Partial‐body cryotherapy (‐135°C) and cold‐water immersion (10°C) after muscle‐damage in females

Erich Hohenauer, Joseph T. Costello, Tom Deliens, Peter Clarys, Rahel Stoop, Ron Clijsen

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This randomized controlled trial examined the effects of cold‐water immersion (CWI), partial‐body cryotherapy (PBC), or a passive control (CON) on physiological and recovery variables following exercise induced muscle damage (EIMD, 5 x 20 drop‐jumps) in females.

Twenty‐eight females were allocated to PBC (30 sec at ‐60°C, 2 min at ‐135°C), CWI (10 min at 10°C) or CON (10 min resting). Muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2), cutaneous vascular conductance (CVC), mean arterial pressure (MAP) and local skin temperature were assessed at baseline and through 60 min (10 min intervals), while delayed‐onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), muscle swelling, maximum‐voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) and vertical jump performance (VJP) were assessed up to 72 h (24 h intervals) following treatments.

SmO2 was lower in PBC (Δ‐2.77±13.08%) and CWI (Δ‐5.91±11.80%) compared to CON (Δ18.96±1.46%) throughout the 60 min follow‐up period (p<0.001). CVC was lower from PBC (92.7±25.0%, 90.5±23.4%) and CWI (90.3±23.5%, 88.1±22.9%) compared to CON (119.0±5.1, 116.1±6.6% respectively) between 20 and 30 min (p<0.05). Mean skin temperature was lower from CWI vs. PBC (between 10 to 40 min, p<0.05). Mean skin temperature was higher in CON compared to CWI up to 60 min and compared to PBC up to 30 min (p<0.05). DOMS was lower following both PBC and CWI compared to CON through 72‐h (p<0.05), with no difference between groups. No main group differences for swelling, MVIC and VJP were observed. In conclusion, CWI elicited generally greater physiological effects compared to PBC whilst both interventions were more effective than CON in reducing DOMS in females, but had no effect on functional measures or swelling.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Early online date2 Nov 2019
Publication statusEarly online - 2 Nov 2019


  • cardiovascular
  • cold
  • sex
  • sexual dimorphism
  • women


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