Spas and Stuff

  • It’s All About the Hot Tub

    Walkout deck with jacuzzi and pergola

     

    For a long time, home décor trends focused on bringing the outside in. Placement of plants that were an extension of outdoor gardens made sun rooms appear as part of the backyard.

    Today’s trends tend toward bringing the inside out. Elegantly upholstered outdoor furniture and stunning area rugs are transforming decks and patios like never before. Light fixtures rated for outdoor use illuminate cozy alcoves from which to read or enjoy an evening cocktail. Add a little simmer of a crystal clear spa and your backyard becomes a welcome extension of your home.

    Regardless of where your hot tub is situated, there is an endless supply of additions you can add to showcase your own unique style. You can basically dress your hot tub as you would a favorite room in your home….so it reflects your personality.

    1. An easy and affordable way to “decorate” your spa is to frame it with potted plants – whether ferns or flowers, they will add dimension to the area – and perhaps a bit of aromatherapy!
    1. Another addition that is one of our favorites is a cantilever umbrella. Available in multiple shapes and styles, they boast rotating hubs that allow 360° They’re particularly attractive as they not only shield from sun overexposure; they add personality to the spa.
    1. Chunky pillar candles on wrought iron stands also make a statement.
    1. If you love a good DIY project, you can take recycled pieces of wood to fashion a privacy wall or a decorative screen. Depending on your level of expertise (and patience!) you can build a bench where you can sit to remove your slippers and also use as storage to stow towels.
    1. If the budget allows, an outdoor fireplace will definitely add depth of ambiance.

    At the end of the day, you want your home to be your refuge, your oasis. While we certainly recommend one of our hot tubs for all your relaxation needs, we think it is equally important to make it your own -- put your twist on it to personalize the experience. Send us your pictures of how you decorated your spa. We love the ideas our clients come up with!

  • How to Use a Hot Tub to Get Back Pain Relief

    Chronic back pain

    According to the National Institutes of Health, back pain is the most common cause of missed work days and disability claims. Physical therapy, medication, and even ultrasound therapy treatments are often prescribed to back pain sufferers, but one of the oldest, most effective and inexpensive ways to alleviate back pain remains this: taking a hot bath.

    How Hot Tubs Help Relieve Back Pain

    Heating pads and hot packs are a great way to treat muscle pain, but a better way is to take a hot bath, and an even better way is to sit in a hot tub.

    Heat does some pretty great things for back pain sufferers:

    • It relaxes muscles, thereby reducing muscle spasms.
    • It dilates blood vessels, which increases blood flow and promotes healing.
    • It alters pain sensation.

    Sitting in  a hot tub adds some additional relief:

    • It causes the body to release endorphins.
    • It promotes restorative sleep.

    Hot tubs are so good at relieving back pain that in some states will eliminate sales tax on hot tub purchases made with a doctor's note.

    Choosing the Right Hot Tub for Your Back Pain

    When shopping for a hot tub to alleviate your back pain, you want to pay close attention to the following features:

    • Jets -- It is important that the jets be positionable, so you can focus them on the areas experiencing pain. There are different types of jets: massage jets that oscillate and whirlpool jets that concentrate the stream of water. Some manufacturers will customize the type and position of the jets based on your needs.
    • Shape of the hot tub shell -- Look for models that have lounge-style seats so you can choose to sit up or lay back depending on your comfort needs. Also look for models where you can fully immerse yourself.

    We carry many hot tub models with lounge seat options. Check them out!

    Ways to Use Your Hot Tub for Back Pain Relief

    Simply sitting and soaking in a hot tub will provide a lot of relief, but there are other things you can do with/in your hot tub to help soothe your aching back:

    • Bring a tennis ball into the tub with you. Trap it between your body and the tub to apply rubbing pressure to your muscles.
    • Do stretching exercises. The heat softens up your muscles and makes stretching easier and more effective.

    Some Precautions to Consider

    As with anything, there are some precautions to take when you use a hot tub to relieve your back pain:

    • Don't turn it up too hot. Temperatures that are too high can exhaust your muscles and create a sense of exhaustion, which is not the same as relaxation. Also, while your muscles may feel limp, high temperatures actually rev up your nervous system. The water should be pleasantly warm, but not hot. If you are pregnant, hot tubs should be kept barely above body temperature.
    • Do not use heat to treat a fresh injury. If your skin (pre-hot tub) is hot and red or swollen, do not heat the area. You could make the injury worse. Ice is for injuries. Heat is better used for muscle soreness and pain. If you are unsure whether or not to appy ice or heat, see your doctor for advice.
    • And while we are on the topic of doctors, it's a good idea not to use a hot tub for any medical condition without first talking to your doctor. Definitely do not use a hot tub if you are using medications that cause drowsiness.
    • Never exceed the time limit or temperature limit recommended by the hot tub manufacturer.

