Hot Tub Information Springfield VA
Hot Tub Information
Water therapy has long been a part of our collective culture -- from Roman baths to Finnish saunas to geothermal mineral soaks in Iceland. However, what used to be a communal experience is today often practiced at home, transforming many a simple bathroom into a personal health spa retreat.
Restorative and therapeutic benefits are often attributed to cleansing the body through long soaks, circulating water and steam. With the introduction of imaginative, high-tech products and the pumped-up interest in physical and mental well-being, its no wonder whirlpools, saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms are becoming more and more popular. People want to take better care of themselves.
Personal trainers and physical therapists have long known the restorative powers of heated water for soothing sore muscles and swollen joints. Lori San Martin, personal trainer in West Hills, Calif., says shes recommended clients use a whirlpool to relax sore muscles after working out. "The warm circulating water also helps to reduce stress. If a person has an injury or back or knee problems, its always a good idea to stimulate the blood supply and circulation.
In many ways water-related home fitness aids are all therapeutic, says Dr. Karen Jacobs, occupational therapist and former president of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Boston. "Using hot water in particular decreases joint stiffness, and is therapeutic and promotes relaxation.
Also, think about how you feel when your body aches. You feel fatigued; you may have problems getting a good nights rest; and generally you feel run down. These combine to make you more susceptible to whatever bug is going around.
Rub-a-Dub in the Hot Tub
Like Kleenex is to tissues and Xerox to copiers, the name Jacuzzi is synonymous with whirlpool baths. Aly Johnsen, vice president of Jacuzzi Whirlpool Bath, says theyve been designing, manufacturing and marketing whirlpool baths and hydrotherapy systems for 35 years. "Whirlpool bathing is all about making you feel better,
Johnsen says. "A good unit delivers that and is ergonomically designed to fit the curves of your body, ensuring maximum comfort.
Johnsen says hydrotherapy massage combines warmth, water and air in a unique, invigorating massage combination to rejuvenate, refresh, relax and revive. "We like to think we helped elevate the bathroom beyond its utilitarian reputation, to become one of the most sought-after relaxation spaces in the home.
MTI Whirlpools opened its doors in 1988 and is an employee-owned manufacturer of acrylic hydro-technology appliances, specializing in handcrafted tubs. Michael Kornowa, director of marketing, says you dont need a traditional, large hot tub to enjoy hydrotherapy. "One of our products is the Jentle Ped whirlpool footbath. It relaxes and rejuvenates tired feet with directional minijets.
A raised bar in the bottom of the footbath allows users to exercise the arch and plantar (sole) areas of the foot, similar to reflexology, an ancient massage therapy where the foot and toes are manipulated, often while bathing.
"According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, taking a warm footbath for eight to 10 minutes, two to three times a week keeps feet relaxed and helps to prevent minor foot pain caused by fatigue,
And full hot tubs and spas dont have to be too complicated or out of your price range. Jeff Grey, director of marketing and international sales for Nordic Products Inc., says, "Our units are completely self-contained. We have one model that can be taken home, plugged in and used within 24 hours.
With most models, an electrician is needed to complete the wiring. A dedicated 240-volt power supply is recommended, and a site strong enough to hold the weight is also a prerequisite. Jacuzzi tubs can be installed by do-it-yourselfers with the detailed instructions included with each tub. However, check your local plumbing codes, as you might be required to use a licensed contractor.
With Jacuzzi, two types of control systems are offered. The manual type allows the consumer to turn the tub on or off and adjust the air/water mix for increased or decreased jet-massage performance. The electronic wave-pulse system allows homeowners to personalize each bathing experience with the ability to regulate the air volume of the jets on each side of the bath or add the soothing effect of pulsating jets, activate underwater lighting and check the waters temperature on the LED display screen.
As important as the jets, lights and temperature are to comfort, keeping these units clean is even more important for health and safety (see page 30 March/April 2003). Jacuzzi markets a cleaning product called Systems Clean, which is made specifically for use in their whirlpool baths. "This product is designed to eliminate mold, mildew, soap scum and dirt particles that may occur in the plumbing system or jets,
The MTI tubs are crafted from Lucite-cast acrylic reinforced with rebar and fiberglass. The surface can be wiped down with a nonabrasive bathroom cleaner, and since acrylic is nonporous, it wont trap dirt, body oils or soap residue. They also feature their patented Fill Flush system, where a fresh supply of water is circulated through the jets to fill the bath, as opposed to a traditional filling spout. When combined with their cleaning solution, the pipes and jets are thoroughly cleaned and sufficiently sanitized.
Sweat It Out
Sauna is the only bath in which both dry and damp air are present at the same time. It promotes the bodys natural cleansing through perspiration. The high heat (160Ã° F) and the low humidity (about 25 percent) create an environment that promotes overall perspiration and deep pore cleansing. A sauna is an insulated room constructed from softwood with a heater. The heat causes special stones to produce steam when water is drizzled or tossed over them.
Martha Orellana is a vice president of Sussman Lifestyle Group, a manufacturer and supplier of steambath generators, saunas and towel warmers for both residential and commercial applications. Orellana says health benefits associated with steambaths and saunas include revitalization of skin, speeding up the bodys metabolic processes, and promoting relaxation and stimulating our well-being. But she also suggests that the best thing about remodeling or building a home now is the ability to convert a traditional shower area into a home spa, eliminating the necessity of getting into the car and driving to a health club.
The MrSauna product line is constructed using furniture-grade Western red cedar, which is resistant to warping, shrinking, staining and decay. A professional plumber and electrician should install a sauna, but care and maintenance is homeowner-friendly. "There are accessories that make owning a steam-bath trouble free,
Orellana says. "One I would strongly suggest would be an automatic flush system, which gets rid of impurities in the water.
As Always, Safety First
There are, however, certain people who should stay away from high heat and increased water temperatures of over 104Ã°. Dr. Jacobs says if you have a question about an ailment, check with your physician. "If youre pregnant, have implants, take prescription drugs, or have MS, lupus, high blood pressure, acute joint injury, epilepsy or hemophilia, there could be serious risks involved with using hot tubs and/or saunas.
"Whirlpools and hot tubs should be monitored routinely for chemical balance,
says Debra Flaherty, M.S., P.T., director of rehabilitation services, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Northridge, Calif. She says patients with cardiac conditions and people with a history of strokes should check with their doctor. Additionally, anyone with an infectious disease or an open wound should stay out of these home fitness aids. Never use a pool or hot tub during or after drinking alcohol or using drugs, which may cause sleepiness, drowsiness or changes in blood pressure.
So, by doing a little research and finding out how much spa you need, if your home can accommodate it, and whether or not caring for and cleaning it will cause more headaches than it will cure, you can find the right unit -- or units -- for you. Then you can have soothing, healing waters right in your own home. n
Judy Stock is a freelance writer based in Granada Hills, Calif