News Release

Dab on deep heat cream to improve exercise performance

Study finds boost in aerobic performance in athletes who used over-the-counter deep heat cream

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Experimental Biology

Dr. Govindasamy Balasekaran video

video: Interview with Dr. Govindasamy Balasekaran. view more 

Credit: American Physiological Society

Rockville, Md. (April 27, 2021)--Deep heat creams widely used by athletes to soothe sore muscles may also boost performance when applied before exercise, according to new research presented virtually this week at the American Physiological Society's (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2021.

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore studied a small group of male volunteers to determine the effects of deep heat cream on exercise endurance. Each volunteer participated in two trials--one where he applied a thin layer of a commercially available deep heat cream to the muscles of his feet, calves, thighs and buttocks--and another where he applied a placebo cream before each trial workout. The over-the-counter product contained ingredients such as methyl salicylate, menthol, glyceryl stearate, eucalyptus and turpentine oils, lanolin and water. During each trial condition, the participants exercised on a stationary bicycle at 80% maximal effort until they were too tired to continue. The research team measured the volunteers' time-to-exhaustion in both conditions and found the men were able to exercise for an average of about two minutes longer when using the deep heat cream.

"Application of deep heat [cream] may help elite athletes, recreational and/or sports enthusiasts to improve their aerobic performance," said Govindasamy Balasekaran, PhD, first author of the study. "More studies are needed to explore the benefits of application of deep heat on exercise performance for both [sexes] and analyze the physiological mechanisms behind the improvement."


NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: To schedule an interview with a member of the research team, or request the abstract, "The effects of using deep heat on enhancing aerobic performance," please contact the APS Communications Office or call 301.634.7314. Find more research highlights in the APS Newsroom.

About Experimental Biology 2021

Experimental Biology is the annual meeting of five societies that explores the latest research in physiology, anatomy, biochemistry and molecular biology, investigative pathology and pharmacology. With a mission to share the newest scientific concepts and research findings shaping clinical advances, the meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity for global exchange among scientists who represent dozens of scientific areas, from laboratory to translational to clinical research.

About the American Physiological Society

Physiology is a broad area of scientific inquiry that focuses on how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function in health and disease. The American Physiological Society connects a global, multidisciplinary community of more than 10,000 biomedical scientists and educators as part of its mission to advance scientific discovery, understand life and improve health. The Society drives collaboration and spotlights scientific discoveries through its 16 scholarly journals and programming that support researchers and educators in their work.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.