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The Thermal Effects of Water Immersion on Health Outcomes: An Integrative Review

1
Department of Nursing, Kyung-In Women’s University, Incheon 21041, Korea
2
College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul 03080, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1280; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071280
Received: 13 February 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
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Abstract

Hydrotherapy is widely used for the treatment and rehabilitation of patients, but it can also be applied to prevent diseases in healthy people. This review investigates the health effects of water immersion, a form of hydrotherapy, and the mechanisms by which the properties of water elicit such an effect. We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and CINAHL to identify relevant articles, of which 13 met the inclusion criteria. Various factors of water immersion were investigated in the 13 selected articles, including water temperature, immersion height, and application area. With respect to health effects, warm and cold water immersion affects the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems, respectively. Nine articles focused on the effects of warm water immersion, explaining its thermal effect in relation to changes in disease-related serum substance levels and hemodynamic changes. While the sample population in most studies comprised young adults, two articles applied partial water immersion to the legs of elderly subjects to assess its effect on sleep. Because the water immersion protocols applied in the 13 articles were inconsistent, the health benefits could not be clearly explained. However, we expect the present findings to be beneficial for providing research guidelines for studies on the application of water immersion. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydrotherapy; health promotion; water immersion hydrotherapy; health promotion; water immersion
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An, J.; Lee, I.; Yi, Y. The Thermal Effects of Water Immersion on Health Outcomes: An Integrative Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1280.

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