Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date



Background: No robust trials including imaging or biomarkers have been performed to evaluate the possible stress of hanging motionless in a harness (harness suspension stress -HSS). Untoward effects are from case reports and sparsely documented data, leaving the topic open to debate. No cause-effect relationship has been established, therefore providing no guide to diagnostic, prognostic, or therapeutic evaluation or treatment for possible detrimental effects of HSS. Expert opinion provides the majority of the literature concerning HSS. Many of the effects of HSS have been correlated to other syndromes or causes, but none have been excluded, and none have been established. Methods: Human biomarkers from blood, fitness levels, subjective discomfort levels, and sonographic measurements were obtained to help gain a better understanding of the effects of hanging motionless in a full body harness for thirty minutes by both front and dorsal points of attachment. Results: Full body harnesses are not well tolerated. Hanging in a harness for extended periods leads to pain, discomfort, and anxiety. No changes in blood laboratory data, fitness level, or gender, accounts for potential bradycardic events or vasovagal syncope. Conclusions: Industrial full body harnesses designs appear to be generally poor and cause enough discomfort to augment human homeostasis in some subjects.We find no evidence to support more than standard recommendations for Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines. Further research is needed to help guide understanding of what may or may not constitute a credible etiology during HSS, but also to guide medical response, if any is indicated.


Harness Suspension Stress Hang Syndrome Performance Biomarkers HSS

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education, Sports and Exercise Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Kravitz, Len

Second Committee Member

Attaway, Stephen

Third Committee Member

Zuhl, Micah