Health Benefits of HydrotherapyPosted: February 25, 2022
Anyone who has owned or enjoyed a spa session can tell you it is a supremely relaxing experience that soothes the body and reinvigorates the mind, but what if there’s more to it than that? What if there are other tangible health benefits that hydrotherapy provides? Well it turns out there are, along with numerous studies to back them up.
However, just a note before we begin that hydrotherapy is not a substitute for treatment advised by a medical professional and you should consult with your doctor concerning any and all medical issues.
Easing stress seems like a pretty common sense benefit of spa therapy, given that relaxation is the number one feature of any spa. But less stress can have a significant impact on the rest of life, also easing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
A soak in the morning can have you starting the rest of your day invigorated and relaxed, ready to take on the day, while a session before bedtime (90 minutes before for max benefit) can help you unwind and shed off the tension built up from your day. Just taking a little bit of time each day to get away from all of life’s distractions and rest in a calm, comfortable place can have quite the effect on mental health.
Everyone has muscles, and everyone’s muscles get stiff, tense, and knot up from time to time. If you are (or have been) an avid gym goer you might be used to foam rolling your muscles before/after a workout session. A massage seat in a spa is like the ultimate foam roller for all of your muscles. The pressure of the jets combined with the heat of the water and taking pressure off joints by gently floating will relax your muscles like nothing else. A soak before exercise can help prevent injury, and a soak after will reduce the effect of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Did you know that, according to The Sleep Foundation, approximately 132 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia more than once a week? That’s a lot of sleep debt building up!
A study on the effect of hydrotherapy on sleep, involving a group of older female adults that suffered from insomnia, found that a hydrotherapy session before bedtime leads to more restful, deep, and continuous sleep. A 2012 study also found that hydrotherapy could increase quality of life, functional capacity, and sleep quality in patients with fibromyalgia.
Hydrotherapy can provide relief from discomfort and pain associated with certain medical conditions as well, although you might have guessed that relaxed muscles don’t hurt as much as stiff ones, it does go slightly deeper than that.
Soaking in hot water can relieve pain by relaxing tense muscles, joints, and tendons. Also, in a spa you are neutrally buoyant, which takes pressure off your body and allows for the strengthening of flexibility and range of motion. The heat widens your blood vessels which send nutrient rich blood throughout your body. Hydrotherapy has also been shown in multiple studies to reduce the symptoms of lower back pain.
A good soak in the spa can be a great workout for your heart. It will raise your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, which according to this 2003 study, can be accomplished with just a 10 minute spa session. You also burn calories while you relax!
How to Get the Most Out of Your Spa Session
- Soak in water with a max temp of 104
- Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol before or during your soak
- Set a time limit for 10-15 minutes. Exit the spa if you become lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous, have skin redness, or become short of breath
- Rinse off after you soak with lukewarm water. Do not go from hot water to icy water immediately as this can be a shock to your body and spike your blood pressure
Spas are great for relaxing but they can provide so many other great health benefits. Hopefully you are taking advantage of them by spending a little bit of time each day to pause and do some much needed self-care.
Hot tub water should be properly maintained to ensure the health and safety of all bathers. Consult with your doctor before spa use if you have heart issues, are pregnant, or dealing with a skin related injury.