Cellulite is a condition that sees dimpled and somewhat lumpy skin gather predominantly around the buttocks, hips, thighs and abdomen, and which affects women far more than men. While rather harmless, sufferers can be concerned with the appearance, which has led many Hot Spring customers to ask the following question: can you reduce the appearance of cellulite with a daily soak?
The answer is complex. On the one hand, cellulite has been shown to respond to massage therapy, while the widely recognised benefits of warm water immersion could also work to reduce the appearance. On the other, no study has ever definitively proven that soaking in a spa pool reduces cellulite.
One thing’s for sure: it would be amazing if it turned out to be true. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at the reasons for and against this hypothesis, and what those facts mean for anyone looking for a cellulite solution.
Are hot tubs good for cellulite?
Spa pools and hot tubs have been proposed as effective treatment options for cellulite for decades. Many theories have been offered up for why this might be so, though an equal number of assumptions and guesses have been made along the way.
No scientific study has ever categorically proven that hot tubs reduce cellulite. That said, no such study appears to have ever been conducted. There are plenty of anecdotal accounts, though these don’t offer much insight. We’re left to string together the evidence ourselves.
Let’s take a look at the science that could potentially back up this claim.
How does hydrotherapy help with cellulite
This 1997 study analysed the effectiveness of massage treatments on cellulite, finding that it could result in significant smoothing on the dermis-hypodermis surface – approximately 50% over the course of just two months. It should be noted that these effects didn’t last forever – the researchers found that regular massage was required to keep cellulite at bay. While this study was based on electro-mechanical massage, not the hydromassage delivered by a hot tub, it does serve to demonstrate the effectiveness of smoothing the skin through movement.
On a physiological level, science has proven that soaking in warm water dilates (opens up) blood vessels, which helps to circulate more blood around the body. The increased blood flow helps to reduce swelling and fluid retention, which can in turn help to limit the appearance of cellulite.
It must be reiterated that we’re drawing conclusions from limited data however, and that no study has ever conclusively found that spa pools fix or even reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Do hot tubs help with fat loss?
Another question we often get asked at Hot Spring is whether our spa pools can help with fat loss. It’s understandable – if you’ve sat in a sauna before you’ll perhaps agree that it feels like fat is melting out through your pores, and that a long night in a hot tub can feel the same way. But before we get carried away with gut-feel and pseudoscience, let’s face facts.
Sitting in a spa pool is not an effective way to lose weight. While a recent study found that an hour-long soak in a 40°C bath can lead to an 80% increase in energy expenditure, a 30-minute walk would produce the same result.
At Hot Spring we’re not in the business of selling snake oil. If your main motivation for getting a hot tub is to lose weight, or indeed to reduce the appearance of cellulite, we’d suggest you perhaps consider an Endless Pools® Fitness System swim spa instead, because as much as it hurts us to say this, diet and exercise are your most effective strategies in both cases.
Happily there are a wealth of other reasons to buy a Hot Spring spa pool!
Pain management, rehabilitation, mental health and more
Spa pools and warm water immersion have been proven to be effective in promoting physical and mental health in a wealth of other ways, including:
- Assisting in chronic pain management, from arthritis to injury recovery.
- Granting the less mobile the ability to enhance their fitness.
- Reducing muscle soreness and fatigue.
- Improving circulation and blood flow.
- Reducing stress and anxiety.
- Enhancing interpersonal relationships by giving you quality time with family and friends.
Finally, while there is no direct evidence, and limited circumstantial evidence, that spa pools can reduce the appearance of cellulite, there is absolutely no evidence that spa pools make the issue worse. You won’t be doing any harm by having a soak, and you’ll also gain access to the wealth of benefits outlined above!
Disclaimer: Hot Spring Spas are not medical professionals, and the information above is not intended as a substitute for qualified and personalised medical advice. If you are experiencing health issues in any form, speak to a doctor to obtain a diagnosis and to decide on the most appropriate and effective treatment for your situation.