Time in a hot tub can do more than just relieve aches and pains. There has been recent developments that indicate hydrotherapy can actually help patients with type 2 diabetes.
How Common Is Diabetes?
According to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), there are currently 25.8 million Americans affected by diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, while not curable, can be managed through prescription pills to lower blood glucose levels, diet, exercise and weight loss.
How Does a Hot Tub Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes?
Hydrotherapy in warm water can help to increase blood flow to the extremities, by expanding the blood vessels and helping to decrease numbness and tingling associated with diabetes in patients’ hands and feet. Increased circulation escalates heart rate mimicking the state of your heart during exercise. A 45 minute hydrotherapy session is equivalent to running 5 km and can benefit type 2 diabetes patients who are unable to exercise due to physical limitations. The low impact movement in the water helps to increase blood flow without added strain to the joints.
A study conducted by The New England Journal of Medicine examined eight patients who sat in a hot tub for 30 minutes over three weeks; researchers reported weight loss, plasma glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin in the patients.
The only precaution diabetes patients should take when undergoing hydrotherapy for their condition is making sure the water is sanitized and that the water isn’t too hot. Unclean water can result in infections, and hot water can cause burns that diabetes patients can’t feel until it’s too late.