     

    Resources:

  • 10 Tips for Hosting a Hot Tub Party

    10 Tips for Hosting a Hot Tub Party

    As summer winds down, it might be just the time to host a hot tub party! Here are 10 tips for hosting a great farewell-to-summer hot tub party:

    1. Keep it Clean --  The hot tub, that is. Make sure the tub is clean inside and out: fill it with fresh water, clean out the filters, wipe down the exterior, and pick up the space surrounding the tub. Everyone will have a much better time in a tidy space.

    2. Turn it Up -- Many hot tubs have built-in speakers and will connect to various music devices. Take advantage of these features by creating a killer playlist that sets the mood of the party. You can even use the music to control the tempo of the party: start with upbeat, high energy songs and end with slower, mellower tunes to wind down the night. Don't have audio features on your tub? No problem! Set up a stereo a safe distance from the hot tub. Keep the volume loud enough that everyone can hear it, but no one has to yell to talk over it. Be courteous of your neighbors, too: turn the music down or off when it gets late, or invite them over too!

    Check out the hot tub models we carry that have stereo options!

    3. Feed Them -- Warm water naturally suppresses the appetite, so avoid serving up a meal and focus on snacks. Also, you want to keep food out of the water and make it easy for guests to nibble. That means avoiding food that crumble or drip and anything that might leave a residue on fingers that will transfer to the water. Avoid chips, greasy foods, cookies, soups, and so on. Try finger foods or foods on skewers/toothpicks and foods that can be eaten in one bite, such as a vegetable platter with hummus or dip, cut up fruit, kebabs, cubed cheeses and meats.

    4. Hydrate Them -- The warmth of the tub will make your guests thirsty, so be sure to have plenty of cold drinks on hand. Invest in a good cooler to keep near the tub so you don't have to run in and out of the house to grab drinks. Fill it with plenty of ice and stock it with water and juices. You could also make up pitchers of lemonade and iced tea. Here's a tasty recipe that's sure to please everyone:

    Ginger Lemonade

    1-inch piece of ginger
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup water
    8-10 large lemons
    3 1/2 cups water or sparkling water

    Using the handle of a heavy knife or a tenderizer, mash the ginger a little bit. Set in pan with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. Cook on low heat until sugar dissolves and ginger is aromatic. Remove from heat and let cool. Juice 8-10 large lemons. Put lemon juice and ginger syrup in a pitcher and add 3 1/2 cups of water or sparkling water. Chill and enjoy!

    Whatever you choose to serve for drinks, avoid alcoholic beverages. Hot water makes the effects of alcohol felt much more quickly and is a surefire way to give everyone a hangover the next day.

    5. Prepare for Weather and Environment -- If it might rain, or if you plan on having everyone over in the heat of the day, invest in a nice umbrella to cover the pool so your guests stay dry/shaded. Is it going to be cold? Set up outdoor heaters to keep everyone comfortable when they are hanging out outside the tub. Going into the cool of the night? Provide robes for people when they are taking a break from soaking. Looks like it might storm? If there is even a remote chance of lightening, abandon the hot tub and move the party indoors.

    6. Play Games -- Hot tubs are a great place for jokes and conversation, but they can also be a great place for toys and games. Pick up a deck of waterproof playing cards, or some rubber duckies for hot tub races. Have a supply of squirt guns on hand (be careful about squirting hot water at each other's faces, though!). Don't use pool toys, though--they aren't designed for the hot water.

    7. Set the Example -- Guests usually look to the host to provide the energy and mood of the party. Be sure to prepare everything before the party so you can relax and hang out with your guests. The more fun you have, the more fun they'll have!

    8. Suit Up -- It's a good idea to have some swimming suits on hand for guests who forget to bring one. Watch for end-of-season sales to get good deals.

    9. There's No Such Thing as Too Many Towels -- Gets lots of towels. Lots and lots. Have them set out next to the tub so guests can grab one easily when they exit the pool. Consider getting different colors and patterns so people can keep track of their towel more easily. Be prepared for guests to use multiple towels.

    10. Plan Fun for Everyone -- You might have a guest or two that doesn't want to get in the tub, or who tires of the tub earlier than everyone else. You'll want to make sure these people have plenty to do. Maybe set up a badminton net or set out some board games. Invest in a tub-side counter and stools so guests outside the tub can still interact with guests inside the tub. We have many to choose from in our inventory, like this redwood table and these stools.

