Each year, one in five Americans is affected by mental ill health. With our hectic lifestyles and busy schedules, many of us experience daily stress, and must manage it in order to look after both our mental and our physical health. Sleep, diet and exercise are often covered when we think about looking after our overall well-being, but we often overlook relaxation, and not many of us think about the potential health benefits of a regular soak in a well-cared for hot tub.
Soaking in warm water has been associated with improvements in cognitive function and balancing the autonomic nervous system, helping with conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress. Additional benefits come from the relaxation of muscles, which is encouraged by your buoyancy in the water: as your body relaxes, your mind follows suit, relieving the symptoms of everyday stress, which can impact on sleep and, in turn, have an effect on your emotional health the following day. Hot-tub relaxation can relax you ready for a good night’s sleep, gently raising your body temperature and creating the optimum conditions for restful sleep.
Rarely do we think about the physical benefits offered by a hot tub, such as in relieving physical pain. Soaking in a hot tub increases mobility and reduces pressure on the joints, while simultaneously increasing blood flow and easing inflammation. One in every five adults suffers from arthritis, a painful condition that affects the joints and responds well to warm water treatment. Studies also suggest that the pain experienced by those with fibromyalgia is effectively eased by hydrotherapy, and patients experiencing chronic back pain also report improvements after soaking in warm water. Even those who do not live with a diagnosed condition can benefit from the pain-easing effects of soaking in a hot tub. Just as as stressed-out mind can be relaxed by the warm water, so too can the muscles.
We often think of warm baths when we think of relaxation and easing tired, sore, muscles, but we tend not to think about how we could expand on the benefits, really using the power of water in our everyday lives to benefit our physical and mental health. The temperature in a hot tub is constantly maintained and can be prepared ahead, and there’s no question of fitting comfortably. Hydrotherapy offers a wealth of benefits, both physical and mental, and the power to build our own hot tubs now makes that a therapy we can access regularly from the comfort of our own homes.
-- Jennifer Glendale