Man relaxing in hot tub as part of hot tub therapy

Hot tub therapy is just as simple as it sounds. All you need to do is get in the hot tub, exhale and relax as your aches, pains and worries melt away.

But does it really work, and can it give you the specific benefits you’re looking for?

Keep reading to find out, and be sure to get your swimsuit ready: you’ll want to hop in the hot tub by the time this article is finished.

Here are four unique benefits of hot tub therapy you need to know about:

  1. Relief of muscle pain and tightness.
  2. Relief of joint pain and stiffness.
  3. Restful sleep.
  4. Increased circulation.

1. Relief of Muscle Pain and Tightness

If you’ve ever treated a pulled muscle with a warm compress, then you already know how heat can soothe sore and tight muscles.

According to an article from John Hopkins Medicine titled, “Ice Packs vs. Warm Compresses for Pain,”  heat works so well for muscle pain because it increases blood flow and helps muscles relax.

Thanks to their all-encompassing heat, hot tubs can be even more effective than warm compresses. After all, a soak in a hot tub will apply heat to every inch of your body that’s submerged, while a warm compress will only affect a comparatively small area.

2. Relief of Joint Pain and Stiffness

Hot tubs aren’t just great for aching muscles. They’re also excellent at treating painful, stiff joints, whether you have a chronic condition or a simple sprain.

As the Arthritis Foundation explained in an article titled, “Warm Water Works Wonders on Pain,” t hat’s partly because water relieves the pressure that gravity puts on joints.

Then, the warmth of the water stimulates blood flow and helps to relax the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joints. This makes it easier to painlessly stretch the joint while enjoying a relaxing soak.

3. Restful Sleep

It turns out that hot tubs can help you stay relaxed long after you’ve dried off. Specifically, soaking in a hot tub before going to sleep can help you get better, more restful sleep.

In 2000, the Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Sciences published a Japanese study titled, “Effects of bathing and hot footbath on sleep in winter.”

That study found that warm water immersion, whether from a full-body soak to a hot footbath, helped participants fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

4. Increased Circulation

Healthy blood flow can have a number of positive effects. By carrying more oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells, good circulation:

  • Promotes proper organ function.
  • Speeds up healing.
  • Reduces strain on the heart.

So, you’ll be glad to know that a relaxing hot tub session can also help to boost blood flow.

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Physiology confirmed that repeated hot water immersion has various cardiovascular benefits. The peer-reviewed study, “Passive heat therapy improves endothelial function, arterial stiffness and blood pressure in sedentary humans,”  found that eight weeks of repeated hot water immersion therapy:

  • Reduced arterial stiffness.
  • Reduce blood pressure.
  • Improved endothelial function.

Translation: regularly immersing yourself in hot water can measurably improve your heart health. If you have a preexisting heart condition, just be sure to check with your doctor before you start soaking.

The bottom line is that hot tub therapy can have a profoundly positive impact on your health. Given that hot tubs are also fun and relaxing, there’s no reason not to use them whenever you please.

Looking for more? Learn about other hot tub benefits here, or check out our guide to hot tub safety here.