The Science Behind How a Hot Tub Can Help Relieve Stress


science behind how hot tub can help relieve stress

In today’s hyper-production and incredibly busy society, it’s easy to become overly stressed.

Thankfully, science has proven that a short soak in the steaming and massaging waters of a hot tub at the end of a long day can help you greatly reduce a lot of that stress.

Why Is Stress Bad for Us?

Before we get into how exactly hot tubs help to relieve stress, it’s important to look at the negative effects of stress. According to the Mayo Clinic,1 stress can affect your thoughts, feelings and behavior. Stress can wreak havoc on your body and mood, causing chest pain, upset stomachs, headaches, depression, anxiety, angry outbursts and social withdrawal.

What’s worse, if your stress is left unchecked, you can develop some serious health problems. Chronic stress can lead to heart disease, depression, problems with your memory and concentration, weight gain, digestive problems and problems sleeping, according to the Mayo Clinic.2

The Science Behind How a Hot Tub Can Help Relieve Stress

Warm Water Immersion for Deep Relaxation

Immersing yourself in warm waters at 102 degrees F has proven to put your body into a deeply relaxed state. During his research, Dr.
Bruce Becker, a physician and research professor at Washington State University, found that the sympathetic nervous system
3 (which increases when you’re stressed) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which helps your body to calm down), balance out when you soak in warm water.

Your nervous system reacts to warm water in the same way that it reacts to meditation or other
relaxed states. During his studies, Becker found that stress levels were decreased in all subjects who immersed their body in warm water.

Water Buoyancy Reduces Physical Stress

The weightlessness of your body in a hot tub can also help to relieve physical stress. A study by E. J. Sung and Y. Tochihara4 analyzed how soaking in warm water improved sleep. The National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF)5 suggests that this sleep improvement may be a result of the water’s buoyancy. The water, supports approximately 90 percent of your normal body weight, relieving stress from your joints and muscles and making you feel weightless.

Massages Work The Stress Away

Along with the stress relief you receive from water buoyancy and warm water immersion, therapeutic massages from hot tub jets help to relax your body and mind. According to the University of
Maryland Medical Center
,6 massages reduce stress hormones and promotes the body to release endorphins, which are natural mood elevators and painkillers. The American Cancer Society7 also states that massaging water jets provide relaxation and stress relief.

Quiet Relaxation for Stress Management

Taking just 15 or 20 minutes every day to sit quietly, relax and breathe deeply can help you cope with stress, according to the American Heart Association8. A hot tub is the perfect place for tranquil solitude, giving you the alone time you need to focus on yourself and relax. Dr. Michael R. Irwin, director of UCLA’s Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and the Mindful Awareness Research Center, also states9 that taking time to relax everyday significantly improves your life. In an interview with the LA Times, he says that stillness and being present in the moment causes profound relaxation by resetting your physiology, regulating your stress hormones, helping with concentration and reducing tension.

As you can see, soaking in a hot tub is an incredible way to help you manage the stress in your life. Not only are hot tubs fun and enjoyable, but they can also help to give you a happier and more pleasant life through relaxation. If you’re interested in learning more about hot tubs, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-876-0158. We would love to be a part of helping you transform your life for the better.


1 “Stress Symptoms: Effects on Your Body and Behavior.” Mayo Clinic. July 19, 2013.
Accessed February 13, 2015.

2 “Chronic Stress Puts Your Health at Risk.” Mayo Clinic. July 11, 2013. Accessed
February 13, 2015.

3 Popke, Michael. “Research Lends Support to Long-Held Notion That Warm-Water
Immersion Does a Body Good.” Athletic Business. February 1, 2010. Accessed February 13, 2015.

4 Sung, Eun-Jung, and Yutaka Tochihara. “Effects of Bathing and Hot Footbath on
Sleep in Winter.” Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science 19, no. 1 (2000):
21-27. Accessed February 18, 2015.

5 Batter, Laurie. “The Science Behind the Soak.” National Swimming Pool Foundation.
August 1, 2009. Accessed February 13, 2015.

6 Ehrlich, Steven D. “Massage.” University of Maryland Medical Center. Accessed
February 13, 2015.

7 “Hydrotherapy.” American Cancer Society. Accessed February 13, 2015.

8 “How Can I Manage Stress?” American Heart Association. January 1, 2012. Accessed
February 13, 2015.

9 Dawson, Alene. “Soak Your Cares Away – It’s Terrific and Scientific.” Los Angeles Times.
January 24, 2014. Accessed February 13, 2015.


Related Articles