According to recent reports, many new hot tub owners are regretting their purchase decision during the Covid-19 lockdown, following research undertaken by the UK insurance company, Aviva.
There can be no doubt that a swim spa or hot tub is a large-ticket purchase by anyone’s standards, so we’re going to examine in this post if such a sizeable investment really is worth it, based on the expectations of ownership.
There are many wellness-related benefits associated to regular hot tub use but before making a purchase, consideration should be made to desired outcomes. For example, if a buyer is looking for physical relaxation benefits, what would be the annual cost of a twice-weekly back massage for two people?
Or perhaps you’re looking to spend more quality time with family and friends? Given the typical cost of a night out for four people having three or four rounds of drinks is in the region of £100+ (including taxis), a hot tub may seem like a modest investment to achieve a similarly enjoyable social meet-up.
From inflatable hot tubs to high-end swim spas, there are a host of benefits to having your very own ‘blue space’ available to you at any time, but the first question any potential owner should ask:
Why Buy a Hot Tub?
For the most part, the answer to this question will fall into one of two distinct categories:
- Social connection aspects
- Wellness and relaxation benefits
One is rarely unilaterally more important than the other, so let’s dive into the most commonly-reported benefits to examine what may be the most valuable for the future hot tub or swim spa owner.
The therapeutic benefits to be gained from immersing the body in warm water has been the subject of many studies, and to gain an understanding of the considerable positive impacts it is well worth reading this paper as many points we refer to below will relate to it.
The Benefits of Hot Tub and Swim Spa Ownership
Social Reconnection – In a world that’s been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve all lost out on quality time spent with family and friends, thanks to lengthy restrictions on most social activities. An overriding benefit of a domestic hot tub or swim spa is that they’re not affected by lockdowns, unlike your local health club or spa. Spending time relaxing, away from the never-ending distraction of electronic devices with good company in your own private blue space is possibly the way to help restore a sense of calm and balance.
Leg Pain Relief – Standing for too long during the working day can cause a multitude of physical discomforts, with leg pain being a very common complaint. Maria-Gabriela Garcia, doctor of Science and Ergonomics at USFQ, has published extensive studies looking into the effects that standing for even as little as two hours per day can have on the human body. Of course, anyone involved in manual work, retail, hairdressing or healthcare will have no choice but to spend several hours a day on their feet.
Back Pain Relief – Just as standing for too long during the working day can be potentially bad for us, so can sitting for hours on end be equally perilous. Back pain is often caused by the lower part of the spine curving inwards at the base, and is frequently the result of a poor seated posture. Anyone who spends hours at a computer will almost certainly know that standing up every thirty minutes is important but, when you’re involved in a Zoom call or have a pressing deadline to meet, this can be impractical.
Sports Injuries and Aches – In the quest to stay healthy by exercising, it’s very easy to pick up injuries, and to aggravate niggling old ones. Enforced recovery periods are unavoidable, not just when injured but also after strenuous exercise in order to fully restore the body so it’s ready to take on more exercise. When immersed in a hot tub or swim spa with water at the optimum temperature of 32º to 34º the body will relax, circulation will be improved and discomfort can decrease. Swim spas also offer the additional space and depth to perform rehabilitative movement and exercises to aid recovery.
Headaches – Tension headaches are ‘primary’ headaches – meaning they do not have an underlying cause – and are often the result of stress build-up. They’re also one of the four most common types. Stress will often manifest as tension in the shoulders and neck, and so the therapeutic benefits of regular hot tub through the gentle massage programmes found on many models, bathers can soon experience the benefit in preventing headache-related discomfort. Speaking as someone who historically suffered from many tension-related headaches I can vouch for the sheer pleasure in no longer having to endure the regular suffering!
Insomnia – Ongoing and inherent stress is a common cause of sleepless nights. Combining mindfulness, which involves consciously ‘unloading’ your mind of its troublesome and anxious thoughts, together with warm water immersion in a hot tub or swim spa is a wonderful way to calm and quieten the mind, creating a more relaxed and soothed bedtime state.
Stress – Unfortunately it’s practically impossible for any of us to lead a completely ‘stress-free’ life in today’s society. Socioeconomic factors together with so-called ‘leisure’ pastimes, such as social media, often cause heightened anxiety and lower our mood. We can often be left feeling helpless in the face of what we believe we can’t influence or improve, but taking steps to introduce regular positive habits can help to lessen the impact of stress. Regular warm water immersion has been shown to have positive biophysiologic effects impacting the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, autonomic nervous system (ANS) and endocrine systems. It’s hard to put a value on reducing stress in our lives given the many negative and sometimes debilitating impact it can have on our health, and so this is one reason we’d always argue that an investment in a high-quality hot tub or swim spa will not be one subjected to buyer’s remorse later down the line!
Convenience – One of the most common needs we all have in today’s typically time-poor society is for quick and easy solutions to our issues. Of course, ‘quick and easy’ is not always the best answer, but in the instance of a warm, inviting hot tub or swim spa that is ready to dip into at any time in our garden or backyard, we have a ready-to-use solution that’s entirely effective. When we implement convenient and easy-to-adopt practices in our lives that help to improve our physical and mental well-being we’re taking productive steps to a better quality of life.
Why Shouldn’t You Buy a Hot Tub?
There are a number of aspects to running a safe and functional hot tub or swim spa that every prospective owner should consider. Without the willingness to pay close attention to these you’ll soon be faced with water care issues and, maybe even worse, possible illness amongst your bathers.
The non-negotiable factors of hot tub and swim spa ownership include:
- Regular water testing and appropriate chemical application – read our post here to learn more
- Periodic draining of the tub, cleaning and replacing the water – typically this needs to be done every 12-14 weeks.
- Keeping the heating and filtration system turned on at all times during times of usage.
These do of course all result in ongoing maintenance costs, but as we alluded to earlier, compared to the cost of a restaurant meal for four people – easily upwards of £120 – this can be viewed in perspective when balanced against the many benefits.
With this in mind it is worth giving careful thought to how you’d envisage using your hot tub. For example, if you’re viewing it as something you’ll use maybe a handful of times per year to entertain friends then it probably is going to be difficult to see a positive return on your investment.
But if it’s health and well-being benefits you’re looking for, then it’s an entirely different story.
So, in conclusion…
Are Hot Tubs Really Worth It?
If you’re looking to invest in a way for you and your family to relax that’s convenient, enjoyable and proven to have a positive impact on physical wellbeing and mood, then yes, we’d have to conclude based on all aspects outlined above that hot tubs and swim spas are indeed ‘worth it’.
Or perhaps, to quote L’Oreal, that should read ‘because you’re worth it’!
Please note that anyone with preexisting health conditions should always consult their doctor before using a hot tub or swim spa.