We’ve all seen the use of ice baths by elite sportspeople in different sporting arenas, and the popularity of a hot tub/swim spas remains unchallenged in recent years. What is the difference between the two though?
Heat therapy has always been used to help relieve pain and to improve sleep patterns, amongst other things. Although you might think of a hot tub as a way to entertain others and relax in your back garden, there is more to it than just that.
If you suffer with muscular pain, a hot tub helps you increase blood flow, loosening muscles that are feeling tense and taking pressure of the joints. It can also help to prevent muscle damage if you use it for up to 15-minute bursts.
Hot water can help in relieving symptoms of stress and to decrease symptoms of depression. What happens is that when you use a hot tub, the hot water helps to improve your mood by calming your nervous system down. It’s not an answer to mental health problems, but it can certainly help you to relax for a short time.
Sleep is a problem in the modern world for many people. Whether it is full on insomnia, or waking up repeatedly through the night, one way to help improve sleep is to regularly use a hot tub. Relaxing your muscles and boosting your mood, the hot tub will help you fall asleep and to sleep well after use.
Regular hot tub use, or hot water therapy is good for your heart health. It should never be used as a replacement for regular exercise and a heart healthy diet, but in addition to those things it can help your heart health by increasing the speed of your heartbeat.
A soak in hot water widens blood vessels, which helps to bring about a lower blood pressure. This helps you to relax over a short period, and if you have mild hypertension, it is safe to use a hot tub. For those with low blood pressure it is not advisable to use a hot tub.
Away from the health benefits, a hot tub provides you with somewhere to spend quality time, entertaining friends and family in a relaxed environment that you can enjoy all year round.
Moving from heat therapy to cold therapy, there are also great benefits from taking an ice bath, though it might not be seen as relaxing as soaking in a hot tub for a while. Plunging your body into ice-cold water as cold water immersion therapy is a bit crazy when you think about it, but there are plenty of benefits to it.
Many professional athletes and amateur athletes who compete regularly, understand the benefits of an ice bath in assisting recovery. After an intense workout, cold water immersion therapy reduces the onset of muscle soreness after exercising and helps you to recover immediately.
Whether you are looking for relief from short-term pain or chronic pain, ice cold water can help lower inflammation, and in turn reduces the pain that you are experiencing. In fact, alternating between hot water therapy and cold water therapy is beneficial to those suffering with long-term pain.
Taking the plunge into cold water can help boost your mood, triggering the release of hormones that help you to feel pleasure, such as dopamine. By improving circulation, and lessening joint pain and muscle soreness, your mood will naturally improve.
The impact of ice cold water on circulation has been known for quite some time. Cold water therapy helps to improve circulation significantly and also increases oxygen levels in the muscles. The better your circulation, the healthier your organs and muscles.
Regular ice baths help to activate mechanisms in the body that over time increase the chance of resilience and help us to become better at coping with stress and anxiety. This is due to the fight or flight hormones that are released when you take the plunge.
Although an ice bath is designed to wake up your body and activate hormones at the time of taking the plunge, it is also known to help with improved sleep patterns over a longer period.
Whether you are looking for somewhere to relax in your back garden, or you are more interested in the recovery properties to help you after exercise, both an ice bath and a hot tub can be beneficial to both your physical and mental health in the long-term.