At Hydropool Midlands, we know how beneficial a session in a Swim Spa can be.
For me, just the smell of the chlorine is enough to send me blissfully back in time to happy, carefree childhood days.
The obvious benefits of swimming as an exercise and just the ‘feel-good’ that comes with submersion in warm water are well documented, but as we’d been hearing from users with specific conditions who have experienced, perhaps surprising, positive health outcomes, I decided to look further into four key areas – Arthritis, Muscular Dystrophy, Type 2 Diabetes and Depression/Anxiety.
As always, we advise seeking medical advice for any long-term condition, discomfort or pain. What I have tried to do in this blog is to take feedback from Hydropool customers and back up this anecdotal evidence with scientific and medical studies. Your spa can complement medical treatments and advice but should never replace it.
LONG TERM CONDITIONS
According to a recent study, around 15 million people in the UK are living from a long-term health condition (The Kings Fund, 2021), that’s about a quarter of the population, which isn’t the most cheerful way to start a blog post.
On a more positive note, we’re encouraged by the feedback we get from Hydropool owners telling how their Hot Tubs and Swim Spas have helped. In this blog, we’ll investigate some of the science that backs up the anecdotal evidence.
A chronic condition is defined as a condition ‘that lasts 1 year or more and requires ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both’ (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). Chronic conditions come in many different forms, with examples including type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, heart disease as well as many more (National Institute of Mental Health, 2021). Managing a chronic condition is extremely important to prevent the condition from worsening and allowing you to live a normal day to day life.
I cannot express strongly enough how extremely important it is that the management of a chronic condition should always be done with the aid of a medical professional. Medical professionals should always be consulted before beginning any home-based management programme. However, as I say, customer feedback and a variety of research investigations, your swim spa could assist with the management of a range of chronic conditions. In this post, let’s consider four.
1 - Arthritis
The NHS (2018) defines arthritis as ‘a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint’. The condition is estimated to affect roughly 350 million individuals worldwide (Global RA Network, 2021). Those suffering from arthritis can experience a wide variety of issues as a result of their condition, including swelling, joint pain and a lack of mobility (Arthritis.org, 2021).
Alongside professional medical assistance, a swim spa or hot tub can provide relief from the pain caused by arthritis, and an ideal environment to exercise in.
Exercise is vital when looking to manage arthritis. Research shows that exercise can help those living with arthritis to reduce joint pain whilst increasing both flexibility and strength (Cooney et al, 2011; MayoClinic, 2021).
Unfortunately, research points to those with arthritis being more susceptible to injuries that are both more severe and more frequent, whilst attempting to exercise (Versus Arthritis, 2021).
Fortunately, your swim spa can provide a solution to this key issue. When exercising in your swim spa, the water will support 90% of your body weight (AXA Health, 2020), taking pressure off the joints, making an injury much less likely.
Research also has found that simply bathing in warm water can have significant benefits. According to Healthline (2020), a prolonged soak in warm water can help reduce joint inflammation, reduce the amount of stiffness felt at the joint as well as provide a relief from the pain caused by the condition.
2 - Muscular Dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy is a condition that negatively affects a singular or group of muscles within the body, causing them to become weaker and potentially smaller over time (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).
Whilst rarer than some of the other conditions we’ll look at, muscular dystrophy can be extremely debilitating, with effects including loss of movement, decreased flexibility, muscle deformity as well as potential heart problems (NHS, 2021).
Whilst exercise is important to help manage muscular dystrophy, certain impact-based exercises such as running can cause more damage than good. Physiospot (2020), for instance, explains that impact exercise can damage muscles and cause inflammation.
Again, as the water in your swim spa creates a low impact environment and takes the weight of approximately 90% of your bodyweight (AXA Health, 2020), exercising in it provides a much safer space for exercise. Research has also found that your body’s range of motion increases when underwater, allowing muscles to stretch further without the risk of muscle tears and sprains occurring (AICA Orthopaedics, 2020).
3 - Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, defined as an ‘impairment in the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as a fuel’, is a condition that affects roughly 462 million people worldwide (MayoClinic, 2021; Khan et al, 2020).
