A hot tub, also known by the trade name Jacuzzi, is more than a luxury for your home. Immersing most of your body in warm or hot water can provide physical and mental benefits. Specifically, sitting in a hot tub can improve circulation, alleviate joint and muscle pain, decrease anxiety and relieve stress. Precautions are in order, though, as high water temperatures can pose health risks for certain individuals.
Sitting in a Jacuzzi can be a relaxing way to spend time. The bubbly hot tub waters can be particularly soothing, and sitting in the comfortably warm water can help you slow down and forget about the busyness of your day. While there is little research available on the stress reduction benefits of hot tubs, an older study -- published in the April 1990 issue of "Journal of Behavioral Medicine" -- linked the use of whirlpool baths with decreased anxiety and increased feelings of well-being. Another small study, published in the January 2000 issue of "Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science" linked both taking a hot bath and soaking feet in hot water to improved sleep, suggesting the benefits are linked to heat and water.
Muscles and Joints
Heat is known to provide relief to injuries and inflammation, including strains, sprains, spasms and arthritis. So, the warmth of a hot tub has the potential to improve elasticity of connective tissues, increase blood flow, and decrease stiffness, pain and inflammation. In addition, the hot tub's jets can pulsate water to specific parts of the body, soothing aches and pains. According to a review published in the April 2005 issue of "Rheumatology International," the benefits of hot tub therapy may also be linked to the buoyancy of the water, which decreases pressure on the joints.
According to a review published in the May 2014 issue of "North America Journal of Medical Sciences," hydrotherapy, which includes the use of hot tubs, is potentially useful for a variety of health problems. Hot tub use has been recommended to improve blood sugars, reduce cholesterol levels, reduce body fat, improve immunity and manage pain. However, while the physical effects from hot tub use -- such as improved blood flow and relaxed muscles -- are evidence-based, the impact of hot tub use on various health conditions is not well researched.
While hot tubs may offer health benefits, safe use is recommended. Sitting in a hot tub too long can increase body temperature. Pregnant women, children and people with ongoing health problems may be most sensitive to these effects and should seek their doctor's advice before using a hot tub. While sitting in a hot tub, your pulse may increase and your blood pressure may drop -- which can make you dizzy or lightheaded when you exit the water. Be cautious or avoid hot tub use if you have been drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs, as these effects can be amplified with these substances. Avoid the use of hot tubs if you have open sores, burns or skin irritation. Finally, do not leave children unsupervised near a pool or hot tub, to avoid the risk of drowning.