Changes in femoral artery blood flow during thermoneutral, cold, and contrast-water therapy

A. Ménétrier, S. Béliard, G. Ravier, L. Mourot, A. Bouhaddi, A. Regnard, N. Tordi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine the changes in femoral artery blood flow during cold water immersion (CWI), contrast water therapy (CWT) and thermoneutral water immersion (TWI). Methods: Ten athletes came to the laboratory three times, to complete a 20-min procedure in upright position: 4 min in air (baseline), then 16-min full leg TWI (∼35 °C), CWI (∼12 °C) or CWT (2:2 ∼12 °C to ∼35 °C) min ratio, in a random order. Blood flow was measured every 2 min: baseline (i.e. min 3 and 1) and throughout water immersion (i.e. min 1, 3,5,7, 9,11,13 and 15), using Doppler ultrasound in the superficial femoral artery, distal to the common bifurcation (∼3 cm), above the water and stocking. Results: Compared with baseline, blood flow was significantly higher throughout TWI (min 1 to 15: P<0.00l; +74.6%), significantly lower during CWI (from min 7 to 15: P<0.05; -16.2%) and did not change during CWT (min 1 to 15). No changes in blood flow occurred between the hot and cold transitions of CWT. Conclusion: This study shows that external hydrostatic pressure (TWI ∼35 °C) significantly increases femoral artery blood flow. We also show that associating hydrostatic pressure with cooling (CWI ∼12 °C) decreases femoral artery blood flow after a sufficient duration, whereas associating hydrostatic pressure with alternating brief exposures to contrasted temperatures does not change femoral artery blood flow under resting conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-775
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood circulation
  • Hydrostatic pressure
  • Temperature
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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