Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

Research

‌‌Some chronic diseases (e.g. Type II Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease) are linked to inflammation, and a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk for these diseases. The anti-inflammatory effects of exercise are well known and partly thought to be due to muscle work induced temperature rises. We extend this research area by looking at passively increasing temperature. Specifically, we investigate whether some of the health benefits known from regular exercise can be achieved by taking hot baths. This is most relevant for individuals unable to adhere to recommended physical activity guidelines, including wheelchair users, individuals with disabilities that impact on their activity level, overweight, or obese individuals.

Aims

The aims of the project are:

  • To measure the resting inflammatory profile and the acute inflammatory response to a single heat stress session
  • To assess the impacts of a hot water immersion “training” period on the inflammatory marker resting profile
  • To investigate the subjective responses to hot water baths to assess the feasibility to implement this intervention into practice.

Researchers

Dr Christof Leicht

Sven Hoekstra

Dr Steve Faulkner

Institutions and organisations

The Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, SSEHS, Loughborough University

The Biomedical Research Unit, SSEHS, Loughborough University

Milestones

Data is currently being collected.

Impacts

This study provides a scientific basis for the use of taking regular hot baths in the context of chronic disease. This could ultimately inform treatment plans for those at risk for chronic low grade inflammation (e.g. wheelchair users, overweight, obese, or physically inactive individuals). We hypothesise that taking hot baths can serve as a complement to exercise and hence lower the prevalence of inflammatory conditions; this would reduce drug prescription on a population level. A practical advantage of the proposed approach is its potential for wide implementation, as many people have access to a bathtub.