A hot tub offers many health benefits. According to the Hot Water and Healthy Living book, “Research shows that both body and mind benefit from the simple act of immersion in warm water.” Early civilizations built their magnificent bath houses because they believed the warm water promoted more than just relaxation – it cured a number of ills.
In a hot tub the heat, buoyancy and massage work together to create a relaxing and soothing experience. The heat raises body temperature causing blood vessels to dilate and increase circulation. More blood flow equates to more nutrients available to help cells and tissues regenerate and speed up healing. The effects on healing are also aided by the water’s buoyancy, which reduces weight bearing on joints due to gravity. Pressure on joints and muscles is relieved and body weight is reduced by approximately 90%. A hot tub’s massaging action sends a combination of warm water and air through jet nozzles, which loosens tight muscles. The release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer, is also stimulated by the spa’s jet massage.
Around the globe medical professionals use the natural hydrotherapy of soaking in warm water to: ease anxiety and stress, sleep better and relieve insomnia, pain relief from arthritis and fibromyalgia, and to increase healing from injury and surgery. Drs. Bruce Becker and Andrew Cole, authors of the textbook Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy say that, “immersion in warm water can lead to faster and longer-lasting recovery. An environment which is less prone to cause pain, and is even pleasurable makes immersion in warm water a unique healing environment.”
An article titled “Mayo Clinic OK’s Spas for Heart Patients” indicates that hot tubs and spas, contrary to previous beliefs, may not present as much of a risk to heart patients. Research for the report was led by Dr. Thomas G. Allison of the Mayo Clinic, where they also found that relaxing in a hot tub might be less stressful to your heart than working out on an exercise bicycle. Soaking in a spa increases the heart rate while lowering blood pressure, instead of raising it as other forms of exercise do.
Drs. Becker and Hildenbrand, National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute of Washington State University, in their 2007 and 2008 research studied the effects of immersion temperatures upon the autonomic nervous system, the circulatory system and the cardiovascular systems looking at younger and older adults. “The effects of aquatic immersion are profound, and impact virtually every body system. Warm water immersion, from bathing to hot tub use, protects the heart from rhythm disturbances and improves the efficiency of the heart muscle“, Dr. Becker stated. He further explained, “Our research has shown a positive effect upon the regulatory mechanisms that control heart rate, blood pressure and circulation in both young and older subjects. The results of this recent research add improved understanding of the physiology behind previous research demonstrating improved heart function in individuals with mild to moderate heart failure, and damage from ischemic heart disease.” Dr. Becker concluded with, “There may indeed be magic in the water.“