Estimated read time: 3-5 minutes
Author: Lisa Ruggles
There's nothing quite like sinking into the warm, bubbling embrace of a Jacuzzi hot tub after a long day. The soothing jets, combined with the enveloping heat, can work wonders for relaxation and stress relief. But as with any pleasurable activity, it's essential to find the right balance to ensure your well-being. In this article, we'll delve into the factors that influence how long you can safely spend in a hot tub and provide some guidelines for an enjoyable and healthy soaking experience.
Most guidelines suggest that the optimal time you can stay in a hot tub is 20 minutes. In fact, many of the leading hot tub brands have built-in timers on their pumps to cut out after 20 minutes. This acts as a reminder to check in on yourself and get out if need be. There are many factors that will determine the length of time you should spend in your hot tub, from temperature to health conditions. Let's look at the most common.
The heart of any hot tub experience lies in its temperature. Most hot tubs maintain water temperatures between 37.8°C to 40°C (100°F to 104°F). However, the hotter the water, the shorter your recommended soak time. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to overheating, raising concerns for dehydration and other potential health risks. This is even more important if you are pregnant, elderly, or have children bathing with you.
It is important to recognise the signs that you have stayed in your hot tub too long for your own health and safety. They are:
If you experience any of the above, it is important you cool down and rehydrate as soon as possible. However, you must take care exiting your hot tub, as sudden changes in temperature might exaggerate your symptoms.
Before taking the plunge, it's important to consider your personal health circumstances. Individuals with pre-existing health conditions can benefit from using a hot tub regularly, such as heart problems (passive heat therapy can improve cardiovascular health (Brudt et al., 2016)), diabetes (can help glycemic control (Sebők et al. (2021)); however, they should consult their healthcare provider before hopping into the hot tub. Such conditions can impact your ability to regulate body temperature and may warrant shorter soak times.
Children, pregnant women, and older adults tend to be more sensitive to temperature changes. If they're joining you in the hot tub, be extra cautious and keep sessions even shorter to prevent any potential adverse reactions. Most hot tubs have varying height seats, which can be utalised, to help keep your body temperature stable; for example, spending some of the time with your shoulders out of the water will help keep your body temperature lower. If you are pregnant, you can read our article on hot tubs and pregnancy by following this link.
If you've had a drink or taken certain medications, it's best to skip the hot tub session. Alcohol and specific drugs can enhance the effects of the heat, potentially leading to discomfort or more serious health issues. In reality, many people use the hot tub after drinking alcohol or drink alcohol whilst in their Jacuzzi. Therefore it is important to be aware that heat increases the effect of alcohol on your body, so make sure you also drink water to lessen the effects and stay hydrated.
In the end, soaking in a hot tub can provide a wealth of relaxation and therapeutic benefits. However, it's vital to exercise caution and listen to your body's signals. Remember the temperature, your health conditions, and the importance of hydration. By adhering to recommended time limits and being mindful of your body's comfort, you'll be well on your way to a delightful and safe hot tub experience.
Brunt, V.E. et al. (2016) ‘Passive heat therapy improves endothelial function, arterial stiffness and blood pressure in sedentary humans’, The Journal of Physiology, 594(18), pp. 5329–5342. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1113/JP272453.
Sebők, J. et al. (2021) ‘Heat therapy shows benefit in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review and meta-analysis’, International Journal of Hyperthermia, 38(1), pp. 1650–1659. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/02656736.2021.2003445.
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