How Inflatable Hot Tubs can help with Chronic Pain?
Whether you suffer from chronic pain issues or have work or lifestyle habits that put stress on your body, hot tubs can be a great way to find relief. Soaking in a personal hot tub for just twenty minutes is enough to ease physical tension, reduce aches and pains and lessen feelings of stiffness in the muscles.
Most households invest in hot tubs for social reasons. They want to enjoy private spa experiences with friends and family from the comfort of their own garden. What they underestimate, but quickly come to realise, is how physically refreshed a daily soak in the tub will make them feel.
This article explores the health benefits of personal hot tubs and considers whether you should buy one for your home.
The Impact of Hot Tub Soaks on Chronic Pain
Hydrotherapy is a widely recognised tool for pain relief, so it shouldn’t be so surprising to discover hot tubs help with healing. The key to their effectiveness is water’s buoyancy and ability to lift and actively support the body. When load bearing pressures on injured muscle tissues and joints are reduced, pain is lessened and the tissues can invest more energy in healing and cell regeneration.
It’s why hydrotherapy is used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Hot tubs are also commonplace in sports fitness suites because the combination of chemical, mechanical and thermal forces aids recovery.
The benefits of hot tubs for pain relief are well known, but you should still consult your doctor before using one as part of a daily treatment plan. It’s important to be sure your particular ailment will respond well to hydrotherapy.
Here are some medically recognised effects of hot tub hydrotherapy on chronic pain
• Buoyancy of the water holds the body and reduces pressure on muscles and joints.
• Fewer load bearing strains means more energy invested in recovery.
• Sensation of water against the skin decreases strength of pain signals to the brain.
• Immersion in warm water helps tense muscles to relax (less spasming of tissues).
• Studies show time spent in water eases mental tension and relaxes the mind.
Daily soaks in a hot tub contribute to existing pain relief programs for those with chronic conditions, acute discomfort and recurring sports injuries. These spa devices are not just tools for leisure. They enable you to bring the hydrotherapy experience right into your home. For those suffering from lifelong conditions, the potential benefits outweigh the initial expense.
How to Use a Hot Tub to Manage Chronic Pain
To maximise the benefits of hot tub hydrotherapy, those with chronic pain conditions should draw up treatment plans with their primary healthcare provider. Hydrotherapy can be very effective when used in conjunction with other forms of treatment. If your problem is neither chronic nor diagnosed, you can expect one tub soak per day to noticeably lessen muscle stiffness and ease general aches and pains.
Hydrotherapy is most effective when used to treat muscle soreness, tightness and stiffness caused by movement. However, it can also ease stiffness caused by sedentary routines. For instance, if your job involves long hours spent sitting, you’re as likely to experience aches and pains as somebody who exercises or plays sports daily.
This may sound surprising, but scientists know that inactivity decreases muscle tissues’ resistance to fatigue. The cells begin to atrophy and, over time, lesser and lesser amounts of physical activity begin to cause pain. Those with sedentary lifestyles (who are able) should take steps to introduce more movement to their daily routines. If there’s a medical reason for prolonged inactivity, hydrotherapy can help to keep the tissues supple and flexible until a recovery is complete.
Here are some tips on making hot tub hydrotherapy work for you:
Use the Whole Hot Tub
For optimal results, use the hot tub alone (social applications can be enjoyed separately). Where possible, carefully move around the interior of the tub utilising as much space as you can. This will allow you to experience the hydrotherapy jets from multiple angles.
Sit in every seat. Position your body in different ways but make sure you always feel comfortable and supported by the water. Avoid positions that require you to balance precariously or put strain on any one part of your body.
Switch Up the Intensity
Just as different types (and intensities) of physical activity target muscles in different ways, variable hydrotherapy can affect muscle tissues in multifarious ways. Don’t be afraid to switch things up and transition from strong hydrotherapy jets to softer ones and then back again, or vice versa.
Use the hot tub’s jet controls to personalise your soak and get the deepest possible tissue massages and pain relief. If unsure, speak with your doctor about the most effective way to soak in a spa at home.
Start with Short Soaks
Hydrotherapy isn’t an exact science because its effects are related to the type of pain or damage experienced. If you want to enjoy hot tub soaks and get maximum pain relief, it’s all about trying different things until you find the right formula (time in the tub, jet intensity, body positions, etc) for you. Speaking with a doctor can help but experience is just as valuable.
Start with relatively short twenty minute soaks. According to musculoskeletal researchers, twenty minutes is the minimum time required for hot tub jets to have a noticeable effect on stiffness, tightness or pain. Everybody’s body is different, so twenty minutes in the tub may be ideal for somebody else but too brief for you. Try different things.
Increase the Heat Gradually
The warmth of the water is another reason hydrotherapy is so effective. However, sudden exposure to very hot temperatures can cause, not reduce, stress responses in the body and trigger inflammation.
It is always best to start with a comfortably warm temperature and increase the heat slowly if you prefer to soak in hot water. This gives the body, and the skin in particular, enough time to adjust. It doesn’t need to expend unnecessary energy on emergency cooling via profuse sweating and the contraction of blood vessels.
Our recommendation is to start with the hot tub water at 98 to 100 degrees and increase it gradually if you so wish.
Always Stay Hydrated
Hydration is extra important when soaking in a hydrotherapy hot tub. The heat gradually depletes a body’s water levels by causing skin to flush and perspire. This isn’t a concern or a problem provided you stay well hydrated.
Sip on water throughout your time in the tub. It won’t just quench your thirst, it’ll keep your muscle tissues hydrated as well. The more hydrated your muscles, the more flexible and resistant they are to fatigue and injury.
The Final Word On Using Hot Tubs for Pain Relief
For those with chronic pain conditions, hot tubs can be more than tools of leisure. They accelerate recovery, provide relief to strained muscle tissues and joints and allow the body to reach a state of relaxation that facilitates long term healing.