It’s no surprise that people are stressed out. The economy is tight, the workplace is tense, the daily commute is chaotic, and the demands on your time are unrelenting.
What you need to ease your troubles, according to the experts, is a
relaxing soak in warm water.
Taking time out in a hot tub/ portable spa not only banishes the
aches of the day, but it also gives you much-needed relief from the
mental or emotional baggage you carry.
While hot tubs are perfect stress relievers, using them regularly
provides additional perks. If you’re looking for relief,
consider taking these soothing steps:
- Plan an escape. After a long day, it can
be hard to unwind when you first walk in the door. Take 20 minutes
for yourself to sit in the hot tub. The relaxing effect of the warm
water lets you put your day into perspective and readies you for
your evening routine at home.
Alice Cunningham especially recommends a good soak as a stopping
point for those who work at home. “When you work from home,
when do you stop?” asks Cunningham, co-owner of Olympic Hot
Tub Co. in Seattle. “A hot tub [soak] can symbolize the trip
- Treat your senses. Having a relaxed
outdoor setting to turn to does wonders to reduce stress. To create
the perfect retreat, make your hot tub area a haven. Many models
have speakers or iPod connections, so you can tune in to your
favorite music while tuning out the cares of the day.
Lighting and fountain features treat your eyes and ears.
Aromatherapy options also are popular. Try soothing scents such as
vanilla or lavender, or more stimulating choices such as
- Clear your head. Do you remember the last
time you were alone with your own thoughts? The relaxing effects of
warm water make it easier to empty your mind of your day-to-day
“It gives you quiet time,” says Michael R. Mantell,
Ph.D., a clinical psychologist based in La Mesa, Calif. “You
think more clearly, solve problems better, and come up with
solutions and connections to things that you ordinarily don’t
during the tension of the day.”
- Soothe those aches and pains. Soaking the
stress away also means easing joint and muscle pain. “You can
sit comfortably because part of your weight is suspended by
water,” explains Jack Raglin, Ph.D., a professor in the
Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University in Bloomington, who
studies the connections between exercise and mental health.
Whether you have pain that builds from the daily grind or suffer
from a chronic disease such as arthritis, adding time in your hot
tub to your routine can significantly reduce the pain — and
even your reliance on pain medications, in some cases.
- Find family time. If busy schedules leave
family mealtime out of the question, consider reserving time for a
family soak when everyone is in for the night. You’ll be able
to have quality conversations away from the distractions of the TV,
cell phones and video games.
- Vacation in your backyard. Many families
today can’t afford to splurge on an extended vacation away
from home. The hot tub can give you just the escape you need,
without the added travel hassles.
“You’re doing this rewarding, fun thing together, and
it’s comfortable and relaxing,” Raglin says. Best of
all? No reservations are necessary. You can take this trip every
day of the year.
- Keep intimacy alive. It can be nearly
impossible to carve out alone time with your spouse or significant
other. But almost everyone can make time for a relaxing soak
“Touch in that barrier-free water absolutely increases
desire, sexuality and communication,” Mantell says, adding
that he often prescribes a hot-tub soak for couples in marriage
counseling. “Nobody has an argument in a hot tub. People
relax, they laugh, and the playfulness comes out.”
The soothing effects of the hot tub and the hum of the jets allow
you to communicate better and enjoy each other.
“There’s no other place that has the physiological
[effect] of breaking down the social barriers that exist between
people,” Mantell says. “It literally relaxes you
- Sleep easier. Making your hot tub part of
your bedtime routine can grant you that good night’s sleep
you’ve been seeking without resorting to medication.
“Between the hot water and the jets, it relaxes you to the
point that you get a more refreshed night’s sleep,”
says Wayne K. Stanton Sr., president of Liberty Hot Tubs in