Relax and Recharge in a Hot Water Spa.
Once a luxury available only to the wealthy, a hot water spa or hot tub has become a focal point in many homes all over the world.
There is no doubt that hydrotherapy is good for you, and the hot water spa has become a pleasant place to entertain friends or relax with the family. This is a soothing pool that drains away the day’s aches and pains; a quiet island of peace and tranquillity that calms the mind and facilitates clear, creative thought.
The Hot Water Spa in History
For thousands of years people have soaked away their aches and stresses in natural hot water spa-pools. The ancient Egyptians appreciated the healthy relaxing benefits of natural hot springs, and modern medicine has long prescribed hydrotherapy for physical disorders and athletic training programs.
A few minutes immersion in warm water, combined with the massaging action of hydrojets in a spa, will create the perfect environment to relieve nervous tension and induce restful sleep.
Health Value of a Hot Water Spa
Experts say that a 15 to 30 minute session in a spa is rejuvenating. It not only helps to relieve daily stress and tension, it also eases anxiety and helps with the prevention of stress-related illnesses. Soaking for 40 minutes or longer will have the effect of inducing sleep, which is a boon for insomniacs, because the therapeutic massage soothes aching muscles, strained from strenuous exercise and acts as a sedative for people suffering from chronic arthritis, neuralgia, rheumatism or insomnia.
Quite simply, hydro-massage is taking the principles of hydrotherapy one step further, using the therapeutic use of warm water, buoyancy and massage. Warm water raises the body temperature which causes the blood vessels to dilate, resulting in increased circulation. The buoyancy of the water reduces body weight by up to 90 percent thus relieving pressure on aching joints and muscles.
The water jet massagers gently work away at the target areas of tight muscles which automatically relaxes them, at the same time stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever. It is air mixed with water that massages, so the more air lines in a spa the more effective the jets.
It is no secret that technological advances have made spas surprisingly affordable to own and operate.
Portable Spas and Tubs
Portable spas have become increasingly popular, not just because of their size and cost, but because they are quite literally portable, and so you can take them with you when you move. Also known as self contained or moveable spas, these are the dominant product on the market today, representing about 80 percent of total spa sales worldwide.
It does not have to look like a box with wood or fiberglass around it; with some creative ideas it can be installed with tiles or wooden decking and made to look as though it has been built in. The principle of a portable spa, is that it is easily accessible for maintenance and is efficient in running costs. The pumps are close, the jets will work at their optimum and there is minimal water heat loss.
Buying a Hot Water Spa
If you decide to buy a spa, there are two cost aspects to consider, the initial capital outlay and future running costs.
Running costs are most important as they are not pre-defined, whereas the capital outlay represents a once-off payment. Be aware that the main running cost of a spa is the electricity to heat the spa water. This is generally achieved with a large (1.1kw) motor which is also used for the jets and filter. Ideally, a smaller, separate motor should be used, connected to a timer/thermostat. The most economical and effective option is to leave the spa water at a constant temperature (of your choice) so your spa is always ready to use. Ask your supplier for a silent motor as motor noise can be quite annoying.
You can curb electricity bills by ensuring that the spa is sufficiently insulated, covered and the equipment kept as close to the shell as possible. One of the many advantages of buying a free standing spa, is that the heater casing is tucked in under the spa which allows for speedy heating and minimal heat loss.
Cold air blowers are most often used on the air line of a spa. It is far better to insist on the installation of a hot air blower as a cold air blower tends to blow the spa water cold and can be unpleasant.
The maintenance of a spa is not difficult or costly. One spa tab per week is all that is required to chlorinate the water. An added hygienic feature is the use of a UV ozone sterilizing unit which may be installed to sanitize the spa water.
A spa holds approximately 1 kilolitre (264.2 US gallons) of water which is generally drained on an eight weekly basis. When the spa is emptied, the paper cartridge filters should be hosed down and soaked in bleach for an hour before replacing. Sand filters are seldom used, as the filtration rate is about 125 microns as opposed to the paper cartridge, which is around 23 micron.
In contrast to the traditional timber hot tub, the most common materials used in the production of hot water spas are acrylics combined with rigid fiberglass reinforcing. A relatively new and very effective material used in the manufacture of spas is Amporol-100. It has excellent heat retention properties as well as being strong and durable.