Hot tubs offer more than just a relaxing bathing experience, they also provide real therapeutic benefits that can help with many common ailments. Today, we will discuss how hot tubs can help people living with arthritis.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes swelling and pain in one or more joints and is typically accompanied by stiffness. This condition, which normally worsens with age, can come in many forms, although the most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is a type of therapy that uses immersion in warm water to relieve pain and increase mobility. One of the most effective and simple ways to enjoy this treatment is with a hot tub.
How Hot Tubs Provide An Effective Hydrotherapy Experience
Hot tubs provide three potential benefits to those living with arthritis. These are:
Bathing in hot water raises your body’s temperature. This rise in temperature causes your blood vessels to dilate which improves your circulation. This increase in blood flow helps your body’s cells eliminate damaging wastes, decreases inflammation, and promotes the release of endorphins (a natural pain killer).
Heat can also help improve joint flexibility; a very common issue among people living with arthritis. This is because heating up your joints makes them more pliable; reducing stiffness and improving your range of motion.
Submerging your body in water reduces the pressure on your joints, ligaments, and muscles by 85-90%. By reducing this stress on your body, buoyancy can help reduce stiffness and promotes easier, pain-free movement and an improved range of motion. This effect is particularly useful in reducing joint pain.
The chronic pain caused by arthritis causes your muscles to tense, ache and reduces their flexibility. Massage therapy helps reduce chronic pain through several processes. Firstly, the pressure and release of massage causes your body to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) and increase serotonin and dopamine (mood stabilizer hormones). This helps reduce tension in your muscles and allows them to relax.
Massage also helps to increase blood flow in the area being massaged, which helps to remove wastes and decrease inflammation in the affected area.
Finally, massage can help to your increase range of motion. When muscles get tight, connective tissues can form in areas with poor circulation; interfering with normal movement. Massage helps to stretch and loosen these connective tissues; restoring the body’s ability to move more easily.
How Hot Tubs Help With Manage Arthritis Symptoms
So how does this combination of heat, buoyancy and massage help those living with arthritis? Here are a few ways that hot tubs have been shown to help manage arthritis symptoms.
Improved Joint Mobility
Soaking in a hot tub has shown to help improve joint mobility and flexibility, which is important for people with arthritis. The buoyancy of the water decreases pressure on your joints, allowing for more comfortable movement.
Soaking in a hot tub for 15–20 minutes may help ease the chronic pain associated with RA. The warm water relaxes muscles and joints, which may reduce discomfort and make it easier for you to move.
A 2018 study involving people with rheumatoid arthritis suggests that regular hot tub therapy has shown promising results in reducing joint inflammation. This may also reduce swelling and tenderness.
How To Use Your Hot Tub To Help Relieve Arthritis Symptoms
Now that we know how hot tubs can help to relieve arthritis symptoms, we thought we’d share a few tips to help you maximize the benefits of hot tub use.
- Consistency is key. Daily soaks for 20-30 minutes will provide better overall relief than 1 hour soaks 3 times per week.
- Find the right seat. Different hot tub seats are designed to provide different types of massage and accommodate people of heights. It’s worth taking some time to try out different seats in your hot tub to find the one that fits you best.
- Take advantage of the heat and buoyancy that the hot tub provides to do some stretches and light, low-impact exercises.
- Take time to hydrate before and after your soak. Staying hydrated helps to reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation.
Hot tubs offer one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways of managing arthritis symptoms. Their combination of heat, buoyancy and massage can help to loosen stiff joints, improve circulation, decrease inflammation and reduce pain. For best results, we recommend daily soaks of around 20-30 minutes in length.