This study examined the immediate effects of wrapped warm footbaths (WW Footbath) on the autonomic, neuroimmunological and psychological activities in healthy middle-aged volunteers. Thirteen subjects were divided into a footbath group (n=7) and a control group (n=6). Immediate changes in autonomic activities were recorded with wavelet analysis of heart rate variability. Salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) and serum cortisol levels were used as neuroimmunological parameters. Psychological conditions were measured using a Visual Analog Scale. Parasympathetic activity tended to increase and sympathetic activity decrease after footbaths.
Results: Changes in the relaxation indices, that is, sIgA and serum cortisol levels showed that both lying down and footbath resulted in a relaxed state.
Conclusion: WW Footbaths can be an effective method of relaxation, since it induces both a significant increase in parasympathetic activity and significant decrease in sympathetic activity.