Research highlights swimming as an extremely effective method of helping manage type 2 diabetes. It has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity as well as help lower blood glucose levels, reducing the body’s demand for insulin (Colberg et al, 2016; Swimming.org, 2021).
Swimming also helps reduce the risk of cardio-vascular disease, a condition that those with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop as a result of their condition (Martín-Timón et al, 2014; Diabetes UK, 2010).
The versatility of a Hydropool Swim Spa allows you to swim at a speed of your choosing, so no matter what level of fitness you’re at, you can hop in your swim spa and go for a swim, helping you manage your condition.
Furthermore, studies say that simply bathing in warm water can potentially aid those with type 2 diabetes manage their condition. In a research paper published by The New England Journal of Medicine Volume, Hooper (1999) found that bathing in a hot tub 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week helped lower individuals’ blood glucose levels as well as their insulin needs. The same study also found that participants reported getting better nights sleep and burning more calories throughout the day, both of which have been found to aid the management of type 2 diabetes (Diabetes UK, 2021; Everyday Health, 2020).
4 - Depression and Anxiety
Chronic health conditions are not just physical ones, they can also come in the form of psychological conditions, including depression and anxiety (Medical News Today, 2021; Rynn & Brawman-Mintzer, 2004).
It is estimated that roughly 970 million people suffer from some form of psychological issue worldwide (Our World in Data, 2018). Due to their spacious design, our swim spas accommodate for a range of exercises, a tool which has proven extremely effective in the fight against psychological conditions. Large scale studies such as the one conducted by Chekroud et al (2018) have found that exercising for 45 minutes a day 3-5 days a week can reduce the number of ‘poor mental health days’ by as much as 43.2%. On top of this, further studies such as Herring et al (2012) and Harvey et al (2018) have established a clear link between exercise and a decrease in anxiety and depressive symptoms.
Our swim spas also provide an area for you to bathe and relax in, also recommended for mental health. Research has found that bathing in warm water can have a wide range of benefits for those suffering from depression and anxiety. When bathing in our swim spas, muscles will begin to loosen and relax, helping relieve tension and allow your body and mind to completely relax (Medical News Today, 2017).
Research has also shown that simply bathing in warm water can improve your mood! When in warm water your body releases endorphins, the hormone responsible for the feeling of happiness, allowing you to step out of your swim spa relaxed and with a more positive mental state (Healthline, 2018).
In conclusion, I was buoyed (if you’ll pardon the pun) to find there was a body of research to back up users’ feedback. I cannot stress enough though, the importance of professional medical advice for any and all of the conditions we have discussed in this blog. Each of the claims are fully referenced and the sources are detailed below. I hope that, in conjunction with medical advice and intervention, your Hydropool swim spa can help your condition and improve the quality of your life.
To experience Hydropool Midlands’ Hot Tubs and Swim Spas for yourself, visit our showroom just off junction 25 of the M1 for Nottingham. Request a brochure or a home visit and you can find out more across the Hydropool Midlands website, or by calling 0800 144 8827.
- AICA Orthopaedics (2020) 5 Ways an Aquatic Treadmill Speeds up Physical Therapy [Internet] available from: <https://aica.com/5-ways-an-aquatic-treadmill-speeds-up-physical-therapy/>
- Arthritis.org (2021) How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects More Than Joints [Internet] available from: <https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/more-about/how-rheumatoid-arthritis-affects-more-than-joints>
- AXA Health (2020) Health benefits of swimming [Internet] available from: <https://www.axahealth.co.uk/personal/health-information/articles/wellbeing/exercise-and-fitness/health-benefits-of-swimming2/>
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (2020) Muscular Dystrophy [Internet] available from: <https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/musculardystrophy/facts.html>
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (2021) About Chronic Illness [Internet] available from <https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm>
- Chekroud, S, Gueorguieva, R, Zheutlin, A, Paulus, M, Krumholz, H, Krystal, J (2018) Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study. The Lancet Psychiatry. 5 (9).p. 739-746
- Colberg, S, Sigal, R, Yardley, J, Riddell, M, Dunstan, D, Dempsey, P, Horton, E, Castorino, K, Tate, D (2016) Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 39 (11) .p. 2065-2079
- Cooney, J, Law, R, Matschke, V, Lemmey, A, Moore, J, Ahmad, Y, Jones, J, Maddison, P, Thom, J (2011) Benefits of Exercise in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of Aging Research.
