It’s no secret that soaking in warm water provides relief of joint pain and muscle soreness. Research has proven that warm water therapy works wonders for all kinds of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia and low back pain.
Bruce E. Becker, MD, director of the National Aquatics & Sports Medicine Institute at Washington State University in Spokane, points to many reasons why soaking in warm water is effective for arthritis sufferers. It reduces the force of gravity compressing the joint, offers full support for sore limbs, and can decrease swelling and inflammation and increase circulation.
Patients who Dr. Becker has studied seem to reach a maximum benefit after about 20 minutes of soaking.
Keeping this in mind, consider these other simple steps to make the most of your next hot tub soak.
Go warm, not hot. Water temperatures between 92 and 100 degrees are a healthy range. If you have cardiovascular problems, beware of water that’s too hot as it can additionally stress the heart.
Keep moving. Since warm water stimulates blood flow to stiff muscles and frozen joints, the hot tub can be an ideal place to do some gentle stretching. To ease low back pain, trap a tennis ball between the small of your back and the bottom or back of the tub, then lean into it and roll it against knotted muscles. The resulting improvement in flexibility can last even after you get out, especially if you stretch upon exiting the tub.
Hydrate! Make sure you drink water both before and after your soak to prevent dehydration. It may be easy to neglect the care you need to take of your insides if you’re distracted by the relief in your joints caused by the surrounding water. Consider setting a reminder alarm on your phone so you don’t forget your post-soak glass of water!
Get salty. Magnesium is a mineral that’s important for bone and heart health. While it’s not advisable to add non-Beachcomber water care solutions to your hot tub water, occasionally supplementing hot tub soaks with regular baths infused with magnesium sulfate crystals, or Epsom salts, can have a beneficial impact on arthritic symptoms as well.