Thermovisual evaluation of the behavior of skin surface temperature following cryostimulation of the forearm in healthy adults

Zbigniew Śliwiński, Jan Talar

Zbigniew Śliwiński, Jan Talar – Thermovisual evaluation of the behavior of skin surface temperature following cryostimulation of the forearm in healthy adults. Fizjoterapia Polska 2001; 1(2); 155-160

Introduction. The authors describe the impact of local cryotherapy on the human organism and the operating principles of the thermoregulation center. The article also contains information on thermovision. The research results presented here involve change in skin suface temperature in the upper limbs following chilling only one forearm by liquid nitrogen vapors for 2 minutes. Material and methods. 18 healthy volunteers (13 women, 5 men) were tested with the consent of the Bioethics Committee at the Bydgoszcz Academy of Medicine. Skin temperature changes were evaluated using an Agema 570 thermovision camera. A KS-1 apparatus manufactured by Hans-Sped (Głogów, Poland) was used for cryostimulation. Results. The results confirm that chilling one limb evokes changes in the other limb also. The temperature in the chilled limb after a two-minute administration did not achieve the initial values 5 minutes after conclusion of cryostimulation. In the limb which did not receive cryostimulation the temperature leveled out within 2 minutes after conclusion of stimulation, despite an initial drop. Intensive perfusion brought about a statistically significant increase in temperature to values higher than initial, in several cases, however, increased temperature was observed after conclusion of cryostimulation. This mechanism is not fully explained. Conclusions. The temperature increase in the untreated arm after conclusion of cryostimulation indicates that the thermoregulatory mechanism is operating properly, defending the organism against heat loss by increasing the blood supply to the limb. Cold reduced the sensitivity of smooth muscles to sympathetic stimuli and the effect of catecholamine, and this facilitates blood supply to the limbs. Cryostimulation to only one limb in healthy persons induces contralateralization of the consensual reflex, as shown by temperature changes on the skin of the limb not subjected to cryotherapy. This would seem to be associated with the arousal of cold thermoreceptors due to the reduction in skin temperature, which in turn leads to bioelectric arousal of the brain by the activating portion of the reticular network in the mesencephalon.

Key words:
Cryostimulation, thermoregulation, thermovision

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