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.
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.
Dr Christof Leicht
Dr Steve Faulkner
Institutions and organisations
The Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, SSEHS, Loughborough University
The Biomedical Research Unit, SSEHS, Loughborough University
Data is currently being collected.
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.