Hot tubs not only provide a relaxing environment but also have a number of health benefits. In the ancient times, Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used hot water hydrotherapy for various purposes. Hydrotherapy helps in relaxing muscles and also helps with decreasing stress levels. Read more to find the best hot tubs for your family.
Hot Tub Health Benefits
Here is a close look at some of the major health benefits of hot tubs.
Hot Tub for Sore Muscles
One of the biggest benefits of hot tub is that it is of great help in relieving sore muscles and reducing stress levels through powerful jets and warm water. Anyone who has ever experienced spending a few minutes in a hot tub knows this. When you sit in a hot tub, water pressure, buoyancy and heat work together to reduce levels of stress and muscle tension.
Heat plays a major role in providing relief to sore muscles. Spending a few minutes in the hot tub can significantly reduce muscle pain as your body will immediately start warming up when you enter a hot tub. This increases the internal temperature that helps in enhancing blood flow which warms up your body and dilates blood vessels which in turn lowers blood pressure and enhances the blood flow to muscle areas where it is most needed.
Buoyancy helps by providing a little help to sore muscles as there is much less stress on your muscles when you’re sitting in a hot tub due to the buoyancy of water. This is the reason that even a 20 min session in a hot tub provides significant relief from muscle soreness.
The water pressure from the jets in the hot tub helps in relieving stress and relaxing muscles as the air bubbles and jet streams provide a therapeutic massage. Jets in the hot tub can focus on particular muscle areas and the pressure in the jets helps in relieving the knots in the muscles.
Hot Tub Therapy for Back Pain
It is estimated that more than $50 billion are spent each year by Americans on treatments for back pain. It is also the most common cause of disability claims and missed workdays. A number of things such as an acute injury, osteoporosis, a bulging disc and other such things can lead to back pain. For treatment of back pain, doctors recommend ultrasound, medications as well as physical therapy.
Cold and heat therapy remain the two most vital treatments for back pain among other things. While heating pads are effective, a hot tub provides a more effective way to apply heat to a big area of the body. The warm water in the hot tub relaxes the surrounding muscles and helps in reducing muscle spasms. Hot water also raised the internal body temperature which dilates the blood vessels and that helps in promoting healing in the injured tissue.
A few research studies have also reported that patients treated with spa therapy showed much more improvement in terms of pain reduction and mobility as compared to people who were treated with medication only.
Lower Blood Pressure
The North American Sports Medicine Institute conducted a study to find out the association between hot water therapy and blood pressure. The study concluded that it may help in improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. It is also acknowledged that a short 10 min stay in a hot tub can help in temporarily lowering blood pressure but one should use hot water therapy with caution.
People who are experiencing severe and quick rise in blood pressure should not use are a hot tub or spa to lower their blood pressure. Also, they should not use cold water and hot tubs alternatively as it may increase their blood pressure. Hot tubs help in lowering blood pressure by dilating blood vessels in a process known as vasodilatation.
Relaxation and Sleep Aid
Hot tubs are great for helping you fall asleep. Hot water relaxes muscles and provides relief from stress. Many people also use hot tub as an aid to fall asleep. A research study conducted in 1997 concluded that the body temperature naturally dips during night and it starts dipping around two hours before you go to sleep and bottoms out at 4 or 5 AM.
You need to raise your body temperature in order to fall asleep faster and one of the best ways to raise internal body temperature is to soak in a hot tub for around 20 min. So, you should soak yourself in a hot tub for around 20 min, two hours before you plan to sleep in order to benefit from hot tub.
It is estimated that around 70 million people in America suffer from chronic arthritis pain. While there are a number of remedies that help in relaxing the swollen joints, hot and cold water therapy is considered one of the most effective therapies. Hot tub makes hot water therapy an enjoyable and relaxing experience.
Hot tub helps by stimulating the processes in the body that naturally heat painful areas in your body. The dilation of blood vessels due to exposure of body to high temperature helps in stimulating blood circulation that leads to more oxygen to swollen areas and helps in reducing muscle spasms. Moist heat therapy is considered the best way to get pain relief from arthritis.
Weight Loss and Diabetes
Recent research studies have shown that using hot tubs regularly helps in reduction of weight as well as in diminishing the appearance of cellulite. This is due to the reason that soaking in a hot tub simulates exercise as hydrotherapy leads to dilation of the blood vessels that promotes better blood circulation which leads to relaxation of skin and muscles. Hydrotherapy also lowers blood pressure and raises the heart rate which means a hot tub may be healthier for your health.
Some research studies have also concluded that adults suffering from type II diabetes were able to lower their blood sugar levels, lose weight and improve sleep patterns with the help of hot tub water therapy. However, one needs to be cautious as some diabetes sufferers also suffer from nerve damage and might accidentally burn themselves in a hot tub.
A well-designed hot tub provides soothing and stimulating hydrotherapy. Warm water combined with various massage elements in the form of jets in a hot tub environment can help in reducing stress levels and clear your mind. Hydrotherapy has been known to help with bringing about a good night’s sleep, restore strength, keep joints moving, increase flexibility and provide relief from arthritis pain.
Hot tubs provide speedy recovery from injuries by facilitating removal of lactic acid and by improving blood circulation.
Hot Tub Health Risks
While hot tub hydrotherapy has a number of benefits, hot tubs also pose risk when not used in the intended manner. One of the most common misconceptions regarding hot tubs is that you do not need to be as careful as you are on a beach or the pool. However, this has led to a huge increase in the number of hot tub related injuries as more people are buying hot tubs these days but they also get injured due to wrong use. In addition to accidental injuries, hot tubs also pose other health risks as chlorine and other disinfectants break down much faster in hot water which increases the risks of getting infection.