  • Insomnia: Get a Good Night's Sleep with Your Hot Tub

    hot tubs insomnia photo by rachel CALAMUSA via Wikipedia

    Insomnia is a Widespread Problem

    The National Sleep Foundation found that somewhere around 132 million people in America suffer from sleep disorders, ranging from mild to chronic insomnia, snoring, and pauses in breathing.

    Inadequate amounts of sleep can have profound health effects, including erratic mood swings, anxiety, depression, grogginess, and memory lapses. It's pretty clear that sleeping well can help keep you healthy, to speak nothing about keeping you safe from fatigue-related accidents.

    Soak to Sleep!

    One proven method for getting to sleep is simply soaking in a warm bath or--even better--a hot tub. The buoyancy of the water and the jets can help massage and relax tense muscles, contributing to overall relaxation. However, the heated water also contributes to promoting good sleep. According to some studies, a drop in your body's temperature helps to ease the body into a relaxing sleep. It may seem counter-intuitive, then, to sit in a tub of hot water. Here's how it works: soaking in a hot tub will raise your body's core temperature. When you exit the tub, your body will cool down, and that decline in temperature is what triggers restful sleep.

    How to Maximize Your Soak for the Best Sleep

    To fight insomnia, soak in your hot tub for at least 15-20 minutes about 2 hours before you go to bed. For best results, avoid caffeine and exercise during this time period as well.

    Do you use your hot tub to promote good sleep? What other tips do you have for fighting insomnia? Share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

     

  • How to Buy a Hot Tub: Choosing the Right One for You

    square-inflatable-spa-3_3

     

    A hot tub is a major purchase that can add value to your home and your life. There are a number of decisions you'll need to make in order to find one that's just right for you and your lifestyle. Make a good purchasing plan and stick to it--you'll be soaking in bubbles in no time.

    Determine Your Budget

    This is a good place to start, but it's also a tricky one. As you go through and make other choices, you may find you need to shift your budget or make compromises to stay in budget.

    Hot tubs can vary drastically in cost. A small inflatable hot tub can start around $700, and a large hot tub with all the bells and whistles can run tens of thousands of dollars.

    Our Alpine Portable Inflatable Hot Tub is only $665! A great starter spa.

    You can either make a list of features you want and shop for the best deal, or you can set a dollar amount and shop within that range. It's up to you! Just make sure you stick to your budget and don't get swayed by features you don't actually want or need.

    How Many Bells? How Many Whistles?

    When crafting your budget, ask yourself what features you must have, what features would be nice, and what features you simply don't need or want. Do some online research --there are a lot of options for hot tubs these days. Color therapy, cascading waterfalls, speakers and dvd players ... .

    Or maybe you just want the basics: tub, heater.

    The Bellagrande SLT has ALL the bells and whistles and free shipping too!

    Portable or Permanent?

    What bells and whistles you can get, of course, depends on whether you get a portable or a permanent hot tub.

    Portable tubs are soft-sided, sometimes inflatable, and they permit you to move the hot tub whenever you wish. Some are even designed for easy set up and travel, such as for camping trips. Typically, they'll have fewer fancy features but are more affordable. They can be plugged into wall outlets, too.

    Permanent hot tubs are hard-sided and will be long-term occupants of the space where you install them. They'll need access to plumbing and electricity, and the electrical work will need to be inspected by a licensed electrician. The costs are higher, but they'll last longer and have more choices for features.

    The Matter of Size

    Hot tub for just you? Or maybe a romantic partner too? Or maybe a couple of kids as well? Or maybe the whole family and some of the neighbors?

    Quite simply, the bigger the hot tub the more it will cost to purchase and maintain. The smaller the tub, the easier the cleaning and care. Or maybe you need a hot tub for hydrotherapy--there are models available that let you stretch out and swim against the jets. Don't forget to consider the size of the space where you will be putting the tub.

    Our Swim Spa is 16 feet long! When you're done swimming, get the whole neighborhood in there!

    Is it Comfy?

    Ostensibly, you'll be spending some quality time in your hot tub, so it needs to be comfortable. A tub that is comfortable for one person may not be for another. It's important to choose one that accommodates your height and weight comfortably. Also consider whether you want to stretch out lounge-style or sit upright. When others are in the tub, will they all have space or be crowded together? If you are getting one with a screen for viewing movies, can you comfortably watch without straining your neck? If you are getting one with speakers, can you easily hear the music or is it too close to your ears? Do any waterfall features or control panels get in the way? These are all things to consider.

