Hot Tub Benefits: Hot tub hydrotherapy – relaxation and healthy lifestyle – the natural way
Most of us think about hot tubs and spas for their relaxation benefits. Yet they offer so much more than that. Soaking in warm circulating water isn’t new and harkens back to the days of the ancient Greeks, Egyptians and beyond. The hydrotherapeutic benefits of hot tubs and spas have stood the test of time and remain relevant today. They are even more perfectly geared towards our busy and often “out of balance” lifestyles. Utilizing three key properties of hydrotherapy, regular hot tub and spa “soaking” can help us bring balance back into our lives:heat, buoyancy and massage.
Heat: The heat properties of a hot tub dilate the body’s blood vessels allowing for improved and increased circulation. With increased circulation comes a detoxification effect; the body is better able to process and rid itself of toxins that have built up over time. When this happens, bodies work more efficiently and we feel better! People looking for relief from a variety of conditions such as stress, headaches, sleeping concerns, complications from musculoskeletal impediments, chronic pain and fatigue, arthritis, diabetes and other health issues will find that soaking in a hot tub or spa will bring relief and release from symptoms due to this property
Buoyancy: The power of a liquid to keep something afloat is called “buoyancy”. Step into a hot tub and – joila! – your body weighs 90% less due to water’s buoyant nature. Immediately, you’ll feel your muscles relaxing as stress and pain drift away with each glorious wave of warm water. This powerful property is the perfect answer for people suffering from musculoskeletal injuries, arthritis and conditions such as chronic pain and fatigue. Regular “soaking” can aid you in managing and sometimes even speeding up the healing process. Always check first with your physician to make sure that soaking and exercising in a hot tub is right for you.
Massage: If you’ve ever had a therapeutic massage you know how great it feels during and afterwards. It’s a combination of a physical meditation, mental and physical relaxation and detoxification all rolled up into one. A hot tub incorporates the principles of a massage through strategically placed water ports or jets that propel water to various parts of the body mimicking a massage-like action. If you have any areas of tightness and tension, rest assured that a good hot tub soak will melt away the kinks. As a result, you’ll feel more flexible, your muscles are relaxed and refreshed. Most hot tubs and spas are designed to allow you to customize the angles and direction of the jets.
If you have problems with:
Arthritis – The swirling warmth of a hot tub increases circulation helping to relieve the aches and pains associated with arthritis. As well, the buoyant nature of a hot tub takes the stress off of joints and making movement easier. The massaging water from the jets can help relax the pain trigger points providing welcomed relief. A hot tub is a great answer to proactively managing the symptoms of arthritis. You doctor can provide you with guidelines to optimize your therapeutic soaking experience.
Sleep – Soaking in a hot tub regularly before you head off to bed helps relax the body so that you can fall asleep easier and sleep more soundly through the night. The warmth of the water raises the body’s internal temperature; upon leaving the tub, body temperature drops and the body moves into a “quieter state” making falling sleep easier and improving sleep quality.
Stress – A hot tub provides a great way to let go of the stresses of the day. Upon slipping into your spa you’ll find the warmth and massaging waters take over and give you a way to create “peace of mind”. Regularly soaking is an effective way to manage the stresses of daily life and contributes to the creation of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
Musculoskeletal injuries & impediments – The hydrotherapeutic properties of a hot tub provide great relief and can assist in the healing process when muscles and joints are sore or injured. Sore muscles and joints will feel better after a good soak due to increased circulation. The warmth and circulating waters will help injured muscles will relax and lengthen, relieving associated pain. The buoyant nature of the warm water in a spa takes the stress off joints giving them a well-deserved break. Remember – when you have a musculoskeletal injury or condition it is very important that you first check with your doctor before using a hot tub.
Chronic pain & fatigue – The healing, spa-like qualities of a hot tub can be an effective answer to people suffering from issues of chronic pain and fatigue. The qualities of warm, massage and buoyancy help your body relax. Trigger points of pain are relaxed allowing for the body to relax and the body’s circulation to improve. This can vital to relieving symptoms and improving the body’s restorative abilities Again, check with your doctor before using a hot tub – ask for specific guidelines for your particular condition.
