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The Physiology of Bed RestProlonged rest in bed has been utilized by physicians and other health-care workers to immobilize and confine patients for rehabilitation and restoration of health since time immemorial. The sitting or horizontal position is sought by the body to relieve the strain of the upright or vertical postures, for example during syncopal situations, bone fractures, muscle injuries, fatigue, and probably also to reduce energy expenditure. Most health-care personnel are aware that adaptive responses occurring during bed rest proceed concomitantly with the healing process; signs and symptoms associated with the former should be differentiated from those of the latter. Not all illnesses and infirmities benefit from prolonged bed rest. Considerations in prescribing bed rest for patients-including duration, body position, mode and duration of exercise, light-dark cycles, temperature, and humidity-have not been investigated adequately. More recently, adaptive physiological responses have been measured in normal, healthy subjects in the horizontal or slightly head-down postures during prolonged bed rest as analogs for the adaptive responses of astronauts exposed to the microgravity environment of outer and bed-rest research.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Fortney, Suzanne M.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Schneider, Victor S.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Greenleaf, John E.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: Handbook of Physiology. Section 4: Environmental Physiology. 3: The Gravitational Environment
Volume: 2
Issue: Chapter 39
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 199-26-11-01
PROJECT: RTOP 199-18-12-07
PROJECT: RTOP 199-14-11-13
Distribution Limits
No Preview Available