Relative importance of different surface regions for thermal comfort in humans

Mayumi Nakamura*, Tamae Yoda, Larry I. Crawshaw, Momoko Kasuga, Yuki Uchida, Ken Tokizawa, Kei Nagashima, Kazuyuki Kanosue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


In a previous study, we investigated the contribution of the surface of the face, chest, abdomen, and thigh to thermal comfort by applying local temperature stimulation during whole-body exposure to mild heat or cold. In hot conditions, humans prefer a cool face, and in cold they prefer a warm abdomen. In this study, we extended investigation of regional differences in thermal comfort to the neck, hand, soles, abdomen (Experiment 1), the upper and lower back, upper arm, and abdomen (Experiment 2). The methodology was similar to that used in the previous study. To compare the results of each experiment, we utilized the abdomen as the reference area in these experiments. Thermal comfort feelings were not particularly strong for the limbs and extremities, in spite of the fact that changes in skin temperature induced by local temperature stimulation of the limbs and extremities were always larger than changes that were induced in the more proximal body parts. For the trunk areas, a significant difference in thermal comfort was not observed among the abdomen, and upper and lower back. An exception involved local cooling during whole-body mild cold exposure, wherein the most dominant preference was for a warmer temperature of the abdomen. As for the neck and abdomen, clear differences were observed during local cooling, while no significant difference was observed during local warming. We combined the results for the current and the previous study, and characterized regional differences in thermal comfort and thermal preference for the whole-body surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-76
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan


  • Behavioral thermoregulation
  • Cold exposure
  • Heat exposure
  • Temperature sensation
  • Thermal comfort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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