This study examined the effect of bathroom thermal conditions on physiological and subjective responses before, during and after three kinds of bathing. Bathing methods were as follows: whole-body bath (W-bath), half-body bath (H-bath) and showering. The air temperature of the dressing room and bathroom was kept at 10, 17.5 and 25°C. Eight healthy males bathed for 10 min under nine conditions on separate days. Water temperature of the bathtub and shower was kept at 40 or 41°C, respectively. Rectal temperature (Tre), skin temperature (Tsk), blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), body weight loss and blood characteristics (hematcrit: Hct) were measured. Thermal sensation (TS) and thermal comfort (TC) were also recorded. During bathing, BP decreased rapidly during W-bath and H-bath, and HR during a W-bath was significantly higher than during a H-bath or showering. The double products (systolic blood pressure × heart rate) due to W-bath during bathing were also greater than for a H-bath and showering. There was no distinct difference in Ht among the nine conditions. However, significant differences in body weight loss were observed among the bathing methods: W-bath > H-bath > showering. The changes in Tre after a H-bath at 25°C were similar to those of W-bath at 17.5 and 10°C. The large differences in Tre were due to the room temperature for the H-bath. TS and TC after bathing significantly differed with the three kinds bathing at 17.5 and 10°C. Especially with showering, TS and TC were significantly cooler and more uncomfortable than W-bath and H-bath. These results suggest that the physiological strains of a H-bath and showering were less than a W-bath. However, it is particularly important with a H-bath and showering to maintain an acceptable temperature in the dressing room and bathroom, in order to bathe comfortably and keep the body warm.
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