Date of Award


Document Type



Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Gary Schindler


Palmar cooling, Palm, core body temperature, athletes, Queen’s College Step Test, Physical Therapy


Purpose/Hypothesis: For many athletes and active individuals, the ability to improve endurance, strength, and power is a common goal. Millions of people around the world engage in sporting events and other physical activities every day. While each sport has differing physical requirements, each sport requires varying degrees of endurance, strength, and power. During sporting events or exercise routines, body temperature increases and eventually begins to have a negative impact on performance. Research on palmar cooling has shown endurance benefits. The palm is an area of the body with abundant anastomoses, or cross-connections of blood vessels. These areas transfer heat more rapidly than other areas of the body, and also include the feet, head, and neck. It is hypothesized that cooling the palm reduces core body temperature and thus improves exercise performance. Past research has primarily focused on the effects of palmar cooling on endurance. In this study, we investigate the impact of palmar cooling on endurance, strength, and power. Endurance was measured using the Queen’s College Step Test while strength and power was measured utilizing MicroFET leg extension peak force and the vertical jump test. The research hypothesis is that palmar cooling will increase endurance, strength, and power compared to no cooling.

Material/Methods: This study included 34 subjects (20 females; 14 males) who were all first and second year physical therapy students. Each subject performed the endurance, strength, and power tests described above on two occasions that were three weeks apart. The subjects were DocuSign Envelope ID: 29481BA5-3329-4B79-B230-AA1B1B1256B5 x randomly assigned to receive either cooling or non-cooling on the first test day and vice versa on the second test day.

Results: A significant decrease in heart rate was found when subjects received cooling during the Queen’s College Step Test compared to no cooling. This indicated palmar cooling may have improved endurance. No significant differences were found between palmar cooling and no cooling regarding strength or power.

Conclusions: As found in previous literature, participants displayed improved endurance with palmar cooling compared to non-cooling. No significant change in strength or power was attributed to palmar cooling. Further research could investigate the impact of palmar cooling on strength and power in a hot environment or when subjects perform tests with elevated core body temperatures.

Clinical Relevance: The results of this study illustrated palmar cooling may be an effective method for improving performance of endurance athletes. Palmar cooling may be a technique used by athletes or active individuals during events to maintain a lower heart rate. In addition, palmar cooling could also be used in the rehabilitation setting during endurance activities for patients with cardiovascular diseases secondary to reduced heart rate during activity. While palmar cooling was not found to have a significant impact on strength or power, future research can investigate power and strength in different environmental conditions. One potential reason strength and power did not improve with cooling is that subjects’ core body temperatures were not significantly raised through exercise or a heated environment prior to performance