Regularly soaking in a hot tub can provide a wide variety of benefits to people of all ages and can even help in the treatment of several common health problems. Today, we will discuss our picks for the 6 biggest benefits of using a hot tub.
Muscle Relaxation & Pain Relief
The combination of heat, buoyancy and massage therapy found in hot tubs make them perfect for relaxing tense muscles as well as relieving muscle and joint pain. If you find yourself stiff or sore after a workout or sports game, soaking in your hot tub for 15-30 minutes can seriously help your recovery. This is because the combination of increased blood flow and decreased strain on your muscles and joints helps reduce inflammation and speed up the recovery process.
Not only can hot tubs help relieve pain brought on by physical exertion, it can also be used to help manage chronic pain from conditions like arthritis.
According to Bruce E. Becker, director of the National Aquatics & Sports Medicine Institute, warm water therapies “makes the joints looser”; meaning that they decrease swelling and inflammation in the joints. Becker also says that warm water therapy “reduces pain and it seems to have a somewhat prolonged effect that goes beyond the period of immersion”.
Heat therapy is also a proven method for treating muscle ailments like lower back pain. In an article on how heat can improve lower back pain Vert Mooney, Medical Director of U.S. Spine and Sport, stressed the importance of increased flexibility in treating back pain. Heat therapy, he explains, increases flexibility. This combined with increased blood circulation brought on by a targeted massage, make hot tubs the ideal way to manage lower back pain.
Stress Relief & Improved Sleep
Another basic benefits of soaking a hot tub is the relaxation and stress relief that it provides. Hot tubs are the perfect stress relievers. There are two main reasons for this:
- They take you away from the daily grind; letting you relax and clear your mind.
- The combination of heat, buoyancy and massage help to relax your muscles and relieve aches and pains; taking away tension in your body and allowing you to relax further.
Hot tub usage can also lead to better sleep. The improved blood circulation from the heat and massage provided by the hot tub reduce inflammation and soothe tired, achy muscles. The less tense your muscles, the easier it is to fall asleep. Not only that, when your body is warm you tend to fall asleep quicker and sleep better throughout the night.
Improved Range Of Motion
As we briefly mentioned earlier, regular use of hot tubs can can help you restore lost flexibility in joints like your lower back. Because water is buoyant, it reduces gravity’s pull on joints. When totally submerged in water, your body weighs about 90 percent less than it normally does. This means that compression of the joints, which is often the cause of pain and reduces range of motion, are diminished when using a hot tub. The warm water also raises body temperature and increases circulation, which encourages better movement.
You can also take this one step further by gently practicing flexibility exercises while soaking in your hot tub.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Relaxing in a hot tub will raise your heart rate and lower your blood pressure and can help to improve the cardiovascular health of most people.
According to a 2016 study, hot water immersion may have “robust” effects on vascular function and blood pressure. The authors of the study suggest that these effects may help to reduce risks for certain cardiovascular diseases and promote good heart health among people that regularly engage in what they call “passive heat therapy”. They especially suggest these types of therapies for people that have a limited ability to exercise regularly.
Note: If you have a serious heart condition you should consult a doctor before regularly using a hot tub as some heart conditions can be worsened by exposure to this type of treatment. Likewise if you already have low blood pressure, you may want to avoid using a hot tub as they may lower your blood pressure even further.
In a small 2016 study, participants who soaked in a waist-high hot bath for an hour burned about the same number of calories as they did from a 30-minute walk. While this isn’t to say that soaking in a hot tub should take the place of exercise, it is an effective way to burn calories, particularly for those who find it hard to exercise.
How To Maximize The Benefits Of Using A Hot Tub
So now that we have a good idea of some of the major benefits that hot tubs provide, how can we work to maximize those benefits? Here are a few things that you can do to get more out of your hot tub sessions:
- Make sure that the water isn’t too hot. To maximize the health benefits of regular hot tub use, most experts recommend soaking in water that is no hotter than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It is for this reason that modern hot tubs all come with a set temperature limit of 104, though some older models allow you to soak in water which is warmer than that.
- Limit your time in the hot tub. Soaking for long intervals in a hot tub (especially if you’re not used to it) can have some adverse affects such as light headedness, dizziness and nausea. For this reason most hot tub experts recommend that you bathe for several shorter intervals rather than one longer soak. For best results you’ll want to get out of the hot tub and allow your body to cool down a bit for every 15-30 minutes of use.
- Stay hydrated while in the hot tub. Although it is hard to tell, soaking in a hot tub causes you to sweat quite a bit. It is important to stay hydrated if you plan on using the hot tub for extended periods of time.
- Don’t get too cold too quickly. To maximize the health benefits of using a hot tub you’ll want to avoid getting into ice cold water immediately after using a hot tub as this can spike your blood pressure. If you’d like to wash off after using your hot tub we recommend using lukewarm water to do so.
From a better sleep and stress relief to faster workout recoveries and reducing pain, hot tubs can provide a wide variety of benefits. To learn more about our award winning hot tubs and the benefits that they provide, read more here, or contact one of our hot tub experts!