Who hasn’t fantasized about owning a hot tub or spa at some point? Whether you’re dreaming of a standalone unit or one that’s attached to a swimming pool, the appeal is obvious. Relaxing in hot bubbly water is pleasurable, luxurious, romantic…
Um, what was I saying? I got lost in my thoughts there for a second.
The point is, most people don’t need to be convinced that a hot tub is a good thing. But in case you’re on the fence about actually buying one, there are also a variety of health benefits of hot tubs that might nudge you over the edge. Not every claim you find on the internet is true, of course, but here are a few that have strong evidence supporting them.
1. Pain Relief
Whether you have occasional backaches or a more serious condition like fibromyalgia, soaking in a hot tub can help ease your pain. The greatest pain relieving benefit may go to those who suffer from arthritis or other forms of joint pain. Spending 20 minutes or more in warm water takes pressure off joints and increases flexibility, with the relief lasting for some time after you climb out of the tub.
2. Stress Relief
You don’t need a slew of scientific studies to tell you that sitting in a steamy spa is relaxing. With the jets turned on, a hot tub combines the effects of a warm bath and a massage – two of the best stress relievers around. And because stress is the cause of so many other health problems, the benefits of a relaxing soak are multiplied.
3. Diabetes Treatment
A recent study suggests that hot tub therapy could help people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugars and lose weight. Medical professionals urge caution, however. Most people with diabetes also suffer from some degree of nerve damage, which could lead to accidental burns. In other words, talk to your doctor first.
4. Sleep Aid
We noted that hot tubs help relieve stress, which in turn can help you sleep better. But hot tubs also improve sleep quality in a more direct way. After raising your body temperature in the hot tub, you cool off rapidly when you get out of the water. This steep drop in temperature has been shown to trigger deep sleep.
5. Cold Remedy
Studies show that an elevated body temperature triggers a stronger response from our immune systems. This has led to speculation that soaking in a hot tub could help people recover from cold and flu faster. Regardless of whether that’s true or not, the steam from a hot tub certainly helps clear nasal passages, and more importantly, a good soak can help you get the sleep you need to recover.
The Not-So-Hot Side
With all those health benefits, the case for getting a hot tub seems pretty airtight. So what’s the catch?
For one thing, the health impact of hot tubs isn’t entirely positive. You may have noticed that public hot tubs typically have signs nearby warning of a long list of health hazards. Accidents are always a risk, but even normal hot tub use can be dangerous for people with certain conditions like high blood pressure.
It’s also important to note that you can get a lot of the same water therapy benefits mentioned above by taking a warm bath or shower. A hot tub or spa has many other selling points, but if you’re only looking for improved health, an expensive hot tub may not be necessary.
That brings us to the final downside of hot tubs – cost. The price tag varies a lot depending on whether you’re talking about a portable above ground hot tub, an inground spa, or something in-between. But even the cheaper options have been known to produce sticker shock.
Fortunately, many people with health problems can get insurance to pick up some or all of the cost of a hot tub. If not, paying full price can still be good decision. Consider it an investment in better health and a better lifestyle.
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute medical advice, and is provided for information purposes only. Consult with your doctor or other licensed health professional if you have questions about these or any other health issues.