Cheers to Your Health: A Good Old Soak Is What the Doctor Ordered This Winter
The gentle and soothing properties of hot water come from our ancient forebears. As early as 2000B.C, the Egyptians used hot stones to warm their water and invoke relaxation. The Ancient Greeks also formalised bathing with elaborate bathing houses built around hot springs. Then the Romans emulated the Greeks and used bathing to heal battle wounds of their legions.
Generally experts agree that the optimal temperature range for a good soak is somewhere between 37°C – 40 °C. Whether you want to seek relief from sore muscles or a chronic long-term condition, having a spa heater in your spa can be a godsend to harried and exhausted people everywhere.
Fountain of Youth
Research by Prof. Joel M. Stager at the University of Indiana, has shown that regular swimming slows down the ageing process by as much as 20%. Although Stager did his research on competitive swimmers, he believes that health benefits filter into all strata of society.
There are plenty of cardiovascular benefits of sitting in a spa up to your neck. Basically the hot water emitted from the spa heater will trigger a physiological response in your body. Your heart will pump blood faster and cardiac volume increases by up to a third. In layman's terms this means that your heart is getting an almighty workout to help moderate the temperature of your body.
Work it Out
Resistance caused by the water makes movement more challenging, compared to exercising or stretching outside of the spa. This means that a water-based workout will strengthen your heart and mobilise your muscles, although at the same time your joints are buffered and protected from gravity by the water.
Sleep like a Baby
At least one in three Australians have insomnia of some kind. Insomniacs take note – a hot tub and trusted spa heater can be a veritable god send, enabling you to get a good night's rest. According to the Sleep Health Foundation in Australia, the key is to establish a solid sleeping routine. Insomnia, anxiety and depression are common bedfellows and tend to influence your ability to sleep. However a good soak in a spa can address all of these problems at once. Although it's not by any means a blanket solution, it does prompt relaxation and is holistically soothing to mind, body and spirit. Like a gift you can give to yourself, when done regularly it will prompt much needed zzz.
Mind Over Matter
Let's be realistic – a hot tub or spa won't be a catch-all cure for all illnesses, but it does sooth and ease the symptoms of a diverse range of different conditions. For example spa soaks on a regular basis can form an important part of therapy for cancer patients. While this can never replace formal treatment like radiation, chemotherapy or surgery, hot tubs can be a complementary treatment to ease the emotional strain of the disease.
This sort of secondary treatment is vital for cancer patients, the National Cancer Institute estimates that 23% of patients have anxiety problems. And hormones like cortisol that are triggered by anxiety are linked with cancer cell growth. So regular spa soaks can help to mitigate against this damage.
Relief from Aches and Pains
For aeons, soaking in hot tubs has been a way of soaking away one's aches and pains. Science has since verified the effectiveness of spas in relieving the pain or arthritis, sports injuries and chronic physical conditions. The soothing warm water and buoyancy creates an atmosphere or safety and harmony that's hard to replicate by other means. As blood vessels dilate in response to the hot water, this increases circulation. This means that swelling and pain decreases and this has flow-on effects for mobility of the muscles and joints.
One 2007 study by the Arthritis Foundation in Australia found that a one hour, twice weekly soak for 12 weeks, resulted in significant improvements in pain and function for patients with knee and hit osteoarthritis.
Diabetes and Weight Loss
As an added bonus, a good long spa can help to regulate blood sugar levels and assist with managing diabetes. A study published a few years ago in the New England Journal of Medicine by McKee Medical Centre in Colorado had some intriguing results. Participants in the study took spa soaks for 30 minutes per day, six days per week and lost approximately 2 kilos after 3 weeks, without any other changes to diet, exercise or lifestyle factors. What's even better, participants experienced a balancing of their blood glucose levels, improved sleeping patterns and a greater sense of well-being.
The occasional long soak should be every human's birth right. It's a simple ritual that guarantees some temporary bliss and can also provide proven health benefits for chronic conditions. If you're feeling under the weather and need a pick-me-up, look for a reliable and blissful spa heat pump for some homespun decadence.