Some people are more prone to headaches and migraines than others. Approximately 10% of the New Zealand population suffer from migraines, a neurological disorder that usually starts to present itself between the ages of 10 and 30, and that is more common in women than men. So debilitating is the condition that sufferers can find themselves in a constant search for relief. Could they find it in a spa pool?
Many sufferers of headaches and migraines have found that soaking in a spa pool can offer relief. The hot water opens up blood vessels, sending more nutrient-rich blood to the brain. The hydromassage jets, meanwhile, work to relieve mental and physical stress and tension.
But is there real science to support these anecdotal claims? And how exactly might a person who suffers from headaches and migraines make the most of a spa pool? These are the exact questions that this article looks to answer.
Does hot water heal headaches?
While the effectiveness of spa pools in treating chronic pain, rehabilitating soft tissues and promoting mental health are well established, things get somewhat murkier when it comes to the migraines and headaches, purely for the fact that the brain is an incredibly complex organ.
There remains a lack of clarity as to the true cause of migraines – a reflection of the wealth of factors, from genetic to environmental, that could contribute to the condition – which makes treatment a real challenge. There’s no cure for migraines, nor a single, simple treatment option that has been found to work for everyone. As a result, many migraine and headache sufferers find themselves on a seemingly never-ending quest to find a treatment that works for them.
One treatment that individuals have reported success with is warm water immersion. A common natural therapy for headaches is to soak your feet in hot water, the thinking being that the hot water draws blood and pressure away from your head (although this claim is yet to be backed by science.)
Is a spa pool good for migraines?
As above, whether a spa pool proves to be an effective treatment for migraines is decided on a case-by-case basis, and can require some trial and error from the sufferer. At the same time, a spa pool can represent a significant purchase, so it’s understandable that you might want an indication as to whether it will offer relief.
When your next migraine or serious headache comes on, fill a bath with warm water, jump in, and see if you experience any relief. If you do, it’s likely that the added hydrotherapy and massage offered by a Hot Spring spa pool will only increase the levels of relief such a soak delivers. Hot Spring also offers the opportunity to try before you buy – you can book a test soak today and experience the Hot Spring difference for yourself!
How do spa pools relieve headaches?
Because the root cause of migraines is unknown, the ways in which they work to relieve migraines are similarly mysterious. All we have to go on is the subjective and anecdotal evidence of sufferers and some educated guesses.
One such educated guess points to the relaxation that a spa pool offers. Stress is a commonly cited trigger for headaches and migraines, and with immersion in warm, mineral-rich water proven to be an effective treatment for stress-related pathologies, it could be that this immersive heat negates the root cause of a headache or migraine.
The symptoms of migraines share a lot in common with the symptoms of fibromyalgia, a similarly mysterious disease that causes aches and pains around the body, with half of all sufferers experiencing migraines and headaches. Encouragingly, This 2012 meta-analysis found that spa therapy was effective and useful in reducing pain and improving function associated with fibromyalgia, particularly when used as a complement to conventional therapies.
Are spa pools good for your mental health?
Migraines and mental health go hand-in-hand, although the body’s most complex organ often doesn’t make it easy to identify which is the cause and which is the effect. But if mental health does contribute to the likelihood of headaches and migraines, can a spa pool help to keep your mind healthy?
While genetics, life experiences, medications, drugs and alcohol are just a few factors that can affect mental health, physiological factors remain some of the most influential. Neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are key in regulating emotions and moods, with an imbalance one of the most common contributors to mental illness.
A consistent and strong flow of nutrient- and chemical-rich blood to the brain can guard against such an imbalance. In a spa pool you have a machine built to encourage blood flow, as warm water expands blood vessels and increases the volume of blood pumped by your heart. What’s more, as a device-free zone a spa pool can give you a much needed escape from the work emails and social media anxiety constantly served up by screens.
How long should I sit in a spa for?
There’s no right or wrong answer to the question of how long you should sit in a spa pool for (provided it’s not set to an unnaturally high temperature.) But at Hot Spring we have found that a daily soak of 10-15 minutes allows you to begin to realise the many health and wellness benefits of spa pools. For headache and migraine sufferers, such a regular soak could help to treat the cause, rather than the effects. That said, jumping in for a soak whenever you feel the initial symptoms coming on could also prove useful.
Hot Spring owners also enjoy a full complement of other health and wellness benefits, from therapeutic hydromassage that heals and relieves soft tissues, to the treatment of stress and anxiety. Our spa pools also offer a tranquil solo escape, or allow you to spend quality time with your partner, family and friends. They’re also hot and ready whenever you are, thanks to our ongoing investments in all manner of heating, insulation and efficiency innovations such as our Energy Smart® System, which ensure your spa pool is always prepared to host you for a soothing soak.
Are spa pools good for headaches and migraines? While there’s no single, simple answer, that’s a great excuse to jump into a Hot Spring and find out!