There’s something magical about soaking in a hot tub. The hot, bubbly water and jets provide a mini escape and a way to unwind in a way that’s almost impossible to replicate. But taking the plunge of actually buying a hot tub and installing it in your garden can be fairly intimidating, since there are costs involved with the actual purchase, installation, maintenance, and electric bills. Still, if you can have the budget and the space, we think you may really want to consider adding this luxurious accessory to your home. Not totally convinced? Here are some reasons why:
Hot tubs can be used year-round
Swimming pools are great in the summer when it’s warm, but hot tubs can be enjoyed winter, spring, summer, and fall. In fact, a hot tub often allows you to be outside and enjoy things like a starry night, freshly fallen snow, changing leaves, and colorful sunsets when you might otherwise not be inclined or able to do so.
Hot tubs are relaxing
Whether you’re in the hot tub alone or with friends, enjoying an adult beverage or hydrating with water, soaking in the sunshine or under the stars, a hot tub will help ease you into a state of relaxation. You can read a book, mediate, escape you’re your electronic devices, or simply enjoy some quiet down time. Between the heat and the soothing bubbles, even a short soak will help you alleviate stress and enhance your sense of well-being.
It’s a private and consistent retreat
Sure, you might be able to use the spa at your gym or a friend’s house, but you don’t have to pay a monthly fee to use your own hot tub (though your electric bill will go up a couple of hundred dollars a year) or wait for an invite, it will be right in your backyard or on your deck, and you can even forego the bathing suit if you want.
It can be your personal oasis
There are so many types of hot tubs now; you can customize yours to be whatever you want. You choose the size (anywhere from 3 to 9 people), color, number and style of jets, LED lighting, controls, and can even add a stereo system and take it with you wherever you go, if that’s what you want to do. Whether you want your hot tub to be a family gathering place, a romantic spot, or a party destination, you can design it so that it has all of the perfect features for your needs
There are lots of health benefits
Most people are quick to recognize that hot tubs are relaxing and a nice addition to a home, but did you know that they have health benefits too?
The word spa is an acronym for “salus per aquam,” a Latin phrase that means “health from water.” The hot water in a hot tub can help increase circulation and blood flow, relax muscles, and ease pain. The natural buoyancy that occurs when we’re in a hot tub also reduces strain and pressure on our joints and muscles and gives them a small break from all of the hard work they do day and night. Some of these health benefits include, but are not limited to:
Aches and pains
Almost one-third of adults have some form of arthritis, never mind the number of people who suffer from stiff muscles and headaches. Hydrotherapy is especially helpful to those with joint pain as body weight is lifted by 90 percent due to the water’s buoyancy. The Arthritis Society states that there over 100 kinds of arthritis, but the most common involves joint pain. Programs use hot water therapy as it “improves joint mobility, muscle strength and general health and fitness.”
Those who have to endure headaches, particularly sinus headaches, often find that the hot tub can help too. The warm, moist air helps to open up the nasal passages and allows more oxygen into the body. People with serious chronic pain as experienced in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can also alleviate pain in just a quarter of an hour a day.
Stress relief and sleep
It’s hard to stay stressed out when you sit in a hot tub for 15 minutes. The heat, massaging bubbles and buoyancy of the water are great for washing away the stresses of the day. In 2011, 23.6% of adults reported that most of their days were “extremely or quite a bit stressful,” an increase from the previous year. There is no reason to believe that this upwards trend has abated either. From a therapy standpoint, sitting in a hot tub works wonders as it raises the body temperature and lowers your blood pressure. When you get out, your body temperature drops, making you feel sleepy and relaxed – the perfect state before bed. Studies show that just 15 minutes in a 103-degree tub is enough to induce sleep.
In the past, many people were warned about using a hot tub if they had hypertension (high blood pressure) however, a 2003 study done at the Cardiovascular Risk Factor Reduction Unit of the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon has laid that myth to rest. The study concluded that “spending 10 minutes in a hot tub should be safe for most treated hypertensive patients” and their reactions were little different from non-hypertensive subjects. Heat from hot tubs actually causes blood vessels to open up, which decreases blood pressure.
Blood pressure is constantly changing to maintain homeostasis (internal balance) within the body. Since temperature change can disrupt homeostasis, blood pressure adjusts to maintain body heat. Consequently, blood pressure will rise when temperatures drop, and drop when temperatures rise.
Type 2 diabetes improvements
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that those who spent 30 minutes per day in a hot tub had a 13% decrease in blood sugar levels, lost weight and slept more soundly. Patients with diabetes should remember that this study was done with medical supervision. As blood sugar is an issue, those with Type 2 diabetes should show extra care after sitting in the hot tub. When the session is complete it is important to get out slowly to avoid dizziness.
As you can see, the health benefits of a hot tub are broad and surprising. Hot water therapy is both safe and affordable and suitable for any age provided it is handled responsibly. If you need relief without medication, a hot tub may be the answer.
But what sort of hot tub should you buy?
Inflatable models are the most affordable way to get into a spa, and Portable Tubs HQ explains the best portable hot tub and inflatable spas, so you can choose the right one for you and your family without having to traipse around the shops! These spas are easy to set up, comfortable to use and some models are even portable. Inflatable spas are also a lot sturdier than you might think, too. Set up is easy; simply inflate the spa, connect it to the pump heater, fill with water and you are ready to start heating the water to your desired temperature. After that all you need to do is climb in, turn on the air blower and enjoy a relaxing massage.
For a more permanent spa, look for a rigid hot tub. They can be fully integrated into your garden, either by being set into the ground, or by having decking built around them. They do require a little more work to install, but once in place, they simply connect to a standard electrical outlet and are ready to use at any time. Rigid spas have contoured seating set into them that allow you to choose between sitting upright or lounging comfortably with your feet raised. They also offer a wide variety of extras to enhance your experience – everything from aromatherapy systems that release scents to underwater LED lighting systems. Some models even feature Mp3 audio systems and Bluetooth connectivity.
Heating your hot tub
Once your spa is set up it will heat up by around 1.5-2 degrees per hour. Once heated to the desired temperature, the heater will switch off and only come on again to get back up to the set temperature, just like central heating in your house.
How to look after your hot tub
Spas don’t need as much maintenance as you might think, but you will want to carry out a little work to keep your hot tub in top condition. Like any other pool, you’ll need to add chlorine to the water in your spa, as this prevents bacteria from growing in the water. For spas, you’ll want to use quick dissolving chlorine granules – simply sprinkle it over the water, or pre-dilute it in warm water before pouring it in. Allow the chlorine to dissolve, and after a couple of hours check the pH and chlorine levels of the water – they should be somewhere around 7.0-7.6.
If you’re buying a rigid spa, look for models made from microban acrylic, as this material is actually designed to inhibit the growth of microbes. Also look out for those that offer an ozone generation system, as this will help kill bacteria and reduce the need for chemicals.