Limited hot tub use can be comfortable and enjoyable, but spending too much time in one could be hazardous to your health. Using a hot tub safely requires careful maintenance of the tub and time management. It is important to never drink in a hot tub. Doing so increases a number of potential risks.
According MayoClinic.com, stress negatively impacts many areas of a person's health. Headaches, fatigue, chronic pain and emotional and mental distress typically worsen due to stress. Some may find hot tubs are relaxing; soaking in a hot tub improves overall feelings of well-being and may reduce stress. For a high-stress individual, if using a hot tub helps to reduce any tension it could provide some real health benefits.
For people who suffer from arthritis or other conditions that cause chronic joint pain, a soak in a hot tub helps to reduce pain and welling. The heat helps to stimulate circulation throughout the body. This helps to stimulate muscles and joints in a fashion that causes them to relax, thereby reducing the overall amount of pain and stiffness you are likely to feel.
Hot tubs pose a risk for pregnant women. The American Pregnancy Association recommends that women avoid hot tubs during their pregnancies. Prolonged time in a hot tub raises the core temperature of the body to levels that create potential health risks for the fetus. This includes higher incidences of birth defects. More than 10 minutes in a hot tub could potentially raise the temperature of the body to the point where damage is possible, so it is typically recommended that pregnant women just avoid them altogether.
High Blood Pressure
People with high blood pressure shouldn't rule out using a hot tub altogether, but need to exercise caution and moderation when doing so. Only use a hot tub if high blood pressure is treated and under control. Spending more than 10 minutes in a hot tub can cause the blood vessels to open too widely, which can make a person feel faint after getting out of the tub. People with high blood pressure need to avoid the quick moves between hot and cold, which leads to occasional spikes in pressure that can cause problems.
A properly cared for hot tub should contain a proliferation of bacteria that can pass between users. However, in tubs not properly disinfected, this is a possibility. Only use public tubs that are properly maintained.
- MayoClinic.com: Stress Symptoms -- Effects on Your Body, Feelings and Behavior
- Canada Free Press; Pleasures and Dangers of Hot Tub Baths; Dr. W. Gifford Jones; 2006
- American Pregnancy Association: Hot Tubs During Pregnancy
- American Heart Association; Hot Tub and Sauna Use and High Blood Pressure; 2011
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