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Hot Tub Stress Relief – How It Works?
The English word disease (or, “dis-ease”) literally means “a lack of ease.” Stress is indeed a root cause of many health issues.
Whether the cause of your stress is economic, social, professional, or domestic – stress adds up over time to create health problems that can lead to death. Research reports posted by the Mayo Clinic and Stress.org testify to the myriad of ways stress harms us.
But are there ways to lower your stress with a hot tub? How exactly does hot tub stress relief work? Continue reading to see the answers to those questions and more.
How Stress Affects Your Daily Life?
Tangible symptoms include weight gain or weight loss, jaw clenching, gritting teeth, sweating, dry mouth, frequent sighing, itching, fidgeting, feet-tapping, and constant fatigue.
Heart and Lungs
Breathing becomes harder and more rapid. Your strained heart rate increases and goes into palpitations. Blood vessels constrict, and your blood pressure rises – all as a result of stress. Your risk for a stroke or heart attack increases.
Stress can cause headaches, light-headedness, depression, anxiety, mood swings, angry outbursts, social withdrawal, alcohol or drug abuse, forgetfulness, poor concentration, excessive defensiveness, suspiciousness, obsessive or compulsive behavior, sleep problems, and reduced work productivity.
Stress can contribute to heartburn, acid reflux, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, and stomachaches.
Under stress, you muscles tighten up and absolutely refuse to relax – causing spasms, neck, back, and shoulder pain, plus overall body aches.
In men – constant stress can reduce levels of testosterone and contribute to impotence.
In women – chronic stress can reduce sexual desire, lead to more difficult periods, or magnify the symptoms of menopause.
Continuous stress can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to viral illnesses and other infections.
A Hot Tub Fills The Prescription For Stress
An Ancient Remedy
Hot water therapy has been used for stress relief and overall wellness since beyond 4,000 years ago.
The ancient Greek, Roman, Japanese, and Native American cultures erected buildings on top of natural hot springs. The great philosophers of Greece including Plato, Homer, and Hippocrates believed that hot water therapy had healing qualities. In fact, the word “Spa” is an acronym of the Latin phrase “Sanus Per Aquam,” meaning “health through water.”
In ancient Persia, fire-heated water was poured into tubs chiseled out of solid granite. The early Japanese chose to construct free-standing wooden hot tubs.
Throughout history we have known “relaxing the physical, soothes the mental.”
A Modern Remedy
The benefits of hot tub therapy have now been studied and documented by medical science.
Research from Washington State University, the University of Maryland Medical Center, The National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute, and The American Heart Association reveals an array of positive effects on the body from hydrotherapy – even greater than can be achieved through meditation.
In many of these studies, participants’ vitals were monitored as they soaked in hot tubs set to a variety of temperatures and time limits. For those sessions specifically conducted in the optimal conditions of 102-degree water for 24 minutes, the following benefits were observed:
Decrease in Blood Pressure
Blood vessels become dilated, reducing vascular resistance, therefore reducing the workload for the heart.
Improved Cognitive Activity
Warm water increases blood flow inside the brain – increasing mental acuity, creativity, and memory.
Hot tub sessions decrease damaging epinephrine and cortisol levels while increasing brain-positive serotonin and dopamine. In addition, the release of endorphins provide natural mood elevators and painkillers.
Rebalancing the mix of all those negative and positive hormones results in mood improvements.
Alleviation of PTSD Symptoms
Preliminary findings indicate that PTSD sufferers are calmer and exhibit fewer hair-trigger responses after hot tub hydrotherapy.
Improved Sleep Time & Sleep Quality
Study participants’ vitals were measured during hot tub sessions that were timed to end 90 minutes before bedtime. Before they slept, subjects were wired for EEG brain wave recordings. In each case, hot tub use later resulted in longer continuous periods of the deeper, more restful type of “slow-wave” sleep.
A Hot Tub Can Be Combined With Other Stress-Reducing Therapies
Many hot tub users amplify their sessions with additional popular techniques for alleviating stress:
- Performing muscle contraction & release exercises underwater
- Deep controlled-breathing exercises
Shut down all distractions. Close your eyes and visualize yourself in your “happy place”, whether it’s a golf course, a tropical beach, a sailboat, or a mountain cabin.
Play whatever music you find most soothing. If possible, stick with instrumental choices, avoiding selections with vocal lyrics, which can be distracting. Use music from a source that does not include commercials. Take steps to ensure that your music will play continuously for 20 uninterrupted minutes without requiring you to stop, think, and click any additional buttons.
Ambient Sound Effects
Many hot tub users report that ambient sound recordings help them achieve a more relaxed meditative state than music can provide. There is a wide variety of these background sound effect selections available on the market including: rain, waterfalls, ocean waves, forest birds, and dreamlike synthesizer tones.
Soft Colored Lighting
Many studies have been conducted that demonstrate measurable effects of using scents for reduction of stress and anxiety. These aromatic elements can include minerals, herbs, botanicals, and other formulated essences.
However, many commonly available aromatherapy products on the market are oil-based – which means they will fail to mix with your spa water and simply float on the surface. In addition, their use can be potentially detrimental to the hydraulic flow components of your hot tub.
Fortunately, your dealer can guide you to a selection of scented water-based aromatherapy products that are specifically formulated for safe and enjoyable use in hot tubs.
Research has also shown the positive effects on our mental state provided by an environment of greenery. You can accent your hot tub space as a nature refuge by surrounding it with trees, vines, bushes, and a variety of other foliage.
Limit the Water Temperature.
Excessively heating your core body temperature can lead to the health and life risks of hyperthermia. Note that most therapeutic studies have been conducted in water set to 102°F.
But remember that the absolute maximum safety limit for water is 104°F. Always check the water temperature with a thermometer before stepping in. Simply using a dip of the toe to “test” your hot tub isn’t enough.
Limit your Time Spent in the Water
Medical professionals also recommend a time limit of 20 minutes to avoid hyperthermia.
Hot tubs make you sweat and can leave you dehydrated. In addition, drinking alcohol can further contribute to dehydration. Regardless of whatever else you may choose to imbibe, be sure to also include water or water-based beverages.
Watch for Warning Symptoms
Since a hot tub is a sleep aid, be careful not to fall asleep in the water. This could lead to the health risks of prolonged heat exposure.
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Skin redness
- Heart palpitations
The Hot Tub – A Natural Cure
People who are struggling with the many damaging symptoms of stress often desperately turn to a variety of negative options in an attempt to alleviate their suffering. Alcohol, pills, illegal drugs, smoking, nicotine gum and patches, and overeating – all fail to cure their stress symptoms. But there is a natural cure that has been with us for thousands of years. It has now been rediscovered and proven by modern science as the most effective natural remedy for the health of your body and mind.
This prescription is safe, with no side effects. It’s a simple and easy cure. Just add water.
Manny has been in the Pool & Spa industry for over 15 years and is considered a pool, swim spa, & hot tub expert. He has been a Certified Pool & Spa Operator (CPO) since 2009 and worked 15 years in aquatic training and development for the largest pool chemical and customer care company. He also has been an outside consultant for the Pool and Spa industry in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles since 2018. In the past few years Manny has become Director of Operations for Epic Hot Tubs with a priority of providing customers with the most reliable information and best service possible.