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Heart Rate and Blood Pressure Responses to Warm Whirlpool Treatment

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Literature Review: Several studies have been undertaken to evaluate the possible risks associated with hot water tubs and produce evidence in support of the risk warning that have stemmed from the hemodynamics involved in the environments of saunas, spas and hot tub baths. Boone Westendorf and Ayres, 1999, provide information on a limited exposure of young subjects to a hot tub bath. Based on a study of five young subjects, who were exposed to a fifteen minutes immersion in a hot tub bath maintained at a temperature of 39 degrees Centigrade, Boone, Westendorf, and Ayres, 1999, found that at fifteen minutes there was an increase in heart rate, and cardiac output, while there was a decrease in mean arterial pressure and systolic blood pressure.

The increase in cardiac output was attributed to the decrease in systemic vascular resistance and this increase in cardiac output along with the increase in heart rate was the response to the increased metabolism that resulted from the immersion in a hot tub bath. In the opinion of the others exposure in a hot water bath for the limited time of fifteen minutes posed no health risks to young subjects (Boone, Westendorf, & Ayres, 1999).

Support for increase in heart rate and decrease in blood pressure is found in the study of Miwa, et al, 1994, which provides a comparative picture of cardiovascular responses in the case of hot tub bath (40 degrees Centigrade) and normo-temperature tub bath (34.5 degrees Centigrade) over an extended time of sixty minutes for healthy young males. Findings from the normo-temperature bath showed that besides a decrease in heart rate all other variables demonstrated no significant change, while findings from hot tub bath showed that after ten minutes from the entry in the bath the mean blood pressure decreased while there was an increase in heart rate and skin blood flow, while at the same time it was observed that there was an increase in the core temperature.

This rise in core temperature during immersion in a hot tub bath for more than ten minutes has been attributed as the cause for the cardiovascular changes observed (Miwa, et al, 1994). The Katoaka and Yoshida study, 2005, on a young healthy adults, comparing the effects of hot tub immersion at 38 degrees Centigrade and forty one degrees Centigrade give support to the evidence that there is hardly any significant increase in heart rate and blood pressure in hot tub baths where the temperature is maintained at near normal temperature level of the human body.

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