    Check Out the Jets

    With hot tub jets, more is not necessarily better. Placement and functionality is much more important. Consider where the jets are placed--do they actually cause discomfort when you sit in the tub? Are they adjustable? Do they have too much power? Not enough?

    Find a Reputable Retailer

    Once you've got your budget and you've planned out what you are looking for in a hot tub, it's crucial you find a good retailer who will help you select a hot tub. Here at Spasandstuff.com, we are more than happy to answer all your questions and assist you with selecting the perfect tub. We stay with our customers after their purchases, helping them with their maintenance questions, assisting them with choosing cleaning supplies, and in return they stay with us because they know we are looking out for them.

    Our customers have left us some great reviews you can check out here. If you think you are ready to buy the perfect hot tub for you, contact us and we'll get you started.

  • 8 Ways Hot Tubs Can Provide Arthritis Relief

    Hot Tubs for Arthritis Relief

    The warm waters of a hot tub provide muscle relaxation, increases blood flow to the affected areas, and relaxes rigid and spastic muscles. It soothes physical aches and pains, but can also soothe mental and emotional stress caused by daily arthritic discomfort (and all the other stuff life throws your way). There's no two ways about it: hot tubs are a great way to manage your arthritis. Before beginning any type of therapy, consult your doctor.

    How Hot Tubs Help Your Arthritis

    • Sitting in a tub of water reduces the amount of gravity compressing the affected joint.
    • The buoyancy of the water completely supports limbs.
    • The heat of the water dilates blood vessels, stimulates blood circulation, and reduces muscles spasms.
    • Heated water alters the sensation of pain.

    How to Get the Most Relief Out of Your Hot Tub

    1. Make sure the water temperature is not too hot--you don't want to burn yourself! Find a temperature that is warm enough so you can get the heat benefits, but not so hot that you burn or unduly stress your heart. Between 92 and 100 degrees is about right. Anything over 104 degrees is too hot for anyone.
    2. Take your time. The heat of the water is at its maximum benefit after about 20 minutes.
    3. Move around. Many doctors will prescribe exercises that can be done while sitting in a hot tub. These exercises will relax muscles and ease tension, similar to the hydrotherapy done in physical therapy. For lower back pain, try trapping a tennis ball between the small of your back and the bottom or side of the tub. Lean into the ball and roll it against your muscles.
    4. Just add salt. Use magnesium sulfate crystals (also known as Epsom salts) in the hot tub water. They can boost your body's magnesium levels as much as 35 percent. But use caution: use salts only occasionally, and if you are diabetic be aware that magnesium can stimulate insulin release.
    5. Get a massage--hydromassage, that is. While in the tub, have a friend or family member apply massage techniques to relieve arthritic discomfort. A doctor or therapist can show you techniques that will provide relief.
    6. Stretch it out. Once you are done soaking and are out of the tub, do some light stretching. Warm muscles stretch more easily and with less discomfort.
    7. Use it regularly. Ask your doctor for a recommendation, but a typical regimen is 20 minutes in the hot tub 5 times per week. Your situation may vary.
    8. Use it early. The most beneficial time to use a hot tub for arthritis relief is in the morning right after waking up. During the night, your body can become stiff from lack of motion. Using a hot tub in the morning will relieve discomfort, loosen joints and muscles, and invigorate you for the rest of the day.

    Pro Tips

    Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after using your hot tub. Hydration is important! Don't use hot tubs if you have high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you are pregnant. Consult your doctor!

  • How to Maintain a Hot Tub

    How to Maintain a Hot Tub

    It requires regular care and some supplies, but with a little practice you'll be a hot tub maintenance pro in no time!

    Use test strips twice a week.

    The container that holds the strips should have a chart for you to follow. Compare your results with the chart and adjust the chemicals as needed. Focus on keeping balanced chlorine and pH levels first, and worry about the other levels after.

    You want to see the chemistry in the following ranges:

    • 1-5ppm of free chlorine or bromine, depending on which sanitizer you're using
    • The pH should be as close to 7.4 as you can get. A range of 7.2-7.8 is fine.
    • Calcium hardness: 125-400ppm
    • Total alkalinity: 120-180ppm

    Add one chemical at a time.

    When you adjust chemical levels, add one chemical at a time, then wait two hours before adding another. This gives the chemicals time to disperse natually and minimizes any toxic chemical reactions that might occur from mixing chemicals.

    Change the hot tub water completely every 3, 4, or 6 months.

