THE BENEFITS OF HYDROTHERAPY

For centuries mankind has been using hot water to cure what ails us. From the Roman baths to the backyard hot tub, we love to soak in warm water to relax and soothe our aches and pains. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is reputed to have prescribed hydrotherapy to his patients thousands of years ago. Today, people suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, soft tissue injuries, diabetes and even the common cold are seeing benefits from simply soaking in a relaxing hot tub.

“We discovered the real benefit of it quite by accident,” says Nova Scotia orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Eric Howatt. His wife suffered injuries after a serious car accident in 1999. She was talked into trying a friend’s hot tub one night when she was in particular pain. “She got in the hot tub at their request and she was like a new person when she came out.” It wasn’t long before the Howatt’s had their own hot tub and she was using it two or three times a day. “It was the thing that kept her going,” says Dr. Howatt.

Saskatoon writer Bonnie Zink too finds relief soaking in hot water. She uses a jet bathtub, but the result is the same. A long time sufferer of osteoarthritis, she often finds medications don’t alleviate the aching in her back and neck enough. She says soaking in hot water works wonders. “It loosens my muscles, which then alleviates the pains that I experience. Headaches dissipate. Joints become limber and almost pain free.”

Hydrotherapy is commonly used in physiotherapy and rehabilitation activities but having a hot tub at home can provide immediate relief for everything from diabetes to sleep problems. Doug Gillespie of Hydropool Hot Tubs in Toronto says a lot of customers report a calmer, healthier lifestyle after buying a hot tub. “The number one reason people are buying hot tubs is for well-being and stress relief. If you can hop into a hot tub and the snow is falling or the stars are out, spend a little time with your family and friends, a hot tub allows people to reconnect. Outside of the health benefits it certainly promotes a lot of togetherness for the family.”

New products are also improving the hot tub experience. Lorette Kalender, CEO of Pharmaspa, is promoting the use of aromatherapy and herbal supplements in the bath or hot tub. “One of my customers, since they started using our tiger balm crystals, no longer takes pain killers. They soak in that every day and they no longer have to take medication.” The theory behind the therapeutic fragrance is that while the body absorbs the water care products in the hot tub water, it is also absorbing the beneficial extracts in the aromatherapy product.

Regardless of the marketing spin, medical evidence supports hot tub health claims. Soaking in hot water lowers blood pressure and allows the blood to bring more oxygen deeper into the tissue, while at the same time more efficiently cleaning out the carbon dioxide. More antibodies are produced, therefore boosting the immune system, and endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killer, are released easing aches and pains. So do something good for yourself and go soak in a hot tub to allow the warm water soothe your body and mind!

On May 4th, 2011, posted in: Uncategorized by
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