For thousands of years, people have used hot springs for relaxation and pain relief. In the 1940s, Candido Jacuzzi developed a submersible pump to provide hydrotherapy treatments for his son, who had rheumatoid arthritis. This development grew from a therapeutic treatment to the luxury item known as the hot tub. While it is rare for a doctor to prescribe a hot tub as a treatment, hot tubs do offer therapeutic benefits.
Relief of Muscle Pain and Tightness
The warmth of the water has the same impact as a hot pack on a sore muscle. Rather than radiant heat, the warm water engulfs the entire body and loosens any muscle tightness. Pressurized water from jets on the wall, seats and floor acts as a pinpoint massager, applying direct pressure to a tense or painful muscle. Performing mild exercise or stretching in a hot tub improves flexibility as limbs and muscles can move freely, without the pressure of body weight.
Stop Arthritis Pain
Water also makes the body buoyant, allowing free movement of joints without weight or pressure. The body weighs approximately 90 percent less when submerged in water, suggests Human Kinetics. By removing stress from the joints, the body can move freely, without the pain related to arthritis.
Increased Blood Flow
The American Heart Association reports that hot tubs cause the dilation of blood vessels, increasing the flow and pressure of blood throughout the body. This helps people with muscle or joint pain by delivering oxygen and enzymes to the site of an ache.
In its Healthy Sleep Tips, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says that "soaking in hot water before retiring to bed can ease the transition into deeper sleep." The NSF cautions, however, that you should not go to bed overly hot and recommends 60 to 90 minutes between getting out of a hot tub and going to bed.
Jared Paventi is the communications director for a disease-related nonprofit in the Northeast. He holds a master's degree from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication and a bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure University. He also writes a food appreciation blog: Al Dente.