In the early days of portable spas, there was much talk about their value for hydrotherapy – and mental health. In fact, in 1979 this headline appeared in Pool News, as we were known back then: “Spas: Substitute for the Psychiatric Couch?”

As one psychologist explained, “If you are going to have a fight with your wife, the best place to have it is in a hot tub. The warm water is conducive to honesty and opening up. Psychologists Masters and Johnson have cured sexual dysfunctions by teaching clients to relate on a sensual level, and the hot tub could certainly be used in this regard.”

A manufacturer of redwood hot tubs said at the time that he sometimes sold units to psychologists for use in therapy sessions. He also remembered receiving a letter from a satisfied customer who insisted that the hot tub had saved her marriage by enabling her to relax in the warm water with her husband.

Spas are still being used for hydrotherapy, of course, and apparently also as a tool by mental health professionals. Alice Cunningham, co-owner of Olympic Hot Tub Co. in Seattle, reports that some of her customers are psychologists, who invite people to use hot tubs before therapy sessions. “They say this helps patients relax and makes them more talkative and open,” Cunningham blogged in December.

Hot tubs … still helping heal body and mind all these years later.