Owning or using a hot tub comes with far more benefits than most people realize at first. Of course, a hot tub is a great way to relax, but for athletes or those of us who aspire to athleticism, a hot tub can aid your exploits in more than a few ways.
Athletes meet hydrotherapy. Whether you are a professional athlete or you like to play beer league baseball every other summer – a hot tub and the hydrotherapy that you can do with it carry many health benefits.
In this article, we’re going to take a good look at who stands to benefit from hot tub hydrotherapy, who should consult a doctor first (everybody) and some unexpected perks that come with the territory. Let’s wade in!
What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is a fantastic way to reap many benefits of water. All life on earth comes from water so it would make sense that it still carries many health benefits.
There are many different ways to do water therapy from exercise and motion to contrasting temperatures (hot and cold). What makes hydrotherapy so beneficial for athletes comes from the properties of the water.
Weightlessness / Buoyancy
This is one of the main properties that make water a unique environment for our bodies to be in. As we all know too well, gravity is constantly pulling us down. In an aquatic environment, there is a force resisting gravity – buoyancy.
This helps take the strain off of our bodies in a way that no other environment can replicate. Buoyancy on its own can help relieve the pain of injuries and take the strain off of tired joints.
This property is another pain reliever. The best way to describe hydrostatic pressure and its effect is to have you think about the difference between walking in water up to your knees and walking in water up to your shoulders.
While buoyancy helps work against gravity, the hydrostatic pressure acts as a sort of compression on your whole body and this is a good thing.
Hydrostatic pressure helps to improve blood circulation and prevents the blood from pooling or gathering in the lower regions of the body. Of course, a hot tub comes with jets that can focus this pressure into trouble areas as well.
Water does not sit still – it is constantly pushing and pulling, moving around. This property is known as turbulence and while it may sound like something of an obstacle, it is a good one.
The resistance that is always changing and challenging your body gently helps you to build strength, balance and coordination naturally. Just by standing in the water, you are doing your body good.
The heat of the water is good for loosening up tight muscles and helping you to relax. If you are suffering from muscle spasms the heat can also help alleviate or reduce the spasms. The heat of the water is also very good for your circulation.
It is important to note that if you are trying to treat a fresh injury, you should ice it first.
If an injury is swelling, heat is not going to help. You need to wait until the swelling is under control or stopped and you are on the mend before getting into a hot tub. Otherwise, the heat, combined with hydrostatic pressure and the other properties is of great benefit to athletes – working out or recovering.
Hot tubs are equipped with a variety of jets that can provide the most stress-prone areas of your body with a soothing massage. Learn more about the jets inside of Dimension One Spas here!
What are the Benefits of Hot Tub Hydrotherapy for Athletes?
1. Better Performance
We know that this is going to be right at the top of the list for healthy athletes and so it is at the top of ours. By reaping the rewards of improved circulation and warming up the muscles and even exercising them, time in a hot tub is training time and is time well spent.
2. Reduced Risk of Injury
By performing hot tub hydrotherapy athletes as a warm-up, athletes stand to reduce their risk of injury significantly. Colder temperatures make things shrink and become brittle – including muscles and tendons.
Through hot tub hydrotherapy and warming up your muscles – especially all of the small ones in vulnerable joints like your shoulders or knees you are investing in your health and longevity.
3. Treat Existing Injuries
If it’s too late to perform preventative training, then hot tub hydrotherapy will also suffice for reactive medicine. If you have old injuries – torn ligaments, tight shoulders from an injury or the like, they can come back and hurt you time after time when training.
People who are suffering from chronic lower back pain also report significant reductions in pain after using a hot tub for hydrotherapy daily.
Here is a list of conditions that are hydrotherapy is known to treat particularly well:
- Back Pain
- Lumbar pain
- Joint Replacement
- Shoulder injuries
- Hip Injuries
- Knee Injuries
- Ankle injuries
- Remobilization after having a cast removed
- Balance and coordination issues
- MS and Parkinson’s Disease
- Back and pelvic pain due to pregnancy
The Importance of Talking to Your Doctor
While the statements regarding the benefits of using a hot tub are proven, in no way shape or form should reading an article on the internet serves as a substitute for seeing your doctor.
While the benefits are great and for many healthy people they are minimal, it is still extremely important to consult with your physician before beginning any kind of treatment or physical program.
Just like any sport or watersport, hydrotherapy is a physical activity and as such may not be for everybody. While we strongly recommend that everybody should consult a doctor, people suffering from the following should be extra cautious:
- Recent DVT or PE
- Recent chemotherapy
- Untreated epilepsy
- Kidney disease
- Unmedicated high blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Uncontrolled heart conditions
- Skin infections or open wounds
- Fresh fractures and sprains with swelling
Make sure you consult with your physician regardless of whether you have any of these conditions or not. With that being said, most athletes are in relatively good or even great shape and should have no problems getting the approval right away!
Once you have gotten the nod from your doctor, you’re going to be wondering what to do next.
How to Use Your Hot Tub for Hydrotherapy
This is by no means a comprehensive list or exercise program but will serve to give you an idea about how your hot tub will fit into your workout or recovery regime.
Pre Work Out
Most people think about having a soak in the hot tub after work out and they aren’t wrong, but using the hot tub to warm up will greatly improve your performance and reduce the risk of injuries.
Performing exercises and stretching in the hot tub before hitting the track, gym or court is a fantastic way to improve your circulation and warm up all those little muscles more reliably than stretching alone.
If you take a fall or something unexpected happens – as it tends to in sports, you are far less likely to be injured if your muscles are warmed up. The hot tub is a pre work out secret that could give you the edge you’re looking for.
Post Work Out
The classic. A soak in the hot tub after a good hard workout is a great way to let your muscles relax without going stiff and sore. This is fantastic for athletes who are on a tougher, more frequent program. Reducing stiffness and soreness isn’t just great for your overall comfort, it helps you to warm up more quickly the next time around.
As mentioned, many conditions and injuries stand to benefit greatly from hot tub hydrotherapy. We will take the back seat on the details here – talk to your doctor or physiotherapist about your specific condition and how hydrotherapy may help.
Some unexpected benefits aside from the physical aspect are better sleep and reduced stress. By exposing your body to the pleasant and beneficial nature of the hot tub environment you are improving the way that you feel not only physically but mentally as well. Sleep better, feel better, run longer, go stronger – get a hot tub!
Where Can You Find a Great Hot Tub?
Just like any product, you are going to need to make sure you set yourself up for success by investing in a quality hot tub! St. Cyr Pool and Spa is a great option for athletes looking to reap the rewards that come with hydrotherapy.
You can call their toll-free number or shop online. Their website also allows you to filter your search options by the number of seats or jets that you wish to have.
If you are looking to get the edge on the competition or just take the edge off of some discomfort, a hot tub from St. Cyr Pool and Spa may be just the thing to get you on your way. Talk to your doctor, then talk to one of our friendly team members.