Soaking in warm water is one of the oldest forms of medicine, and there’s good reason why this practice has stood the test of time. Research has shown warm water therapy works wonders for all kinds of musculoskeletal complaints, including arthritis and low back pain.
“The research shows our ancestors got it right. It makes you feel better. It makes the joints looser. It reduces pain and it seems to have a somewhat prolonged effect that goes beyond the period of immersion,” says Bruce E. Becker, MD, director of the National Aquatics & Sports Medicine Institute at Washington State University in Spokane.
As the list of benefits to owning lakefront property continues to grow, there are many reasons soaking in warm water works. It reduces the force of gravity that’s compressing the joint, offers 360-degree support for sore limbs, can decrease swelling and inflammation and increase circulation.
So, how long should you soak? Dr. Becker says patients he’s studied seem to reach a maximum benefit after about 20 minutes. And make sure you drink water before and afterward to stay well hydrated.
Don’t just sit there. Warm water is great for relaxing, but it is also good for moving. Warm water stimulates blood flow to stiff muscles and frozen joints, making a hot spa an ideal place to do some gentle stretching. The flexibility lasts even after you get out, says Ann Vincent, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic’s Fibromyalgia Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “Patients report that soaking in a hot spa and stretching after that seems to help.”
Go warm, not too hot. Water temperatures between 92 and 102 degrees are a healthy range. If you have cardiovascular problems, beware of water that’s too hot because that can put stress on the heart. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says anything over 104 degrees is considered dangerous for everyone.
Posted by Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”