Do you know what I dream of during the cold winter months? Hot cocoa with marshmallow bits, a toasty fireplace, and yes, a delicious hot bath. The latter isn’t just a simple pampering ritual though. Check out these proven hot tub benefits.
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
Cultures as diverse and illustrious as Roman Britain, ancient Egypt, Japan, and many others have been aware of the healing properties of water. Bathing in hot springs was and always will be an effective way to not only soothe away the pressures of the day, but also to treat joint and muscle pain, circulatory issues, and many other ailments.
These days, you don’t have to find a hot spring to enjoy the health benefits hydrotherapy offers. With a hot tub — whether permanently installed in the bathroom, garden, summer house, or in portable, inflatable form — you can enjoy hot spring health benefits from the comfort of your own home.
5 Major Benefits of Hot Tubs
1. Effective stress relief
Stress is as much a part of modern living as breathing. It’s our natural reaction to psychological and environmental stimuli that bombard us minute by minute. Everybody experiences stress and while a little bit of stress is good for the body, too much brings imbalance and causes harm.
Hydrotherapy, or a soak in warm water in this case, is an excellent way of balancing the nervous system. Remember the luxurious feeling of being immersed in a tub of warm bubbling scented water? This immersion releases dopamine into the body. Dopamine is a “pleasure” hormone that our nervous system releases for reward-motivated behavior.
The American Heart Association recommends 15 to 20 minutes of quiet and peaceful “me” time to help combat stress. What better way to do it than in your hot tub listening to your favorite music?
In addition, for people who are under stress from physical pains brought on by old age or degenerative diseases such as arthritis, pain relief from a hot tub session automatically helps in relieving stress.
Many hot tubs also offer options such as bubble streams and aromatherapy that doubly enhance your relaxation experience.
2. Natural pain relief
Heat and hydrotherapy work well together to relieve not just low level aches and pains, but also the pain caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain issues. Research has shown that warm water therapy is one of the best ways to manage the pain from these diseases.
“The research shows our ancestors got it right. It makes you feel better. It makes the joints looser. It reduces pain and it seems to have a somewhat prolonged effect that goes beyond the period of immersion,” says Bruce E. Becker, MD, Director of the National Aquatics & Sports Medicine Institute at Washington State University.
According to the doctor, a good soak of no more than 20 minutes is beneficial for patients.
3. A perfect way to work out
Apart from warm water therapy, a hot tub also has the added benefit of relieving a person’s weight due to one’s resulting buoyancy in the water. For those who have difficulties with weight-bearing exercises, this is a great advantage. Exercises that would be impossible, difficult, or painful in land can be done more easily in water.
The resistance and natural buoyancy offered by a large body of water, combined with the pain relieving properties of heat make hot tubs an ideal way to do strength-enhancing workouts.
Here are some examples of hydrotherapy exercises. The exercises in the first half of the video can be done in the limited confines of a tub. (There are actually videos of exercises done in actual tubs but they are universally unwatchable…)
4. Improved heart health
A study was conducted on patients with previous histories of chronic heart failure. They were subjected to warm-water bathing and low-temperature sauna bathing at 60 degrees C for 15 minutes on a regular schedule. The effect was improved cardiac function. Other studies yielded supporting evidences.
If you have a heart condition and planning to try out new forms of therapies like warm water, make sure to check with your physician first just to be on the safe side.
5. Improved circulation
Just as we learned in elementay science, cold water results in contractions while warm water causes dilation. Warm water opens blood vessels and capillaries allowing oxygenated blood to flow more freely around the body.
Improved circulation means more blood is brought to our muscles, toxins and lactic acid are flushed out, and organs are revitalized such as the brain, for better focus.
Hot Tub Benefits Infographic
There’s a dozen more health benefits (and tax breaks, actually!) that we haven’t explored yet so I’ll just leave you with this great infographic.
Hot tubs are also a social experience – think grown up pool party. Invite your friends round, and make a guilt-free night of it – it’s rare to find a pleasure that is also good for you, so when one comes along – and hot tubs definitely fit the bill – you should make the most of it.