Other conditions such as depression, diabetes and multiple sclerosis can also find relief and healing from the use of a hot tub. A hot tub’s benefits are multiple and it is well documented that regular soaking can have far-reaching, positive impacts on your ability to live a happy, healthy life.
Hot tubs aren’t just for soaking; you can exercise in a hot tub! The buoyant property of the water takes out the “gravity” issue and you can workout without the stress on joints that you might experience with “land” exercise. Water exercise is gentle on the joints; the warm water raises body core temp and makes muscles and joints more pliable. Exercising in the warm water provides greater joint range of motion and the resistance created by moving through water creates a great venue to build muscle strength.
Much of the exercises you can perform in a pool can also be done in a hot tub: cardio and muscular strength and endurance. As always, check first with your healthcare provider for guidance on exercising in your hot tub. First, make sure exercising in a hot tub is right for you!
There are a number of safety guidelines all hot tub owners need to consider and follow:
Supervision – You may choose to share this responsibility in your home with your hot tub. All persons in your household who will be handling your hot tube operation and maintenance need to be fully familiar with the safety aspects. This includes being able to communicate to all users the safe use and operation. Don’t adjust any of the equipment such as pumps and heaters while in the tub. You don’t want to risk electrical shock.
As a family, come up with your “house rules” and make sure all are familiar with these rules. So, decide and agree on your house rules and be consistent in enforcing them. It is always a good idea for someone in your family to be trained in artificial resuscitation and/or is CPR certified.
Children – If you have young children or grandchildren, make sure they understand and are properly supervised. Check with your pediatrician first as to the appropriate age for children using hot tubs. Younger, smaller bodies heat up more quickly in hot water. Don’t forget, children learn by example. Make sure children understand that jumping and diving in the hot tub is a “no-no”.
Soaking Safely – Hot tubs provide a simple and wonderful way to melt away the cares of your world and make everything okay. And with any leisure product, with hot tub use comes certain risks. It is important as a hot tub user and owner to be aware of these risks. First and foremost, anyone with a health condition (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, pregnant women) should have clearance by a health care provider before “tubbing” it.
Before entering, make sure that the hot tub is clean and clear. If you notice any cloudiness or a strong chlorine smell, then the water needs treatment. Take care of that first and then enter the tub. If you have any skin or other infectious conditions especially it is best to avoid soaking until the condition is cleared. It is highly recommended that you shower before soaking to rinse off skin bacteria, deodorant, body lotions and other creams and such. This will ensure that the filter works properly.
As wonderful and relaxing the hot tub is, don’t overdo it. Soaking too long or in water that is too hot can be dangerous. 15 minutes is the recommended soaking “limit” at 104 degrees. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, lightheaded or faint it is best to get out you’ve most likely soaked to long. Cool down and shower before re-entering the hot tub. If the water temperature is lower (below 100 degrees or closer to regular body temperature), then you’ll be safe soaking for longer periods of time. It’s always a good idea to keep a good idea on the thermometer.
Make sure you get in and out of the tub carefully. Watch for slippery surfaces. It is best not to soak in your hot tub by yourself and be careful using alcohol or certain drugs while soaking. It can be a dangerous combination and cause sleepiness, drowsiness, and nausea – even raise or lower blood pressure. If you are on prescription drugs, check with your healthcare provider first before using a hot tub. Also make sure you wait after eating a heavy meal before soaking.
Safe Entertaining – All of the above applies to entertaining friends and other guests. Use your best judgment and make sure all are aware and follow your “family rules”. As a hot tub owner, you have the ultimate responsibility for user safety. Employing some simple additional guidelines will keep it much easier for you to avoid any potential problems or unfortunate situations:
- If you are entertaining at night, make sure you provide adequate lighting
- Don’t use or allow the use of glass around your hot tub
- Don’t allow or combine alcohol or drug use with hot tub soaking
- Make sure people don’t run around on wet surfaces or dive/jump in the hot tub
- Supervise use, especially children – never let a child alone near the hot tub. If small children are in your house, make sure all doors leading to your tub are closed so that toddlers can’t get outdoors. Drowning happens very quickly.
- Enclosing your hot tub is another good feature to have and will provide extra, added safety.