People have been flocking to health resorts for ages. Native Americans had their sweat lodges and natural hot springs. Heat is good for you! So with modern technology came instant hot tubs and spas and Americans bought them like dishwashers. No patio seems to be complete these days without a hot soak and a TV and stereo.
Most people can enjoy a nice long soak in a hot bubbly tub, but there are many cases of injuries from these modern health baths. Body temperature is a nice and warm 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (or 37 degrees Celsius). But some people crank their tubs up to 110 or 115 (43.3-46.1C)! This is a scalding temperature and no spa should ever be set above 104 degrees Fahrenheit (or40 degrees Celsius).
Heat opens up the blood vessels in the body and causes flushing which can drop a person’s blood pressure to a dangerously low level, especially in women. Having wine or beer before engaging in hot tub use increases the flushing and sudden drop or rise in blood pressure. If you set your spa to 104 degrees F (40 C) or even lower, this can help keep the blood pressure from changing too fast.
If you plan on exercising at all in a spa, even moderate exercise, then it is safer to set the temperature control to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.7 Celsius). Exercise plus heated water can cause blood pressure fluctuations and even black outs. Needless to say, blacking out in a hot tub can lead to drowning which is usually fatal.
Children and hot tubs don’t mix well. Even if you have a nice warm, but not hot temperature in the tub, children are more sensitive to heat and may have vascular problems that haven’t been discovered yet. Anyone with heart disease, diabetes, or other vascular problems should only use a hot tub on the advice of a physician. Anyone taking medication should also consult their doctor before getting into the spa.
Another overlooked problem with spas, especially older models, is that long hair can become tangled in the drain cover fittings. If the drain cover is on the bottom of the tub and the person that has become tangled can not get free in time, they may drown. Newer models have the drains on the sides which are somewhat safer.
Please don’t soak in a hot tub or spa if you are pregnant! All of the above warnings will apply to you and to the baby, so just say no.
A good hot tub or spa can’t be beat for stress related muscle strains and sprains. It can even be relaxing and fun. But just remember that modern technology has safety rules that need to be followed. As with all things, moderation is fine, but extremes are bad for you. Safe use of a hot tub means keeping the water temperature at a well tolerated level and being aware of the dangers. A good 15 minute soak is all you need to enjoy the healthy benefits of a spa. Cool off and repeat if needed. Enjoy!
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