- Diabetes UK (2010) research claims diabetes doubles the risk of heart attacks and strokes [Internet] available from: <https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news_landing_page/research-claims-diabetes-doubles-the-risk-of-heart-attacks-and-strokes>
- Diabetes UK (2021) weight loss and diabetes [Internet] available from: <https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/whats-your-healthy-weight/lose-weight>
- Everyday Health (2020) 8 Ways to Sleep Better When You Have Diabetes [Internet] <https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/type-2-diabetes-care/sleep-better/>
- Global RA Network (2021) About Arthritis and RA [Internet] available from: <https://globalranetwork.org/project/disease-info/>
- Harvey, S, Øverland, S, Hatch, S, Wessely, S, Mykletun, A, Hotopf, M (2018) Exercise and the Prevention of Depression: Results of the HUNT Cohort Study. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 175 (1).p. 28-36
- Healthline (2018) Can a Hot Bath Deliver the Same Results as Exercise? [Internet] available from: <https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-pain/hot-bath-benefits-sento-furo-japanese-bathing>
- Healthline (2020) 7 Benefits of Soaking in a Hot Tub [Internet] available from: <https://www.healthline.com/health/hot-tub-benefits>
- Herring, P, Jacob, M, Suveg, C, Dishman, R, O’Connor, P (2012) Feasibility of exercise training for the short-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Psychopathy and Psychosomatics. 81 (2)
- Hooper, P (1999) Hot-Tub Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. The New England Journal of Medicine Volume. 341 (12) .p. 924-925
- Khan, M, Hashim, M, King, J, Govender, R, Mustafa, H, Kaabi, J (2020) Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes – Global Burden of Disease and Forecasted Trends. Journal of Epidemiology of Global Health. 10 (1).p. 107-111
- Martín-Timón, l, Sevillano-Collantes, C, Segura-Galindo, A, Cañizo-Gómez, F (2014) Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease: Have all risk factors the same strength? World Journal of Diabetes. 5 (4).p. 444-470
- MayoClinic (2021) Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness [Internet] available from: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arthritis/in-depth/arthritis/art-20047971>
- MayoClinic (2021) Type 2 diabetes [Internet] available from: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193>
- Medical News Today (2017) Hot or cold: Which therapy works best? [Internet] available from: <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/29108>
- Medical News Today (2021) Chronic illness and depression: What is the link? [Internet] available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/chronic-illness-and-depression
- National Institute of Mental Health (2021) Chronic Illness and Mental Health: Recognizing and Treating Depression [Internet] available from: <https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/chronic-illness-mental-health>
- NHS (2018) Arthritis [Internet] available from: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/>
- NHS (2021) Muscular dystrophy [Internet] <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/muscular-dystrophy/>
- Our World in Data (2018) Mental Health [Internet] available from: <https://ourworldindata.org/mental-health>
- Physiospot (2020) Exercise for Muscular Dystrophy | Apply Caution | Article of The Week #20 [Internet] available from: <https://www.physiospot.com/research/exercise-for-muscular-dystrophy/>
- Rynn, M, Brawman-Mintzer, O (2004) Generalized anxiety disorder: acute and chronic treatment. CNS Spectrums. 9 (10) .p. 716-723
- Swimming.org (2021) Diabetes and swimming [Internet] available from: <https://www.swimming.org/justswim/diabetes-and-swimming/>
- The Kings Fund (2021) Long-term conditions and multi-morbidity [Internet] available from: <https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/time-think-differently/trends-disease-and-disability-long-term-conditions-multi-morbidity>
- Torres-Ronda, L, Alcázar, X (2014) The Properties of Water and their Applications for Training. Journal of Human Kinetics. 9 (44) .p. 237-244
- Versus Arthritis (2021) Why is swimming and exercising in water good for people with arthritis? [Internet] available from: <https://www.versusarthritis.org/news/2021/june/why-is-swimming-and-exercising-in-water-good-for-people-with-arthritis/>