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Open Access Research article

Hydrotherapy as a recovery strategy after exercise: a pragmatic controlled trial

Antonio I Cuesta-Vargas1*, Alvaro Travé-Mesa2, Alberto Vera-Cabrera2, Dario Cruz-Terrón3, Adelaida M Castro-Sánchez4, Cesar Fernández-de-las-Peñas5 and Manuel Arroyo-Morales2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Clinical Science, Faculty of Health Science, Queensland University Technology, Brisbane, Australia

2 Department of Physical Therapy, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain

3 Sport Spa Club Yo10-Granada, Granada, Spain

4 Department of Physical Therapy, Universidad de Almeria, Almeria, Spain

5 Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Alcorcón, Spain

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013, 13:180  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-180

Published: 18 July 2013



Our aim was to evaluate the recovery effects of hydrotherapy after aerobic exercise in cardiovascular, performance and perceived fatigue.


A pragmatic controlled repeated measures; single-blind trial was conducted. Thirty-four recreational sportspeople visited a Sport-Centre and were assigned to a Hydrotherapy group (experimental) or rest in a bed (control) after completing a spinning session. Main outcomes measures including blood pressure, heart rate, handgrip strength, vertical jump, self-perceived fatigue, and body temperature were assessed at baseline, immediately post-exercise and post-recovery. The hypothesis of interest was the session*time interaction.


The analysis revealed significant session*time interactions for diastolic blood pressure (P=0.031), heart rate (P=0.041), self perceived fatigue (P=0.046), and body temperature (P=0.001); but not for vertical jump (P=0.437), handgrip (P=0.845) or systolic blood pressure (P=0.266). Post-hoc analysis revealed that hydrotherapy resulted in recovered heart rate and diastolic blood pressure similar to baseline values after the spinning session. Further, hydrotherapy resulted in decreased self-perceived fatigue after the spinning session.


Our results support that hydrotherapy is an adequate strategy to facilitate cardiovascular recovers and perceived fatigue, but not strength, after spinning exercise.

Trial registration Identifier: NCT01765387

Hydrotherapy; Heart rate; Fatigue; Strength; Blood pressure; Body temperature