Temperature dependence of habituation of the initial responses to cold-water immersion

Mike Tipton, F. Golden, C. Higenbottam, I. Mekjavic, Clare Eglin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The initial responses to cold-water immersion, evoked by stimulation of peripheral cold receptors, include tachycardia, a reflex inspiratory gasp and uncontrollable hyperventilation. When immersed naked, the maximum responses are initiated in water at 10°C, with smaller responses being observed following immersion in water at 15°C. Habituation of the initial responses can be achieved following repeated immersions, but the specificity of this response with regard to water temperature is not known. Thirteen healthy male volunteers were divided into a control (C) group (n = 5) and a habituation (H) group (n = 8). Each subject undertook two 3-min head-out immersions in water at 10°C wearing swimming trunks. These immersions took place at a corresponding time of day with 4 days separating the two immersions. In the intervening period the C group were not exposed to cold water, while the H group undertook another six, 3-min, head-out immersions in water at 15°C. Respiratory rate (f R), inspiratory minute volume (V˙ I) and heart rate (f H) were measured continuously throughout each immersion. Following repeated immersions in water at 15°C, the f R, V˙ I and f H responses of the H group over the first 30 s of immersion were reduced (P 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-257
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1998


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