Research Exclusive: Hydrotherapy Decreases Post-Exercise Fatigue, MASSAGE MagazineHydrotherapy after a spinning session resulted in decreased self-perceived levels of fatigue, according to recent research.

The study, “Hydrotherapy as a recovery strategy after exercise: a pragmatic controlled trial,” involved 17 males and 17 females with a mean age of about 29 years. These subjects engaged in exercise for a mean time of about four hours per week.

Depending on the order in which they arrived at the spa and gym facility, the subjects were assigned to either a hydrotherapy group or control group. Those in the control group rested supine for 30 minutes following the spin class. Subjects in the intervention group received 30 minutes of hydrotherapy after the spinning session. This consisted of a cycle of three Vichy shower and whirlpool baths.

“Vichy sedative shower was applied for 90 to 120 seconds to the sides of the trunk and abdomen, avoiding as much as possible the gall bladder area,” state the study’s authors.

The temperature of the water used during the Vichy showers was approximately 97 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Each shower was followed by a short jet spray.

Participants were then immersed up to the collar bone for 10 minutes in a whirlpool bath. The temperature of the water in the bath was approximately 92 to 96 degrees Fahrenheit. All hydrotherapy sessions also involved aromatherapy with the use of lavender and chamomile oils.

The main outcome measures of this study were blood pressure, heart rate, handgrip strength, vertical jump, body temperature and self-perceived fatigue on a visual analog scale. These outcome measures were recorded at baseline (prior to the spin class), right after the spin class and then again after the 30-minute control and hydrotherapy sessions.

Results of the research showed both groups experienced significant increases in fatigue after spinning. Following hydrotherapy, however, those fatigue levels returned to where they were prior to the spin class. Following the rest session, fatigue levels increased as compared to where they were prior to the spin class.

“These results confirm the effects of hydrotherapy after a demanding exercise results in improvements in self-perceived fatigue,” state the study’s authors. “The main effect of buoyancy is a reduction of post-gravitational forces that act on the musculoskeletal system, allowing a greater conservation of energy that could potentially reduce perceived fatigue.

“These results could be related to local muscle damage elicited during the spinning session,” they continued, “which may be buffered by muscle relaxation response during water immersion.”

Authors: Antonio I. Cuesta-Vargas, Alvaro Travé-Mesa, Alberto Vera-Cabrera, Dario Cruz-Terrón, Adelaida M. Castro-Sánchez, Cesar Fernández-de-las-Peñas and Manuel Arroyo-Morales.

Sources: School of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Health Science, Queensland University Technology, Brisbane, Australia; Department of Physical Therapy, Universidad de Granada, Spain; Sport Spa Club YO10, Granada, Spain; Department of Physical Therapy, Universidad de Almeria, Almeria, Spain; and Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Alcorón, Spain. Originally published in 2013 in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 13(180).