• 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.



  • 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!


  • 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!

  • 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!


  • Aromatherapy in the Hot Tub

    Autumn is here! Can you feel it? Many of you across the country are getting the first peek at autumn's cool mornings, crisp air, and orange leaves. With the cooler temperatures, the hot tub is calling to us, and there's no reason not to take the hot tub experience and ramp it up a notch with a little aromatherapy.

    Aromatherapy is loosely defined as the art of using natural essences to promote the body's health. Many believe using aromatherapy in your hot tub can facilitate psychological, physiological, and spiritual health.

    Additional benefits
    Implementing aromatherapy into your hot tub experience can enhance your mental and physical state. Advocates of aromatherapy have reported the experience alleviates stress; corrects skin irritations; battles depression; and curtails anxiety.

    Olfactory Aromatherapy
    Aromatherapy can take place using a few methods, yet hot tubs use 'olfactory aromatherapy.' When inhaled, the brain's limbic system is stimulated. The nervous, endocrine, and immune systems can be influenced, which elicits bodily responses. Depending on the scent, particular body parts and areas can be stimulated or relaxed.

    Different scents, different response
    Using particular aromatherapy scents can elicit different responses in one's body. Here is a handy list taken from the Essortment Web site, three brief scents and effects:

    • Vanilla scents can lower your stress levels and heart rate
    • Peppermint, jasmine, and citrus can make you feel invigorated and recharged
    • Green apple can help with headaches

    Maybe explore the olfactory world a little and put together some scents for the season: pumpkin, spice, cedar, pine, cranberry, or apple.
    About Aromatherapy - Source:
    Aromatherapy Overview - Source: WebMD

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