A hot tub or spa is much more than a luxury accessory for your home. According to many studies conducted in different countries, the use of hot tubs has a lot of benefits, not only physical but mental.
The word ‘spa’ is an acronym for the Latin word ‘Salus per aquam,’ which literally means ‘water health.’ In addition, ancient cultures (including Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans) regularly used spas as a therapeutic method and of relaxing.
Although the usability of spas and hot tubs has changed a lot from those times when people were immersed in hot springs until today, where we find products with a multitude of jets and functionalities, the reasons why we continue using them remain the same.
Hot tubs and whirlpools affect three fundamental principles that we will see below point by point and through a simple guide.
Everyone knows that a hot tub works with hot water (its name says it already). What not everyone knows are the great benefits that this product gives to the human body when we spend a few minutes inside it.
When the body absorbs heat from the water, it causes several physiological changes. First, since the body warms up, blood flow increases. The heating of the blood causes the blood vessels to dilate. Subsequently, the blood pressure is reduced (as a general rule in just 20 minutes). In addition, hot water also causes relaxation of the muscles since the heat of the water penetrates and soothes reducing pain and discomfort.
Unlike common bathtubs, a spa can maintain the hot water temperature indefinitely and fully controlled thanks to the in-line heater. This causes that while we bathe in a hot tub, the blood does not circulate through the body at its usual temperature, but is found several degrees above, constituting in itself a very positive heat therapy for the human body.
On the other hand, the central nervous system is numb, since our body instinctively focuses its attention on heat gain, causing instant relief of general pains.
The human being bears a great amount of weight in the joints. When we are inside a hot tub, the natural buoyancy of the water reduces our weight by approximately 90%, and this obviously reduces the tension in the joints giving them a pleasant rest. The pressure of all joints and muscles is reduced while we relax.
Consider, for example, the feet and ankles, which are responsible for supporting almost all the weight of our body every day and at all hours. Other joints are constantly moving, such as knees, elbows, and wrists. As if all this were not enough, sooner or later we all end up suffering some kind of back pain.
Anyone who has been in a spa or hot tub is familiar with the relaxing effect that jets cause on the body, as well as its undeniable benefits. The water comes out strongly through the pumps and jets (usually one or several water pumps and in some cases an air pump) and the power of it can be controlled depending on whether we want a strong and intense massage or a more delicate and soft one.
The outdoor hot tubs are equipped with nozzles (jets) of different sizes, pressure, configuration, and quantity, and all of them have been designed to massage the different parts of the body. The smaller groups of jets are in charge of favoring the muscles that we have around the neck; many other jets focus on key points of the back; the larger jets are in charge of sending the water with power from the bottom to top making the circuit (of jets) sit at several important points of the spine.
We will also find tiny jets that massage the wrist area while others will aim at the calves, feet or arms. Like a trained massage therapist, spa jets can relieve painful muscles anytime we need it and that is exactly the function by which the hot tubs were designed.
Hot Tubs: Medical Benefits
Using our spa regularly ends up causing a pleasant effect very beneficial for our body, with special emphasis on people with back pain, arthritis, heart problems and with the reconciliation of sleep. Below are some common ailments and sources that reference how hot tubs and spas can help treat them.
1.- Back Pain
“This clinical trial shows a remarkable improvement in the short term and a moderate improvement in the long term against chronic low back pain, using the spa as a single therapy. The people who participated in this study experienced a greater increase in flexibility, a reduction in the duration of pain and managed to decrease the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs in a much more effective way than another group of individuals who received no treatment with spa. “Source: British Rheumatology Magazine, 1994.
“Those patients with arthritis symptoms that react well to heat have discovered the multiple benefits that this type of therapy can offer them.” Source: Arthritis Foundation: Arthritis – Spas and hot water exercises.
“As a general rule, exercise can improve coordination, a person’s resistance and the ability to perform daily tasks, and can lead to a greater sense of self-esteem and self-realization. Similarly, regular hot tub sessions help keep joints moving, restore and preserve individual strength and flexibility, and also protect joints from further damage.”
“A hot tub provides the heat, massage, and buoyancy necessary for the well-being of arthritis sufferers. Water buoyancy decreases stress on joints and stimulates movement. Water exercises can even act as resistance to help build muscle strength. ” Source: Arthritis Foundation: Spas, swimming pools, and arthritis.
3.- Cardiovascular Health
“Immersing yourself in a spa simulates exercise and increases heart rate without intensifying blood pressure. In fact, the participants in this study who used the hot tub as a relaxation method noticed a decrease in their blood pressure, while the participants who did exercise on bicycles experienced an increase in it. Regular use of spas brings many of the benefits of physical exercise but with less stress for the heart. ” Source: Mayo Clinic: Benefits of the spa for heart patients, Mayo Clinic.
4.- Sleep Improvements
“Several studies suggest that immersion in hot water before retiring to bed can facilitate the transition to deeper sleep.” Source: National Sleep Foundation.
“Your body is relieved and enters a state of deep and relaxed sleep with a decrease in body temperature after going to bed. Taking a soak in hot water about 90 minutes before going to bed causes a reduction in temperature that will induce sleep more easily.” Source: Professional Sleep Magazine.
Try it for yourself and tell us about your experience!