Here is a list of some of the most common health risks associated with hot tubs.
- Hot tub rash which is also known as Pseudomonas Dermatitis is an infection that results in bumpy red rashes and pus filled blisters. It is caused by a germ and it pops up after a few days and usually, goes away on its own. The best way to avoid this rash is to not spend too much time in a hot tub that you don’t clean yourself. You should also shower immediately afterwards and clean the swimsuit.
- Another health risk of a hot tub is Legionnaires’ disease which is a severe type of pneumonia that may be contacted from inhaling bacteria found in the steam of a contaminated hot tub. The symptoms of this disease include headache, chills, fever and muscle pain that developer a day or so after a dip in the hot tub. You may also experience shortness of breath, confusion, chest pain and cough accompanied with mucus or blood.
- Hot tubs that are not cleaned on a regular basis may also have bodily fluids and these bodily fluids may cause irritation. Sweat, urine and feces mixed with chlorine may result in creation of an irritant known as chloramine that may result in irritated eyes and coughing. Therefore, it is important to shower before you get into a hot tub and after spending time in a hot tub to avoid spreading the bacteria.
- Waterborne Illnesses, Poorly maintained hot tubs may also lead to certain waterborne illnesses such as Crypto.
It is recommended that the core body temperature of pregnant women should never rise above 102 degrees F as the core body temperature above this limit may result in birth defects. Therefore, pregnant women should sit in hot tubs for a maximum of 10 min as they are at a higher risk of developing hyperthermia.
Sitting for a longer period of time in hot tubs may also result in scalding and burns. Therefore, it is recommended that adults should not spend more than 15 min at any given time in a hot tub.
Hot Tub Safety Tips
Hot tubs can be dangerous if not used in the right manner. Follow the below mentioned safety tips to make sure that you enjoy hot tub experience without putting yourself at risk.
- It is estimated that more than 15 children drown in hot tubs every year. Therefore, you should never allow children in a hot tub if they are unable to keep their head above water while standing on the bottom. Also, if there are grown-up children who can use hot tub, they should not use it for more than 5 min at a time when the water temperature is at 104 degrees F. Young children should also avoid full body immersion and instead, they should sit on the jump seats.
- Some medications cause drowsiness and therefore, may result in complications when combined with hot tub. Therefore, it is important to not mix medications causing drowsiness with hot tub.
- Hot tub should always be covered and latched when it is not being used. Also, there shouldn’t be any electrical appliances near the hot tub. You should use battery-powered appliances instead of using extension cords.
- It is recommended to avoid hot tubs during rainstorms and lightning. Also, the indoor hot tubs should be properly ventilated to prevent filling up the enclosed airspace with an un-sanitized bacteria as that may lead to hot tub lung.
- Guests should shower with soap before getting into the hot tub. If the water is cloudy, you should not use hot tub as it may lead to various skin infections.
- If someone looks lethargic, it is important to immediately get them out of the hot tub to make sure that they are not suffering from hyperthermia.
- Many people also slip and fall around the hot tub. It is recommended to install antiskid threads and rubber mats to prevent slips and falls.
Safe Hot Tub Temperature
As far as the maximum temperature in a hot tub is concerned, it is recommended to maintain a maximum temperature of 104 degrees F. Temperature above this limit may increase health risks as it may raise the body temperature to unsafe levels. Therefore, it is important that this limit is never bypassed. In fact, most hot tub manufacturers have put controls that do not allow the temperature to rise much above 104 degrees F.
Hot Tub and Alcohol
You should never mix hot tub and alcohol. If the water temperature of the hot tub is higher than the normal body temperature, it may cause drowsiness which may lead to unconsciousness and drowning. The risk of drowning is significantly increased if the individual also consumes alcoholic beverages prior to or while soaking in hot water. Every year, a number of deaths are reported due to mixing alcohol with soaking in hot tub.
How Long Should You Stay in a Hot Tub?
It depends on the age. Children should be in hot tub for less than 10 min and the temperature of the hot tub should be slightly below the core body temperature. Adults, who do not have any health issues and do not suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, can safely use hot tub for up to 60 min at a time.
However, it is important that adults should intermittently sit in the highest elevated cool down seat in the hot tub as it keeps the heart above water level and allows body to cool itself down. It is recommended to do this for around 5 to 10 min after 15 min of soaking before moving to a lower chair. For individuals suffering from any heart conditions, they should keep the maximum duration in hot tub to around 15 to 20 min per use.
Hot tubs for Children
Children should spend a maximum of 10 min in hot tub with temperature slightly below the core body temperature.
Pregnancy and Hot Tubs
As mentioned above in the section, Hot Tubs Health Risks, a hot tub that isn’t thoroughly cleaned may pose various health risks. Also, pregnant women are at a greater risk of hyperthermia and therefore, they should not spend more than 10 min at a time in hot tub as it may raise their internal body temperature which may result in birth defects.
Overall, hot tub hydrotherapy offers a number of benefits. Hot tub offers a relaxing environment that helps you in clearing your mind and provides relief from pain by soothing overworked muscles and speeding up recovery from injuries. In simple terms, hot tubs are a great way to rejuvenate your mind and body when used in the right manner.
- 1 Hot Tub Health Benefits
- 2 Hot Tub Health Risks
- 3 Hot Tub Safety Tips
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 References: