health benefits of swimming are
well-known. But did you know that
spas and saunas offer health benefits
centuries now, health conscious
people have recognized the benefits
of soaking in natural hot springs.
far back as the ancient Egyptians,
hot springs have been cherished
as places of soothing retreat
and as a relaxing means of reducing
In recent years, hot water
therapy has gained the endorsement
of physicians and athletic trainers
for the treatment of pain and
injuries. Soaking in a spa or
relaxing in a sauna promotes health
in several ways.
in warm water speeds up the body’s
natural healing process and helps
to relieve muscular pain.
in a spa increases circulation by
raising body temperature and causing
blood vessels to dilate. The resulting
increased blood flow speeds up the
body’s natural healing process.
The massaging action of the jets
loosens muscles and pushes toxins
out of the sore area.
high heat stimulates the body to
release of endorphins, the body’s
naturally occurring painkillers.
Water’s buoyancy reduces body weight
by about 90%, so pressure on joints
and muscles is relieved.
allows people to get needed exercise,
condition and strengthen muscles,
without placing undue stress on
Arthritis Foundation has documented
that hydrotherapy can be beneficial
in easing the muscle pain and fatigue
caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia
and related diseases.
addition, they found that hot
water therapy decreases swelling
and stiffness, and helps increase
flexibility and range of motion.
using infrared, dry or steam heat,
provide many of the same benefits
of soothing muscle aches and pain.
speeding up the elimination of
lactic acids from muscles, warm
therapy can also ease muscle pain
and fatigue caused by strenuous
exercise. In addition, saunas
induce deep sweating, reducing
toxins and cleansing the skin.
Calories are burned through the
sweating process and through accelerated
Warm therapies may also help you
sleep better, according to the National
Sleep Foundation and other medical
in a spa or sauna, the core body
temperature is raised; the body
temperature drops after leaving
the warm environment, which may
be a signal to the body that it’s
time to sleep, easing the transition
into a deeper sleep. A spa is also
a great stress reducer.
properties of the water in itself
may have sleep-promoting effects.
Additionally, pain is often a problem
that causes people to have trouble
sleeping. Pain, anxiety, and lack
of restful sleep frequently occur
together in an escalating cycle
that is difficult to break. The
healing waters of a hot tub may
help to break this cycle.
promoting better sleep and an increases
sense of well-being, a spa provides
safe "exercise" for people
who cannot exercise rigorously.
Mayo Clinic study indicated that
soaking in a hot tub for 15 minutes
induces mild cardiovascular stress,
recommended for people with heart
disease. Regular sauna use can also
improve heart rate and cardiac output.
Increased blood flow also is helpful
to those with circulatory problems,
such as certain cardio-pulmonary
issues, certain types of diabetes,
varicose veins and swollen ankles.
In addition to the benefits of increased
circulation, the hydrostatic pressure
exerted on the body by the water
approaches the pressure in the venous
According to Doreen M. Stiskal,
Ph.D., assistant chair of the graduate
program at Seton Hall University
in South Orange, N.J., "Within
30 minutes of exposure, the pressure
‘pushes’ water out of the spaces
between tissues and back into the
vascular system for elimination
by the body."
may also be beneficial to people
1999, the New England Journal of
Medicine documented several health
benefits of soaking in a hot tub
for people with type 2 diabetes
mellitus, such as reducing blood
sugar levels by 13%.
New hot tub users should vary the
temperature and length or soaking
time to determine what is most comfortable.
Water temperatures will normally
range from 98-104 degrees F. with
soaking times of about 10-15 minutes.
Keep in mind that children and elderly
people are more prone to become
overheated and may need to adjust
temperature and soaking time according
to their personal limits. It is
advisable to get up slowly when
getting out of a spa or sauna because
blood vessels will be dilated.
up slowly will help avoid orthostatic
hypotension, a drop in blood pressure
when you sit or stand too quickly
after lying down or sitting, which
can be a concern for some people.
is important to follow your physician’s
guidance about time limits and temperature
of spas and saunas.