European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 108, Issue 6, pp 1217–1223 | Cite as

Palm cooling to reduce heat strain in subjects during simulated armoured vehicle transport

  • Matthew R. KuennenEmail author
  • Trevor L. Gillum
  • Fabiano T. Amorim
  • Young Sub Kwon
  • Suzanne M. Schneider
Original Paper


This study examined whether palm cooling (PC) could reduce heat strain, measured through changes in core, mean skin, mean body temperatures, and thermal sensation in resting hyperthermic subjects wearing chemical protective garments. Ten male subjects performed three exercise bouts (6.1 km h−1, 2–4% grade) in a hot, dry environment [mean (SD) air temperature 42.2 (0.5°C), relative humidity 36.5 (1%)] until core temperature reached 38.8°C. Subjects then simulated transport in an armoured vehicle by resting in a seated position for 50 min with either no cooling (NC), (PC at 10°C) or palm cooling with vacuum application around the hand (PCVAC, 10°C, 7.47 kPa negative pressure). Core, skin, and mean body temperatures with PC and PCVAC were lower (P < 0.05) than NC from 15 to 50 min of cooling, and thermal sensation was lower (P < 0.05) from 30 to 50 min, with no differences in any variables between PC and PCVAC. Maximal heat extraction averaged 42 (12 W), and core temperature was reduced by 0.38 (0.21°C) after 50 min of PC. Heat extraction with PC was modest compared to other cooling approaches in the literature.


Armoured vehicle transport Hyperthermia Palm cooling Rapid thermal exchanger 



This study was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency W911NF-06-1-0025. The authors thank the subjects for their perseverance and cooperation in completing this study. They also thank AVA core technologies (Ann Arbor, MI, USA) and Drs. Heller and Grahn for useful input during this study. Many thanks to CSA Engineering for providing the technology to quantify heat extraction and technical support.

Conflict of interest statement

No conflict of interest exists.


  1. Armstrong L, Balady GJ, Berry MJ (2006) American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription, 7th edn. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  2. Cadarette BS, Cheuvront SN, Kolka MA, Stephenson LA, Montain SJ, Sawka MN (2006) Intermittent microclimate cooling during exercise-heat stress in US army chemical protective clothing. Ergonomics 49(2):209–219CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cheuvront SN, Kolka MA, Cadarette BS, Montain SJ, Sawka MN (2003) Efficacy of intermittent, regional microclimate cooling. J Appl Physiol 94(5):1841–1848PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Constable SH, Bishop PA, Nunneley SA, Chen T (1994) Intermittent microclimate cooling during rest increases work capacity and reduces heat stress. Ergonomics 37(2):277–285CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Dorman LE, Havenith G (2009) The effects of protective clothing on energy consumption during different activities. Eur J Appl Physiol 105(3):463–470CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Flouris AD, Cheung SS (2006) Design and control optimization of microclimate liquid cooling systems underneath protective clothing. Ann Biomed Eng 34(3):359–372CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Gagge AP, Stolwijk JAJ, Hardy JD (1967) Comfort and thermal sensations and associated physiological responses at various ambient temperatures. Environ Res 1(1):1–20CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Grahn DA, Cao VH, Heller HC (2005) Heat extraction through the palm of one hand improves aerobic exercise endurance in a hot environment. J Appl Physiol 99(3):972–978CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. House JR, Holmes C, Allsopp AJ (1997) Prevention of heat strain by immersing hands and forearms in water. J R Navy Med Serv 83(1):26–30Google Scholar
  10. House JR, Lunt H, Magness A, Lyons J (2003) Testing the effectiveness of techniques for reducing heat strain in Royal Navy nuclear, biological and chemical cleansing station’s teams. J R Navy Med Serv 89(1):27–34Google Scholar
  11. Jackson AS, Pollock ML (1978) Generalized equations for predicting body density of men. Br J Nutr 40(3):497–504CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Johnson JM, Pergola PE, Liao FK, Kellog DL, Crandall CG (1995) Skin of the dorsal aspect of human hands and fingers possesses an active vasodilator system. J Appl Physiol 78(3):948–954PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Livingstone SD, Nolan RW, Keefe AA (1995) Heat loss caused by cooling the feet. Aviat Space Environ Med 66(3):232–237PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Montain SJ, Sawka MN, Cadarette BS, Quigley MD, McKay JM (1994) Physiological tolerance to uncompensable heat stress: effects of exercise intensity, protective clothing, and climate. J Appl Physiol 77(1):216–222PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Moran DS, Shitzer A, Pandolf KB (1998) A physiological strain index to evaluate heat stress. Am J Physiol 275(44):R129–R134PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Racinais S, Gaoua N, Grantham J (2008) Hyperthermia impairs short-term memory and peripheral motor drive transmission. J Physiol 586(Pt 19):4751–4762CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Ramanathan NL (1964) A new weighting system for mean surface temperature of the human body. J Appl Physiol 19(3):531–533PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Selkirk GA, McLellan TM, Wong J (2004) Active versus passive cooling during work in warm environments while wearing firefighting protective clothing. J Occup Environ Hyg 1(8):521–531CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Tipton MJ, Allsopp A, Balmi PJ, House JR (1993) Hand immersion as a method of cooling and rewarming: a short review. J R Navy Med Serv 79(1):125–131Google Scholar
  20. Yamazaki F, Sone R (2006) Different vascular responses in glabrous and nonglabrous skin with increasing core temperature during exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol 97(5):582–590CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew R. Kuennen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Trevor L. Gillum
    • 1
  • Fabiano T. Amorim
    • 2
  • Young Sub Kwon
    • 1
  • Suzanne M. Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Department of Health, Exercise and Sports SciencesUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri (UFVJM)DiamantinaBrazil

Personalised recommendations