    How often you change the water depends on how often you use the hot tub and how it looks. More use means you'll need to change it more frequently, but if you haven't used it in a while and things look a little off, change it. At a minimum, you should be changing the water 2-4 times a year.

    Condition the hot tub cover monthly.

    Conditioning prolongs the life of the cover by protecting it from UV rays. The cover keeps your tub clean, so it's important that it fit well and be in good shape.

    Hot Tub Maintenance Tips

    • Buy only quality hot tub chemicals from swimming pool and hot tub stores. Cheaper chemicals purchased from general stores are not as effective, which makes them less cost-effective in the long run.
    • Conditioners are for the outside of the hot tub cover only, not the inside.
    • If you are seeing foam in your water, it is usually caused by lotions washing off of people's skin or detergents in swimsuits. Make sure hot tub users rinse off before getting in.
    • Yellow water usually indicates very low pH.
    • Using an ozone generator will reduce the amount of chlorine or bromine you need to use.

    For more tips and troubleshooting, view the Spasandstuff.com Maintenance FAQ here: http://www.spasandstuff.com/hot-tub-and-spa-water-chemistry-FAQ

    Shop for quality hot tub chemicals at affordable prices here.

     

  • Using Hot Tubs to Manage Depression

    Using a Hot Tub to Manage Depression photo by Andrei Niemimäki

    As many as 10% of Americans suffers from depression at some point, with many experiencing chronic depression or depression as part of other mental illnesses such as Bipolar Disorder. Depression can lead to a host of other health issues and, while treatable, therapy and medication costs can add up. Hot tubs can be a great way to alleviate depression symptoms, and may even help stave off the blues altogether with regular use.

    How Hot Tubs Can Help with Depression

    Soaking in the hot water of a hot tub releases endorphins. Endorphins are a feel-good chemical--they cause you to feel contentment and pleasure, and reduce the effects of stress. They also contribute to deep, restful sleep. Sleep is the body's natural way of reducing stress and balances moods. Those who regularly use a hot tub can experience calmer, more even temperaments and fewer episodes of anxiety and depression.

    Relaxing in a hot tub releases endorphins, the body’s natural “feel good” chemical. This chemical helps reduce the effects of stress on the body and leads to long, deep sleep. Relaxing in a hot tub for 10 minutes approximately 90 minutes before bedtime will turn the temperature down on your internal thermostat and help you drift to sleep. With better sleep, reduced stress, and the presence of endorphins, hot tub soakers may experience calmer temperaments and fewer bouts with anxiety and depression.

    The process of using a hot tub to stave off or manage depression has three components:

    • Heat: Immersing yourself in heated water causes the body's core temperature to shift. This shift leads to a feeling of relaxation and can alleviate insomnia.
    • Massage: Massage has long been touted for its healing benefits. The jets in a hot tub have a similar effect on the body, but instead of focusing on one part of the body at a time, the entire body is massaged at once. The massage forces the muscles to relax, and where the body leads, the mind follows: your mind will relax and stress alleviated, which elevates mood.
    • Buoyancy: The buoyancy of the hot tub water relieves stress on the body, particularly the joints. The relaxation of the body, the alleviation of stress-related aches/pain, and the hydrostatic pressure increases improves circulation and respiration. Increased oxygen and blood to the brain is known to alleviate depression symptoms and regulate mood.

    Hot Tubs are not a Substitute for a Doctor's Care

    Hot tubs can be a great way to manage and even stave off depression, especially in cold seasons when your bones really need to be warmed up. However, chronic depression is a serious condition and requires a doctor's care. If you suffer from depression or suspect you do, consult your doctor about your symptoms.

    Above all: Be well. And happy soaking!

     

  • Win an Elegance Hot Tub!

    We are giving away an Elegance Inflatable Portable Hot Tub to one lucky winner!

    There are 4 ways to enter, 4 ways to win:

    1. Click on the Contest button on the top of our Facebook page
    2. “Like” the Promotion post pinned to the top of the Timeline
    3. Leave a comment on the post or on the Facebook page telling us why you want to win
    4. Send us a private message (through Facebook or email) with your name and email address

    Contest runs through May 20! Some restrictions apply. Please read Contest page for Official Rules.

  • Shop Now on Facebook!

    Spasandstuff.com now has a Shop Now feature on our Facebook page! Click on it to view great hot tubs and hot tub products. You can Like products, create a Wishlist, and Share your favorites on your timeline, a friend's timeline, on a page you manage, or in a private message. Use this new Facebook feature to coordinate purchases with friends and family, or to show everyone where they can go to get you the perfect gift.

    View the new Facebook Shop Now feature by visiting our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/SpasAndStuff

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