It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe – there’s just something innately relaxing and luxurious about sliding into a pool of warm water. This feeling is why spa pools have become such a popular addition to Kiwi backyards.
But with the help of science, we’re beginning to discover that the allure of a spa pool is more than just a sensation – warm water therapy can do real, measurable good for the health and wellness of regular soakers.
In this guide we’ll dig a little deeper into warm water therapy pools: what they are, the benefits they bring, and how you might use them to live your best life.
What is a warm therapy pool?
The most common form of warm water therapy pool is a hydrotherapy pool – a pool purpose-built for aquatic therapies. But in truth, any pool that is capable of keeping water at temperatures of 33C or more can have therapeutic benefits.
This is why Hot Spring spa pools and Endless Pools swim spas are so popular amongst people searching for relief through aquatic therapies – if a warm therapy pool can be placed in your backyard, deliver high-end hydromassage, or generate a current that you can use for low impact exercise, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying therapy every day!
How does soaking in warm water affect the body?
To understand the potential benefits of warm water therapy, we must first understand the physiological effects that warm water immersion has on your body. When you lower yourself into warm water:
- Your heart pumps more blood and your blood vessels dilate, leading to more oxygen and nutrients to be circulated around your body.
- Your body doesn’t have to fight against gravity, allowing your muscles to relax.
- Your metabolism improves, increasing energy expenditure.
The potential reasons for these physiological responses aren’t fully understood just yet. They could be related to our mammalian diving reflex or the nine months we spend developing in our mothers’ wombs. Whatever the cause, the results are that warm water immersion triggers a set of internal dominoes – and as we have learnt more about these responses, we’ve begun to use them to our advantage.
What are the benefits of a warm therapy pool?
Why invest in your own warm water therapy pool? The reasons are surprisingly diverse and compelling. Just a few of the scientifically proven benefits of warm water therapy include:
- Pain relief: Warm water immersion has been shown to reduce chronic pain for a number of different conditions, including arthritis and back pain.
- Reduced inflammation: In this study warm water was shown to cause a very brief inflammatory response followed by an extended anti-inflammatory response in cases of edema (swelling).
- Lower blood pressure: The physiological effects of warm water on the circulatory system can mean a soak can help to bring down high blood pressure.
- Stress relief: This 2010 study associated warm water immersion with “decreases in anxiety, vasopressin and oxytocin levels.”
- Low impact exercise: Aquatic exercise is generally seen as a safer and more comfortable way to work out, particularly for the elderly and those with chronic conditions like arthritis. It can also be surprisingly high intensity, which is why so many professional athletes use aquacise in their cross-training regimes.
- Better sleep: Soaking in warm water has even been shown to improve sleep if the soak occurs 1-2 hours before bedtime!
The realisation of these benefits will depend on a number of factors, not least the health and personal circumstances of the person soaking, and you should always consult your doctor to understand whether warm water therapy might be useful to you.
Nevertheless, the range of scientifically proven health benefits does offer a hint at the health and wellness benefits that every Kiwi might enjoy if they invest in their own backyard spa pool.
What temperature should a heated therapy pool be?
Warm pool therapy is generally conducted in water heated to around body temperature: between 33C-36C. This appears to be the sweet spot at which the benefits of hydrotherapy are at their most pronounced.
Hot Spring spa pools and Endless Pools swim spas are capable of temperatures up to a steamy 40C. While we don’t recommend setting your spa pool or swim spa to maximum heat, particularly if you plan to get active while you’re inside, it is nice to have the option to get toasty if you need it.
This not only allows you to enjoy a refreshing soak in the heat of summer – it also opens up the option of cold water immersion (CWI), which offers even more potential health and wellness benefits, such as muscle recovery, pain management and swelling reduction.
How do you make the most of warm water therapy?
Keen to enjoy the perks of warm pool therapy? It can be as simple as immersing yourself in warm water for 15 minutes a day, or enjoying regular warm water aquacise.
The issue for most people is access. Hydrotherapy pools or naturally occurring thermal pools can be great for your health and wellness, but they are often found a long way from home and may require expensive memberships.
But what if you had your very own thermal or hydrotherapy pool just a few steps from your back door? That’s the reality for a spa pool or swim spa owner.
In a Hot Spring spa pool, you have a machine that can be set to your ideal temperature, ready to deliver all the perks of warm water immersion that we mentioned above. These machines also feature therapeutic hydromassage jets that add a layer of luxury on top of the health benefits.
Even better, you could invest in an Endless Pools swim spa, which brings hydrotherapy to your home. Fitted with a powerful propulsion system, you can generate a current to swim, jog or row against, enhancing your health and your fitness at the same time.
Warm water therapy, on tap, whenever you might need it; if you’re ready to enhance your lifestyle with a spa pool or swim spa, we’re ready to help. Get in touch with your local dealer today.