled immediately before an athletic event. It should be allowed some time post acclimation for physiological adaptations to occur, according to Daanen and colleagues (2011).

How to apply these findings in practice: Hot water immersion can be regarded as a simple, practical, economic and adequate heat acclimation strategy to improve endurance performance in the heat. To implement hot water immersion properly:

-   The protocol should contain 40-50 minutes of sub-maximal exercise (>65%of VO2max) followed directly (within 10 minutes) by 40 minutes of hot water immersion at 40°C/104°F with immersion up to neck level.

-   The protocol should last 6-9 days.

-  The protocol should end 5-7 days before the athletic event.

Published studies in May/ June 2020:

  1. Borg, D. N. et al. The Effects of Daily Cold-WaterRecovery and Postexercise Hot-Water Immersion on Training-Load Tolerance During5 Days of Heat-Based Training. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 15,639–647 (2020).
  2. Corbier, C.,Chouchou, F., Roche, F., Barthélémy, J.-C. & Pichot, V. Causal analyses tostudy autonomic regulation during acute head-out water immersion, head-downtilt and supine position. Exp. Physiol. (2020) doi:10.1113/EP088640.
  3. Eglin, C. M., Costello, J. T., Tipton, M. J. & Massey, H. Previous recreational cold exposure does not alter endothelial function or sensory thermal thresholds in the hands or feet. Experimental Physiology n/a,.
  4. Jaky, E. L. &Hamed, M. The impact of recovered by cold water immersion on some immunoglobulin for young swimmers. The International Scientific Journal of physical Education and Sport Sciences 0, (2020).
  5. Magalhães, F. deC. et al. High-intensity interval training followed by postexercise cold-water immersion does not alter angiogeniccirculating cells, but increases circulating endothelial cells. Appl PhysiolNutr Metab 45, 101–111 (2020).
  6. Martin, J.Post-exercise hot water immersion elicites heat acclimation responses in endurance and recreational athletes. A  systematic review and meta-analysis.
  7. Martínez-Guardado,I. et al. Intermittent Pneumatic Compression and Cold Water ImmersionEffects on Physiological and Perceptual Recovery during Multi-SportsInternational Championship. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology5, 45 (2020).
  8. Mawhinney, C. et al. Changes in quadriceps femoris muscle perfusion following different degrees of cold-water immersion. J. Appl. Physiol. 128, 1392–1401(2020).
  9. Peake, J. M. et al. The Effects of Cold Water Immersion and Active Recovery on Molecular Factors That Regulate Growth and Remodeling ofSkeletal Muscle After Resistance Exercise. Front Physiol 11,(2020).
  10. Shell, S. J. et al. Perceptions and use of recovery strategies: Do swimmers and coaches believe they are effective? J Sports Sci 1–8 (2020)doi:10.1080/02640414.2020.1770925.
  11. Sotiridis, A.,Ciuha, U., Debevec, T. & Mekjavic, I. B. Heat acclimation does not modify autonomic responses to core cooling and the skin thermal comfort zone. Journal of Thermal Biology 91, 102602 (2020).

Leave a Reply