The Health Benefits of Hot Tubs

Those who suffer from arthritis, diabetes, insomnia, soreness, and stress may find that 15 minutes in the hot tub makes a world of difference.

Hot tub therapy makes us feel better because of three main factors: heat, buoyancy, and massage.

Today, more than 46 million Americans have some form of arthritis. Although there are over 100 different types of arthritis, most are characterized by inflammation of the joints causing swelling, pain, stiffness, and loss of joint movement or function. Hot tub immersion helps to relieve the pressure off of sore joints. In fact, the buoyancy of the water reduces body weight by almost 90% giving the body a well-deserved break from stiff and sore joints and muscles. Gently bubbling spa jets help to massage those same stiff muscles loosening up the body and promoting relaxation. All of these aspects combined make it easier for someone with arthritis to move more freely.

More than 23 million men, women, and children suffer from diabetes. Proper diet and exercise are necessary to manage sugar levels, but for those that want an extra push, try hot tub therapy. It’s proven that 30 minutes a day in a hot tub can benefit those afflicted with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. In situations where someone can’t exercise or manage their weight effectively or in a situation where someone wants to take that extra step, a hot tub is one method for increasing circulation and even decreasing blood sugar.

In fact, in a study conducted at the McKee Medical Center in Colorado found that patients reported a 13% reduction in blood sugar levels, saw improved quality of sleep, and reported an increase in their overall sense of well being when they spent 30 minutes in a hot tub every day.

Approximately 60 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders – both mild and chronic. Sleep disorders range from insomnia to pauses in breathing to snoring. Sleep researchers believe that many cases of insomnia can be traced back to hectic, stressful lifestyles lived by basically healthy people. According to a recent study in the scientific journal Sleep, a drop in body temperature can help to ease your body into a deeper, more relaxing sleep. Therefore, it is suggested that you soak in hot water (103° F) about 90 minutes before bedtime. This causes the body’s internal thermostat to pull your temperature down, enabling sleep to set in with more ease.

Hot tub therapy works to accelerate the natural healing process in two ways. First, when your body is immersed in hot water, your temperature rises, and blood vessels dilate, which increases circulation. Proper circulation is important for many reasons, but when it comes to a stiff and sore body, circulation flushes out toxins and brings healing nutrients to the areas that need it most. Second, the jets push air and water into the tub to gently massage your muscles. This massaging loosens tight muscles and even stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.

Pain Management
Athletes commonly use hot tubs to promote healing and for pain relief, and doctors have long recommended hot tubs to patients suffering from painful bone, joint, and muscle diseases.

There are three pain relieving aspects of regular hot tub use.

Increased circulation – Blood brings oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. When you give your circulatory system a boost, more blood can be moved through the body quicker creating an increase in oxygen and white blood cells, which work to heal.
Perspiration – Combined with circulation, the two works together to move lactic acid (the acid that gives us sore muscles) away from our muscles.
Endorphins – When your body’s temperature rises you release endorphins, which work as a natural anesthetic against pain.

Hot tubs are also beneficial in managing pain. The buoyancy brought on by immersion in water and the massaging action of the jets both work to relieve joint and muscle pain.

7 Therapeutic Hot Tub Benefits

study in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences outlined the therapeutic benefits of using a hot tub, which range from relieving pain points from the bottoms of your feet to the strained muscles of your neck to healing certain health issues. Consumer Affairs writes that some therapeutic benefits of hot tubs include:

  1. Minimizing arthritis pain: The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain, inflammation and stiffness of the joints, ligaments or tendons. The controlled temperature and pressure of hot tubs offer a natural option to minimize those symptoms and relax muscles without the side effects of medication.
  2. Lowering blood sugar levels: The heat in hot tubs helps dilate blood vessels to improve blood flow so more nutrient-rich blood reaches your muscles, effectively reducing your blood sugar level. The increase in blood flow is especially beneficial for people with diabetes, as some studies have shown that regular dips in a hot tub actually reduced blood glucose levels for some patients.
  3. Relieving fibromyalgia pain: Hot tub jets stimulate circulation. As blood flow increases, the muscles begin to loosen, which makes it much less painful to move around.
  4. Reducing stress and anxiety: Spending time relaxing alone or with close friends or loved ones can help with concentration and the release of endorphins, known to be mood elevators, that reduce anxiety.
  5. Improving sleep quality: Hot water decompresses your joints, increases your circulation, and lowers your blood pressure and heart rate. You begin to become drowsy as your body temperature gradually drops after a soak, setting the tone for a tranquil pre-sleep state leading to perfect sleep.
  6. Reducing pain and promoting healing: In a hot tub, the water supports approximately 90 percent of your body weight, making you feel weightless and relieving stress from your muscles and joints. Warm water is especially helpful for people with chronic back pain. Back pain is usually caused by strained muscles and ligaments supporting the spine. A hot tub dip counters the force of gravity that’s compressing the joints and ligaments. It promotes the healing of swollen and inflamed muscles that are causing pain.
  7. Benefitting athletes: Soaking in a hot tub before and after you work out helps loosen your muscles and reduce the risk of injury. It also prevents muscle soreness and stiffness, helps treat existing injury, and improves your sleep quality, especially after extreme exercise.

Full List of Hot Tub Health Benefits
There is a full range of health benefits for those who use a hot tub regularly. From managing your mood to preventing injury to something more serious such as multiple sclerosis, hot tubs can be an excellent way to care for your body and your mind. Here is a partial list of the possible hot tub health benefits.

  • Aches and pains
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Blood pressure
  • Bursitis
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Gout
  • Headaches and sinus pain
  • Immune system
  • Injury prevention
  • Insomnia
  • Mood
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Skin care
  • Sore muscles
  • Stress
  • Tendonitis
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Varicose veins
  • Weight loss

HotSpring Spas of Music City does not recommend hot tubs to anyone with serious health issues unless they’ve received specific instructions from their doctor. Before you sit in a hot tub, confirm that it is good for your health.