Objective: The aim of our study was to evaluate the cutaneous temperature during an exercise on a treadmill with or without infrared light-emitting diode (LED) irradiation in postmenopausal women.
Background data: Thermography is an imaging technique in which radiation emitted by a body in the middle and far infrared spectrum is detected and associated with the temperature of the body's surface.
Materials and methods: Eighteen postmenopausal women were randomly divided into two groups: (1) the LED group, which performed the exercises on a treadmill associated with phototherapy (n=9) and; (2) the exercise group, which performed the exercises on a treadmill without additional phototherapy (n=9). The irradiation parameters for each women's thigh were: array of 2000 infrared LEDs (850 nm) with an area of 1,110 cm(2), 100 mW, 39 mW/cm(2), and 108 J/cm(2) for 45 min. The submaximal constant-speed exercise on the treadmill at intensities between 85% and 90% maximal heart rate (HRmax) with or without phototherapy were performed during 45 min, to perform the thermographic analysis. Thermography images were captured before the exercise (t=0), after 10, 35, and 45 min of exercising (t=10, t=35, and t=45) and at 5 min post-exercising (t=50).
Results: The LED group showed an increased cutaneous thigh temperature during the exercise (from 33.5±0.8°C to 34.6±0.9°C, p=0.03), whereas the exercise group showed a reduced cutaneous temperature (from 33.5±0.6 to 32.7±0.7°C, p=0.02). The difference between the groups was significant (p<0.05) at t=35, t=45, and t=50.
Conclusions: These data indicate an improved microcirculation, and can explain one possible mechanism of action of phototherapy associated with physical exercises.