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What is a Hydrotherapy Tub?

By Jessica Reed
Updated May 21, 2024
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A hydrotherapy tub is like a cross between a bathtub and a hot tub. This type of bathtub combines different technologies to create a comfortable atmosphere with adjustable underwater nozzles and spray to create a vibrating, massaging sensation on sore areas of the body. The water temperature is usually adjustable, and often a movable spray head is included for washing and rinsing. It is available for both personal use in the home and for professional use at spas and clinics.

Patients may use the tub both for pain relief and for luxury. A homeowner may want a tub to help with back problems or aching muscles along with simply taking a relaxing bath. Older patients or those who need physical therapy may use a hydrotherapy tub at home or at a physical therapy office. It can help relax sore muscles and stimulate blood flow. While the hydrotherapy tub can help in many cases, exercise and physical therapy are also an important part of recovery.

Hydrotherapy tubs often feature several adjustable nozzles like those found in a hot tub. Warm jets of water shoot out and the nozzles are adjusted to hit problem areas, such as the lower back. The temperature and force of the spray can usually be adjusted for the user's comfort. Other features are available, such as walk-in tubs with doors and extra nozzles to reach more places. Many feature comfort seating and adjustable back rests, a popular feature in professional use.

Spas and treatment centers often offer packages that include baths in the hydrotherapy tubs. The professional tubs are usually larger and feature draining and self-cleaning systems. The larger size allows the user to fully submerse her body, and a drainage system carries away any water that splashes over the side.

Benefits of the hydrotherapy tub include increased blood flow and relaxation in tense or painful areas. Warm water has long been used for easing pain, though it is not clear how the benefits compare to other programs. Exercise combined with hydrotherapy can help increase movement, though some patients who have limited mobility may be unable to engage in physical activities.

Aside from the health benefits in patients, homeowners may enjoy a personal hydrotherapy tub for relaxing and unwinding after a hard day's work. The water stays warm, unlike a normal bathtub, and the design makes it more comfortable to sit back and relax in the tub. Even without a physical problem, the user can still benefit from a soothing bath in a home hydrotherapy tub.

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Discussion Comments
By John57 — On Oct 05, 2011

We have a hydrotherapy hot tub in our master bathroom that we haven't used as much as we thought we would.

It is nice to be able to submerge yourself in hot water and have the jets working all around your body. Our problem is the tub is so big that we run out of hot water before it is even full.

You have to get the water to a certain point above the jets in order for it to even turn on, and this doesn't feel very good if the water is cold.

We need to get some kind of different water heater if we want to use our hydrotherapy tub on a regular basis.

By Mykol — On Oct 05, 2011

My mom has really bad arthritis, so they installed a hydrotherapy bath tub for her. After she soaks in this tub and turns on the jet, she feels much less stiff and sore.

She didn't think she would use it that much at first, but once she realized how much better she felt, she will use it several times a week.

The most important thing was to make sure it was safe for her to get in and out of it. Some of them sit down so low and it can be quite slippery and cumbersome to climb in and out.

She has bars she can hold on to so she doesn't slip and fall. She loves to get in the tub and relax with a good book. She doesn't fill the tub up all the way, but adds more hot water as the water temperature cools down.

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