Heat: Family enjoying a hot tub!
Everyone knows that a hot tub is hot - it's right there in the name! But not everyone knows of the great benefits to the body when you spend a few minutes in your spa.
When your body absorbs heat, several subtle physiological processes occur. First, as your body warms up, blood flow is increased. The warming of your blood causes your blood vessels to dilate. Blood pressure is subsequently reduced - often in as little as 20 minutes.
Additionally, the hot water also causes muscle relaxation as heat from the water is carried deep into your muscles. Normally, your body tries to cool itself by carrying heat to the surface via your blood. Unlike a bathtub, a spa can maintain a hot water temperature indefinitely. So while you are soaking in a hot tub, your blood doesn't recalculate at a reduced temperature. It returns deep within your body at a warmer temperature than before, delivering therapeutic heat where other treatments cannot.
Furthermore, the central nervous system's sensitivity it muted, as your body focuses its attention on the heat gain. This brings about temporary pain relief. This neurological affect can happen with any gradual increase or decrease in your body's temperature - but soaking in warm water sure sounds nicer than the alternative!
Even the fittest among us has a lot of weight on our joints. Think of your feet and ankles - they support almost all of your body's weight - every day, all day long. Other joints are constantly in motion - your knees, elbows, and wrists, for example. And unfortunately, everyone either has experienced some sort of back pain, or knows someone who has.
When we are sitting in a spa, the natural buoyancy of the water supports approximately 90% of our weight. This obviously reduces the strain on our joints, by giving them a little "down time" from the daily grind. Pressure is greatly reduced on all of your joints and muscles while you are relaxing in your hot tub.
Anyone who has used a hot tub before is familiar with the relaxing affect of the jets themselves, and their obvious benefits. Focused streams of water - with warmed air mixed within the flow - can provide a therapeutic massage that you can control, depending on how gentle or intense you want it to feel.
Hot tubs are equipped with nozzles of various sizes, pressures, configurations, and quantities - all designed to target particular portions of your body. Smaller groups of jets will hit pinpoint muscles around your neck. Many jets will focus on certain portions of your back. Larger flow jets will actually sweep up and down your entire back, just to the sides of your spine. Tiny jets will spin around your wrists. Other jets will aim for your calves, feet, or arms. Like a trained masseuse, the spa's jets can soothe sore muscles any time you need.