Who doesn’t love a relaxing soak in a hot tub? As your muscles relax, your mind can relax. You can let your worries go and simply enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
But as scientific research and good luck would have it, enjoyment is not the only benefit you can gain from regular hot tub use. This is especially true as you age.
Time isn’t always kind to the human body. It can seem like you have more aches and pains in more places. Sprains and strains take longer to heal. Just moving around can sometimes feel like a chore.
This is where inflatable hot tubs really come in handy! In this article, learn what modern medicine has to say about the top three reasons hot tubs are beneficial to your health as you age.
Hot Tubs Ease Everyday Acute and Chronic Aches and Pains
WebMD promotes the use of hot tubs for a variety of health conditions that can cause aches and pains, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and low back pain.
Here is why. Warmth from the water sends a message to the blood vessels to widen. This in turn increases circulation throughout your body. Improved circulation sends healing blood to sore areas and also speeds removal of toxins from your body.
Most importantly, as a recent study published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences explains, the buoyancy of the warm water can take pressure off joints and help to ease swelling and pain.
This same study also highlighted some important additional benefits of warm water therapy, including colon spasms, fatigue, pain, immune system function and even anxiety.
The study did highlight the importance of temperature adjustment depending on the specific health need. Always talk with your doctor for specific guidance about setting your hot tub thermostat for the best results in treating a particular health condition.
SAFETY NOTE: If you have heart disease, always talk with your doctor before using hot tubs. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, it is very important to talk with your doctor before using a hot tub.
Hot Tubs Can Be Medically Prescribed for Hydrotherapy
Did you know that Medicare will pay for inflatable hot tubs if the use is prescribed by your physician to treat a specific health condition?
As Turbo Tax points out, the prescription may need to specify that you need “water therapy” (hydrotherapy) in order to have a portion or all of the cost reimbursed.
Where possible, talk with your doctor first and obtain the prescription for the hot tub before you go shopping. If you take your prescription with you when you shop, you may be eligible for a waiver of any sales tax since you have a medical need.
If your health insurance plan does not cover your hot tub purchase, you may still be able to deduct the cost on your annual federal taxes. IRS Publication 502 explains more about how to do this (and of course always talk with your accountant for guidance).
One common reason that some senior patients require a prescription for hydrotherapy is inability to exercise.
As HealthGrades explains, one frequent example is patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.
A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine highlighted how warm water immersion therapy could lower blood glucose, decrease resistance to insulin, aid in weight loss and even improve sleep.
SAFETY NOTE: Many patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus have neuropathy which can cause loss of sensation in extremities. This can lead to burns. HealthGrades recommends keeping water temperatures at 105°F (40.5°C) for safety.
Hot Tubs Can Improve Sleep and Heart Health
A presentation by researchers at the the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute of Washington State University shared results showing that hot tubs can be useful for two of the main issues that adults and senior adults battle today: sleep disruption and heart health.
Calling the findings “the science behind the soak,” the study data speaks for itself.
Improvement in sleep from hot tub use.
Researchers discovered that an extended soak in a hot tub has a profound impact on the body’s autonomic nervous system (para-sympathetic nervous system) – the part that is responsible for the fight-or-flight response.
The benefits of this impact include a reduction in anxiety, an increase in relaxation, an improvement in cognition and memory and enhancement to sleep at night.
The buoyancy of the warm water is linked with these sleep improvements. A hot tub soak can provide weightlessness of up to 90 percent, easing joint pressure and producing an increase in internal body temperature.
Use of a hot tub is particularly highlighted since the hot tub maintains a constant water temperature throughout the soak.
When the person exits the hot tub, there is a decrease in body temperature, which is one of the key internal triggers that tells the body it is time for sleep.
Improvement in heart health from hot tub use.
In this same presentation, the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute of Washington State University shared results of a two-year study to look at the link between hot tub use and heart health.
The lead researchers discovered that regular immersion in warm water at a temperature of 102°F (38°C) made the heart muscles work more efficiently, had a protective effect on even pumping, lowered blood pressure, raising heart rate and overall strengthening heart function.
Hot tub technology has come a long way today. Now it is possible to have your own personal hot tub no matter what your living situation may be thanks to new inflatable hot tubs.
From body pain to heart health, diabetes recovery to sleep improvements, warm water soaks in a personal hot tub can be helpful at any age or stage of life.
Best of all, having a personal hot tub can provide benefits to every family member now and over the long-term.