Soaking in a hot tub at your rental cabin is more than just relaxing. That tub is full of warm, bubbling health benefits. Here are six ways your hot tub is your own private health spa.
1. Alleviate muscle aches and headaches
Warm water dilates blood vessels, opening them wider and increasing blood flow. This can reduce headaches, muscle spasms, and aches and pains. Water’s buoyancy relaxes muscles, while the jets of water act like massaging fingers.
2. Relieve back pain
Studies indicate that hydrotherapy—including immersion in warm water—helps relieve back pain, especially the lower back pain that plagues nearly 80 percent of Americans at one time or another. In a hot tub, you can immerse yourself deeply enough for your whole back to feel relief.
3. Ease arthritic joints
The Arthritis Foundation says water reduces gravity’s pressure on your joints, and lifts and supports the limbs. Warm water’s dilating effects speed blood and oxygen to muscles, reducing inflammation.
4. Improve skin
Hot water and steam open pores, allowing skin to unclog, detoxify and brighten. Be sure to take a lukewarm shower after you’re done with the tub, and moisturize.
5. Reduce blood pressure
A Canadian study found that hot tub use safely reduced blood pressure in patients with hypertension. But before you go hot tubbing, be sure to talk to your doctor if you’ve got heart issues or high blood pressure.
6. Improve your mental health
Your vacation is already relaxing you. Add daily hot tub time to your vacation days and feel the tension melt away. The heat helps the body release endorphins—your body’s own calming chemicals. Increasing your body temperature before you go to bed can help you sleep better, too.
To get maximum benefits from hot tubbing, remember these safety basics:
Keep the temperature down. A water temperature around 100 degrees is OK for most adults but adjust the temperature lower as needed.
Limit your time. It’s tempting to soak for ages but don’t. Fifteen to 30 minutes is the recommended limit for most people.
Be prepared. Have towels, a robe, and shoes waiting so when you leave the tub, you don’t get too cold. Especially in winter, moving from a hot tub into cold air suddenly can be a shock.
Avoid the hot tub if you’re pregnant. People with heart or skin problems might need to stay out, too. Know before you go—check with a doctor.