Jan/Feb
2017

Therapeutic Benefits of Hot Tubs & Saunas: Experience Relaxation and Healing at Home

Written by Cindy Mennenga
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Have you ever enjoyed a soothing soak in a hot tub or experienced the restorative heat from sitting in a sauna? Aside from the obvious appeal of warmth and relaxation, people enjoy using them together.

In recent years, saunas and hot tubs have expanded beyond health clubs, upscale hotels and chic spas. As saunas and hot tubs designed for home use have increased in popularity, enthusiasts have begun to realize the benefits of having access to a sauna or hot tub (or both) in the comfort of their own home.  

SAUNAS AND HOT TUBS HAVE BEEN USED FOR MILLENNIA

The word “sauna,” which means bath or bathhouse, is the only Finnish word to make its way into the English language. Frequently mispronounced, the correct pronunciation of the first syllable is “sow,” which rhymes with “wow.” Saunas have been in use in Finland for over 2,000 years, and sauna use in the United States has been traced back to 1638 in what is now known as Delaware. 

The restorative benefits of hot springs spas have long been cherished by those who had access to their healing therapy for over 4,000 years. Egyptians, Greeks and Romans utilized the therapeutic mineral-rich hot water for relaxation, bathing and healing. The modern self-contained hot tub has only been in use for the past 75 years. Possibly one of the best things about the evolution of the hot tub is the fact that users no longer need to travel to natural hot springs.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SAUNAS AND HOT TUBS  

In our society, saunas and hot tubs have long been thought to be luxuries. But, with a seemingly endless list of health benefits that saunas and hot tubs are known to provide, should they possibly be prescribed for medical treatment or therapy?

The therapeutic benefits of saunas and hot tubs are well documented. A session in a sauna may help with detoxifying the body, improving circulation, lowering stress, improving skin quality, lowering blood pressure and aiding wound healing, and they may even help with weight loss. Given the vast array of health benefits one may experience from using a sauna, it is easy to see why they are gaining popularity.

Paul Ehling, along with his father Frank’s help, built a sauna in their backyard in southeast Rochester about three years ago. The Ehling family uses it regularly and loves the healing and detoxifying benefits of the sauna. Laura Ehling says, “Our family has been sick less since we got the sauna.” She adds that the thing she likes most about the sauna is, “In winter, it is complete warmth.”  

Christa Close, originally from Stewartville, echoes these sentiments. She and her husband purchased a sauna in September, and she says they have used it every day since they got it. Christa says, “The sauna is very relaxing and a great way to relax after a workout.” She also says that the heat is not stifling, and the entire family enjoys sitting in the sauna. Christa adds that one of her children has asthma, and since using the sauna, his asthma symptoms have improved significantly.  

Hot tubs also provide amazing healing qualities. Studies show that people who use hot tubs experience relief from knee, back and arthritis pain. Hot tubs can also promote relaxation, improve sleep and circulation, reduce blood sugar and relieve headaches. Not to mention–they are fun! Every time I sit in a hot tub, I feel like I am truly indulging myself, rather than simply relieving aches and pains.

In addition to the numerous health advantages that hot tubs and saunas offer, people who regularly use them cite that they simply love how they feel after a session. Some say they feel relaxed and calm, while others say they revel in the self-indulgent nature of hot tubs and saunas.

GETTING STARTED

There are several businesses in the Rochester area that sell hot tubs and saunas. If you are thinking about purchasing one or both, you may want to visit their showrooms or displays at the Rochester Area Builders Home Show (February 10-12). Familiarize yourself with the many features and models available so that you select the model that best suits your unique needs.

Cindy Mennenga, owner of Straight Talk Wellness, is a health coach and freelance writer based in Rochester.