Health Benefits of a Hot Tub or Swim Spa
How can a hot tub help with different disabilities and illnesses?
In this day and age taking time to look after yourself is not always a priority, according to the World Health Organisation (1948) good health is not simply viewed as a lack of illness but as a state of total mental and physical well-being. For some their focus falls onto either one or the other. With a hot tub you can look after your body and your mind, focusing on healing the body with hydrotherapy and healing the mind with time to relax and reconnect with family.
Taking a bath in hot water is one of the oldest treatments known to man, there is evidence that the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians all used hydrotherapy to treat a multitude of ailments including gout, rheumatism, liver disease and many others. They also believed that by cleansing the body you were also cleansing the soul, ultimately immersion in water has been proven time and time again to be beneficial to our bodies as a whole.
For some a hot tub or spa is an item of luxury, possibly viewed as frivolous but according to many medical journals a hot tub could have a wonderful effect on your health and could potentially offer relief for many common ailments including stress, arthritis, back issues and injuries.
According to the Arthritis Foundation warm water therapy is a wonderful way to ease pain and reduce inflammation from ailments such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and other muscular problems. A hot tub will increase your circulation which takes nutrient rich blood around your body but also removes toxins such as Lactic acid. Lactic acid build ups occur whilst you sleep and many believe causes Rheumatoid arthritis to be worse first thing in the morning (McEvoy, 2011).
Full immersion in warm water instantly reduces the gravitational pressure on joints giving immediate relief which will help to slowly reduce any inflammations and swellings (Arthritis Foundation 2016). The Arthritis Foundation suggest the full benefits will be felt after about 20 mins and that regular water aerobics can dramatically impact the effects of the conditions overall, potentially reducing pain levels by 40% when used up to 3 times a week (Arthritis Foundations, 2016). A hot tub or spa can be a great place to do some simple hydrotherapy and in your own time. Whilst sitting you could gently kick or rotate your legs, slowly bend the knees and flex your toes, you could use light water weights to work out your arms. The resistance created by the water will gently work your muscles and improve their strength without over exertion therefore reducing any strains or injuries.
Fibromyalgia is a terrible disease that can leave people in constant and sometimes uncontrollable pain, although very little research has taken place with regards to hot tubs and fibromyalgia many people who suffer sing the praises of their hot tubs and how it has transformed their lives (Healthboards.com).
Anderson et al (2002, p61) believes that the warmth of a hot tub is an excellent pain reliever which is greatly beneficial for those who have muscular or sports injuries. Because you can position yourself so the hydrotherapy jets can directly massage an area, it is a wonderful way to gently treat an injury that requires an increase in blood flow and heat to relax.
The position of the jets in many hot tub seats are often specifically placed according to acupressure points on the body, by stimulating these exact spots it can help to release tension all over the body because as one muscle relaxes so does the one next to it, so even though parts of the body are not being massaged by the jets they will still release their tension and relax.
Hot tubs are not just beneficial for those who have muscular skeletal problems they have also shown to benefit those with diabetes, insomnia, stress and high blood pressure. As previously mentioned hot tubs will increase nutrient rich blood flow which has been proven to reduce blood glucose levels (Health Guides). However Diabetics should be aware that due to nerve issues they must be very careful with regards to the temperature in order to protect themselves against burns. The heat will also have an impact on the heart therefore anyone with heart concerns should consult with a doctor before using a hot tub.
Insomnia is an awful ailment that many people struggle with, according to Health.com a 20 minute soak in hot water will help you fall asleep. It works by raising your body temperature then you’re your body temperature drops it makes your body sleepy and ready for bed, they recommend doing this about 2 hours before you wish to sleep so that your body has enough time to drop its temperature and prepare for sleep mode.
Another great reason to have your own hot tub is the help it can be when you have the dreaded common cold, every year without fail for at least a week or two we all spend time with a cold. There are a few benefits of owning a hot tub, you can use it to clear your sinuses, simply sit in your tub with some aromatherapy salts or place some balm just under your nose. It will help you sweat the cold out and as previously mentioned help you sleep so you get the best possible rest.
There is research to suggest that children with Autism benefit greatly from spending time in a hot tub as it raises their body temperature, many parents have discovered a correlation between a change in their child’s behaviour and the onset of a temperature (Rob Ring PhD). Parents have also mentioned that a hot tub with their LED lights and water features can be a relaxing and enjoyable place for their child to be, some believe that is has helped decrease moments of acting out and tantrums (Hollander, 2014).
Sometimes a hot tub is not enough space to conduct serious physiotherapy in these circumstances a swim spa maybe the best alternative, they offer a larger space but are not as big as pools so space shouldn’t be an issue. A swim spa such as the Catalina’s still include hydrotherapy jets but they will also allow you to swim for hours using their amazing jet and harness systems which create a resistant stream for you to swim against. The harness can be used with assistance to support those who cannot support themselves and therefore is great for water based physiotherapy. Please note that it may be possible to claim back the VAT if the purchase is being made by or on behalf of someone with a disability (Gov.co.uk 2016)
Spending 30 minutes in a hot tub will help your mind and body relax, you can enjoy with family, friends or on your own. Owning a hot tub will increase your relaxation and family time, ultimately allowing yourself to sit back and unwind. This can be beneficial for all family members and relationships. A hot tub at your home is a great way to enjoy these benefits in your own time, no ques, and no time constraints and if you are feeling particularly bad and cannot drive you can simply go and enjoy instant relief.
Hot tubs and spas can be used all year round, some even believe they are best during the winter as they allow you to enjoy your garden whilst staying lovely and warm. Mmm toasty.
If you would like to test these theories then it is always possible to hire a hot tub so that you can experience them for yourself. Alternatively if you feel you would benefit from owing your own hot tub then please feel free to contact us with any questions
Please remember to consult with your doctor before using a hot tub if you have any contraindications and always stay hydrated.
Anderson, M.K., Hall, S.J., Hitchings, C. and Anderson, M. (2002) Fundamentals of sports injury management. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins