Hot Tub Health Benefits
With a lot of buzz going around about hot tubs and their capability of providing health benefits to the human body, we wonder, how many people out there are actually aware of the relationship between hot tubs and hydrotherapy?
Remember, health claims are a slippery slope and should not be taken lightly. While the health benefits of hot tub ownership are well documented, always be aware of medical claims made by any manufacturer or local dealer who is selling you a hot tub or a swim spa.
Always talk with your doctor first about the advantages and risk of hot tubbing based on your unique medical history. Below we have highlighted a sampling of active studies regarding warm water therapy.
History of Hydrotherapy
Let’s begin with going back in time when hydrotherapy was called hydropathy. During the Ancient Greece period, Hippocrates used hydropathy as a treatment. The people of Ancient Greece used natural hot springs as a source of healing many ailments. Slowly gaining recognition for its benefits, hydrotherapy then emerged in other cultures like the ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Roman eras.The Egyptians are known to use hot, sizzling rocks in water as a mode of relaxation and hydrotherapy to cure pain, while Roman soldiers used hot wells to treat their wounds after war. During the 1800s, hydrotherapy became popular in the United States and slowly gained the trust of practitioners as well as common people. Today, the potential of hydrotherapy has become so widespread that it is even used to treat dogs, also known as canine hydrotherapy.
What is Hot Tub Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is the art of combining water, air, and heat to increase physical and mental well-being. It uses the properties of water to heal body aches, provide mental peace, and enhance the recovery of physical ailments. These concepts, when combined with the boon of technology, has resulted in the use of hot tubs for therapy.
Today, hot tubs are recommended by many physicians for daily relaxation, therapy, the betterment of health, and overall well-being. Hot tubs are now used for the recovery of serious injuries, muscle sprains, improving body activity, and building muscle strength. There are many ways in which hot tubs, Jacuzzis, and pool spas are used as a means of hydrotherapy, most of which have been explained below.
Benefits of Hot Tub Hydrotherapy
The North American Journal of Medical Sciences has done a study  where the therapeutic benefits of hydrotherapy in a hot tub were researched. It concluded that hot tub hydrotherapy can relieve muscle stress by focusing on pain points ranging from the strained muscles of the neck to the bottoms of the feet. This goes on to show that hot tubs can provide the benefits of hydrotherapy from the comfort of your own home. Some therapeutic benefits include:
Relief from Muscle Pain and Muscle Tension
Almost all of us have fond childhood memories of relaxing in a pool, floating, and feeling weightless. The same concept is applied in hot tubs to relieve muscle tension in the limbs and aid in the reduction of muscle pain and muscle soreness. The science behind this is the release of endorphin’s in the body which happens when the muscles are relaxed in the warmth of a hot tub. Endorphins are natural pain killers in the body that relieve pain and improve mood, thereby improving blood circulation which in turn ensures proper absorption of nutrients and oxygen by the muscles. This process removes accumulated lactic acid from sore muscles after an intense workout.
Boosting the Immune System
Our body’s immunity depends on the lymphatic system which is controlled by white blood cells. In the event of an illness, white blood cells fail to perform this mechanism thus leading to pain and stress. Hot tub hydrotherapy can help in stimulating white blood cells to carry lymphatic fluid throughout the body in order to get rid of infections from the blood. This thereby may increase immunity towards illnesses and helps in speedy recovery from ailments like cold and flu.
Managing Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is symbolized by pain, inflammation, joint stiffness, and reduced mobility. The use of hot tubs can minimize these symptoms by the use of controlled temperature and pressure of water. Water buoyancy can strengthen muscle joints to bear weight. The warmth of the water may reduce swelling by increasing body temperature thereby dilating the blood vessels and increasing blood circulation. This process may result in the reduction of pain and swelling in the muscles and joints.
Reduction of Blood Sugar Levels
Almost 20 years ago, a study  revealed that regular soaking in hot tubs reduced glucose levels in some diabetic patients. A scientific explanation for this is that a hot tub soak can increase body temperatures thereby enabling more blood circulation by the dilation of blood vessels and increasing nutrients to reach muscles. The study further concluded that those who immerse themselves in a hot tub for 30 minutes every day have sugar levels reduced by 13%.
Relief from Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a condition of pain in the muscles leading to lethargy, fatigue and memory issues. The significance of increased blood circulation after soaking in a hot tub may be related to pain relief from fibromyalgia. When blood flow increases, the muscles in our body tend to relax and loosen up. This can help in reducing pain and increasing mobility.
Reduction in Stress and Anxiety
The feeling of weightlessness while relaxing in a hot tub, as stated above, releases endorphins, which are better known as mood elevators. Endorphins relieve the mind from stress and anxiety. Relaxing in a hot tub, whether alone or with family and friends, may have a significant impact on one’s mood and energy through elevated levels of endorphins. Even ten minutes of soaking in hot water can help increase pulse and finger temperature thereby increasing the feeling of well-being and decreasing anxiety.
Better Sleep Quality
Another effect of increased body temperature after a good soak in a hot tub is the relaxation of the mind and body. After a nice dip in a hot tub, the body’s temperature drops gradually, thus putting the brain into a pre-sleep mode. This forces the brain to give sleep signals to the body thereby leading to a sound sleep. The feeling of drowsiness after a hot tub session is the body’s way of putting itself to rest. This process improves sleep quality and leads to a better mood, reduced stress, and reduction in anxiety.
Lower Back Pain
A lot of factors like muscle injury, strained ligaments, and swelling in the spine can cause pain in the lower back. Soaking in a hot tub gives the lower back muscles a chance to relax and release stress. The warmth of the water acts against the force of gravity which is causing compression of joints and ligaments. This may lead to healing of inflammation of muscles and joints thereby reducing back pain. The heat from the water in a hot tub stimulates blood flow thereby allowing healing nutrients to reach the affected area of the low back. A good soak in the hot tub may inhibit pain messages from being sent to the brain.
A good work out session can sometimes lead to muscle injury thereby causing pain and stress. It is best to soak in a hot tub before working out as well as post work out. This ensures preparing the muscles and joints for stress and loosening up of the tension in the muscles thereby reducing the risk of muscle injury. Muscles undergo a state of rehabilitation due to the increase in blood flow caused by the rise of body temperature while soaking in a hot tub. All these effects bring about good sleep, reduced muscle stress, curing of damaged muscles and healing of strained joints.
Better Heart Function
The lack of proper exercise and activity can lead to heart problems ranging from heart blocks to heart attacks. The increased occurrence of heartburn is a signal that your heart needs attention. In such circumstances, a heavy workout may seem impossible. In some cases, soaking in a hot tub may give the heart a cardiovascular workout leading to increase cardiac volume. The moments spent in the warmth of a hot tub with the body immersed up to the neck will likely the heart a good session of strong activity.
Aids in Respiratory Issues
With growing pollution and increase of allergens in the air, our body’s respiratory functions often experience stress thereby affecting the activity of our lungs. Soaking in a hot tub may bring relief to the muscles in the lungs thereby reducing its stress. A few drops of eucalyptus oil in the hot tub will further open up the respiratory system leading to the purification of the lungs. The steam from the hot tub will likely help in soothing sore throat, reducing congestion and curing sinus problems.
Revitalizing The Skin
A combination of external environmental factors and internal health issues can adversely affect the skin causing troubles like cystic acne and dry skin. Spending time in a hot tub may help relieve much of the internal factors like stress and anxiety, thus leading to beautiful skin. Adding sea salt to the hot tub can regenerate damaged skin cells and stimulate skin functions. The use of sponges helps remove dead skin cells and increases blood circulation, thereby imparting a glow to the skin.
Detoxification of the Body
A long vacation with loads of unhealthy eating or a long day at work can lead to the build-up of toxins in the body. Soaking in a hot tub releases toxins from the body through sweating. Ideally, the hot tub should be set at a temperature between 100 to 104°F. As a perfect cure to a hangover, soaking in a hot tub can help the body eliminate impurities and toxins by flushing them out through the skin. This, in turn, purifies the blood and reduces the occurrence of skin issues. Additionally, hot tub exercises have slowly gained popularity amongst weight watchers. Hot tubs are now gaining the trust of health experts who recommend a good soak to patients suffering from not just physical ailments but also mental stress.
Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body
Hot-Tub Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus