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Hot Tub After Surgery: 5 Benefits and 3 Steps to Getting Back in the Tub

We're sharing 5 benefits of your hot tub for post-surgery recovery and a few simple steps to help you get in the tub and back to full health.

How soon after surgery can you get back in your hot tub? Here are some quick answers:

  • Don't take a bath for 14 days after major surgery.
  • Wait 4 weeks after surgery to get back in your hot tub.

That's simple advice, but there is more to know about how to use a hot tub to aid your recovery. We're going to show you 5 benefits of your hot tub for post-surgery recovery and a few simple steps to help you get in the tub and back to full health.

Let's begin by looking at the benefits of a soak in the hot tub.

Benefits of Hot Water

A hot soak is one of those things that you will always look forward to after a long and tiring day as it can be super-relaxing. But how does a hot tub work, and what are the health benefits of using one?

1. Can Help Your Body Fight Off Viruses

The steam that rises from the hot water when taking a soak can effectively relieve terrible coughs and clear out your stuffy nose.

The congestion in your nose is often because of inflammation along the nasal passages, and the steam will help loosen the blockage by getting into your blood vessels.

A hot bath can also help you fight off the virus that causes flu. The hot water does this by heating the body and improving your immune markers to allow certain types of immune cells to function better, making them more effective at fighting the virus.

2. The Warmth of the Water Helps Improve Circulation

The hot water in your tub helps open up blood vessels to allow your blood to flow easily, improving overall circulation. This also helps lower your blood pressure and reduces the stiffening of your blood vessels.

Besides improving circulation, a warm soak will also make your blood more oxygenated as it encourages you to take deep and slow breaths as the steam passes through your nasal passages. Jumping into a hot tub before bed will help you sleep better, thanks to the improved circulation.

3. Hot Baths Can Help You Lose Weight

Hot tub hydrotherapy can also aid in weight loss. Some studies conclude that being in hot water for just 1 hour is as effective for weight loss as taking a 30-minute walk as you will burn up to 140 calories.

The body faces external stress when you get into the hot water, which induces the production of heat shock proteins that are known to aid in calorie burning and weight loss.

Soaking in a hot tub also increases your energy expenditure significantly. Some studies put the increase in energy use at up to 80% when taking a 1 hour bath. The increased energy expenditure means you burn more calories, which is vital for weight loss.

4. Opens the Pores to Cleanse the Skin

The hot water will help open up your pores, which is highly useful for the skin's general health. Opening up the pores allows for a deep cleanse of the skin so it can "breathe" much better.

A warm soak will remove the surface oils and other things that clog your pores, like dirt and makeup. Dead cells are also easier to remove with a warm bath. Therefore, your lotion and any other moisturizer can penetrate deep and be more effective at moisturizing your skin.

If you combine the warm water with spa salts and oils, you can ensure even better skin hydration and deal with skin irritations. Make sure the water temperature is not too high, as scalding baths can irritate the skin.

5. Relieves Muscle Pain

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If you are having muscle pain after a long day or a workout, a warm soak can do you a lot of good as it is very effective at relieving muscle pain.

The heat from the water relaxes sore and tight muscles by getting your blood moving. You can make things even better by adding Epsom salt to the water.

Using salt has been proven to offer superior anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce inflammation caused by overexertion of muscles or even muscle diseases and other conditions like arthritis.

How Soon Can I Go Swimming After Surgery?

Generally, there should not be an issue if you go swimming several weeks after surgery. However, how soon you can go swimming after surgery depends on the specific procedure and how fast you recover.

For some types of surgery, the doctors will recommend that you wait for several months before getting into the water, while for others, a couple of weeks should be enough wait.

Here are some estimates for how long you must wait before swimming for some common surgeries.

1. Appendectomy

Appendectomy is a simple and minimally invasive surgery and the wound left is also relatively small, meaning you will not have to wait very long before you can swim. Once the stitches are removed and the wound has closed up well, you are free to swim, which should take anywhere between 2 and 3 weeks.

2. Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that uses small incisions, reducing the recovery time significantly. You can be back to work in just a couple of weeks, and full recovery will take as little as one month.

It is safe to swim in just a couple of days, provided you do not overstrain, but you should wait at least 2 weeks to swim in lake water as there is a greater risk of infection.

3. Hip Replacement

It will take up to 3 months to fully recover from a hip replacement surgery, and many doctors will advise you to wait that long before swimming. However, you will still need to be gentle when swimming and avoid certain styles.

4. Knee Surgery

Although most people will recover from a knee replacement surgery in around 6 months, some can take up to 1 year. However, you will not need to wait that long before swimming. Some people will be okay enough to start swimming in around a month, but it is wise to talk to your doctor before you start swimming.

5. Heart Surgery

The healing time for a heart bypass surgery is 3 to 6 months. Therefore, you will have to wait for at least 3 months before swimming. The long wait time is crucial as it ensures the breast bone heals properly.

6. Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery recovery will require proper aftercare for quick and proper healing like any other invasive medical procedure. You should keep the wounds infection-free and protect the skin from the excess force, meaning no diving or using water slides.

The plastic surgeon should advise you on how long you have to wait before swimming, but it will be safe to get into the water after 6 weeks for most procedures.

Issues Related with Having a Hot Bath After Surgery

While many people find it okay to get into a hot tub once they have enough strength after surgery, there are some issues you need to be aware of and take necessary caution.

  • Improper Wound Healing & Infection

If the would is not healed correctly, using a hot tub can cause the stitches to open up as water wets and softens the incision line. When your wound opens up, it can allow bacteria to enter the body and cause post-surgery infections.

Make sure you never get into a hot tub or swimming pool when you have an open wound or are bandaged. Also, avoid soaking in water if you have external fixation devices such as the metal frames used to hold bones in place.

  • Use Caution Getting In and Out

Getting in and out of the tub can be strenuous, especially if it is raised from the ground. The process can lead to excess strain on your wound and cause post-surgery complications like the bandage that keeps the wound closed falling off before time.

There are also other risks associated with getting in and out of the tub, such as the danger of slipping. Remember that you still do not have all your strength back after surgery, so it is not worth the risk.

Some of the best hot tub brands will have some special tub types for post-surgery recovery that are designed for safe and easy use. Hence it is crucial to understand how to choose a hot tub for surgery recovery if you plan to use one.

  • Increased Blood Pressure

Hot water can increase your blood pressure, which is dangerous if you have a heart condition. Therefore, it is vital to make sure you only use warm water during your soak to prevent blood pressure issues.

Using a Hot Tub After Surgery

There will be tons of time to use your hot tub once you fully recover, so you should not be in a hurry to plunge into the water. A hot tub is good for stress relief, but it will only be good for you if it does not cause further post-surgery complications.

It is essential to follow your doctor's advice and only use the tub once healed adequately, as it will be even more beneficial.

Once your wound closes up, a hot tub will help you relax your tense muscles and warm up your core to improve circulation.

Conclusion

Hot tubs can be highly beneficial to your body and overall well-being, especially when recovering after surgery. Immersing your body in the water for a few minutes will relieve stress, uplift your mood, improve circulation, and relax muscles.

However, it is vital to ensure you get the timing right and only use the tub once your wounds have healed. Talking to your doctor is always the best way to know when you can start using a tub post-surgery.

Have questions on using a hot tub after surgery? Request a Consultation!

Call us at  919-444-8500 or fill out the form below.

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