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  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

P02.104. Nonlinear parameters of heart rate variability (HRV) – suitable measures to observe physiological outcome during a peat bath in rehabilitation

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BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineThe official journal of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)201212 (Suppl 1) :P160

  • Published:


  • Heat Stress
  • Heart Rate Variability
  • Shannon Entropy
  • Nonlinear Parameter
  • Core Body Temperature


Hot peat baths (40 - 45 °C) are used in rehabilitation medicine to treat pain, increase perfusion and relax muscles. Because of substantial heat stress (core body temperature increased by 1 - 1.5 °C within 30 min) patients´ linear HRV parameters are influenced due to sympathovagal activity. The aim of the observational study was to investigate reactions of the cardiac autonomic nervous system detected by means of nonlinear parameters of HRV during a peat baths procedure.


Cardiovascular healthy non-smoking patients (45.2 ± 8.2 years, 10 male, 19 female) with herniated vertebral discs received a peat bath (40.5 °C) in a rehab hospital. Each bathing procedure consisted of 20 minute recumbent rest (R), 20 minute peat bath (B), and a second 20 minute recumbent rest (S). RR-intervals were determined by a 24 h-ECG-system (Ela medical®, SORIN GROUP, France). For calculations of the HRV-parameters the last 6.5 min of R, and consecutive subdivisions B1, B2, B3 and S1, S2, S3 (each 6.5 min) were used. Kubios HRV 2.0 software were applied (Kuopio, Finland).


In the detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) alpha1 increased from R to B2 continuously (p < 0.05) and sustained (S2, S3, p < 0.01). The sample entropy values (SampleEn) decreased from R to S1 (p < 0.001) and returned slowly (S2, p < 0.05). The Shannon entropy (ShanEn) increased from R to B3, S1 (p < 0.01) and returned rapidly (S2, p > 0.05). In comparison also to linear parameters, correlations provided between alpha1 and LF%, HF% (r = 0.74, p < 0.05), SampleEn and ShanEn (r = 0.86, p < 0.05), but not for heart rate.


Nonlinear parameters of HRV may reflect reactions of the cardiac autonomic nervous system during a peat bath. Our results support their usage as predictors in clinical studies to improve performance.

Authors’ Affiliations

Univ. of Rostock, Rostock, Germany
Rehab hospital „Moorbad" Bad Doberan KG, Bad Doberan, Germany


© Janik et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.