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Need to de-stress? How regular hydrotherapy can help reduce stress

Regular doses of hydrotherapy in a quality hot tub can be the perfect stress-buster tonic to combat our ‘full throttle’ lives.

Stress is a growing health concern and like a deadly assassin it can be a silent killer. It often creeps up on you to land a fatal blow or conspires towards a myriad of health issues that are preventable with early action.

Just by prescribing themselves with a daily tonic of hydrotherapy, hot tub owners can prevent illnesses occurring in the first place by simply taking the time to soak away stress on a regular basis before it becomes out of control and causes more severe health problems.

Poll results

A study into stress levels undertaken by YouGov in 2018 was the largest known UK study to date and had a sample size of 4,619 respondents. It found that in the past year, 74 per cent of people have felt so stressed they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.

In terms of the causes of stress, 36 per cent of all adults who reported stress in the previous year cited either their own or a friend/relative’s long-term health condition as a factor. This rose to 44 per cent of adults over 55. For people who reported high levels of stress, 12 per cent said that feeling like they need to respond to smart phone messages instantly was a stressor.

The feedback into the behavioural effects of chronic stress indicated that 46 per cent reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress. 29 per cent reported that they started drinking or increased their drinking, and 16 per cent reported that they started smoking or increased their smoking.

Indicator warnings

It is clear that stress and its impact on behaviour can have a major effect on short-term and long-term health, so what are the warning signs to look for?

Likely symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, tiredness, muscle spasms and trembling or eye twitches, stiffness in your neck and backache may be the early warning signs that your body is suffering stress. Other signs include aching muscles, a nagging headache after working long hours without regular breaks, panic attacks, frequent urination, diarrhoea, impotence, disrupted sleep due to unresolved anxieties, or troublesome indigestion or heartburn.

It is critical that if you experience some or many of these stress indicators, then you should take notice of the early warning signs from your body and act to prevent repercussions of prolonged exposure to stress by making healthy lifestyle choices that can include the many health and wellness benefits of hot tub ownership.

People are generally unaware that they are suffering from stress in the early stages; and may be shocked to discover this when they visit their local surgery with headaches, indigestion and muscle pains, for example. Severe stress, on the other hand, can be more dramatic with panic attacks, severe headaches or migraines, and chest pains among the likely symptoms.

Consulting your local GP about any nagging physical ailments is always the best policy, but if the symptoms are being caused by just common levels of stress then hot tubs can be the perfect prescription to provide a natural daily remedy; rather than reaching for the medicine cabinet or instead of having to resort to prescribed drugs and other treatments after your health has deteriorated further.

Down time

If you are constantly under pressure due to leading a ‘full throttle’ busy, chaotic, or very hectic lifestyle that seems never ending from dawn to dusk; then taking time out from your schedule to be alone and tranquil without any distractions can be very helpful for boosting your health and eliminating the build-up of high levels of stress.

Set aside a time of day when you can be secluded from the world to just savour the moment and gain a tremendous natural tranquillity tonic in your hot tub. It should be part of your daily schedule, which can be truly enhanced if it is in a good quality model with advanced hydrotherapy, audio functionality and lighting.

We are all different. Some owners may want to get a boost from their hot tub early in the morning, to help kick-start their day; while others may wish to unwind in their hot tub in the evening to ensure all their cares are soaked away before gaining a restful night’s sleep. Either way, the very fact that you are using the hot tub regularly will deliver the many health benefits of heat and hydrotherapy and help you to melt away chronic stress levels.

Drug reliance

Stress is negatively affecting one in five of the working population, according to the Stress Management Society, and it is costing employers £1.24billion annually with millions of working days lost every year because of work-related stress, which can increase anxiety and depression.

When stress overload occurs, especially over a considerable period, there can be a breakdown in mental and physical health, which may then lead to poor decision making and an acute accumulation of serious illnesses and critical symptoms.

Once our bodies are burdened by too much stress it may lead to them blowing a mental fuse, which could lead to time off work or having the more drastic action of bowing out from occupations that we may have trained and worked up to for many years and previously excelled at. This can continue the vicious circle of stress and depression.

Tens of millions of depression drugs are dispensed every year and it is now widely accepted by health experts that we are in a ‘depression crisis’. Yet it has recently been highlighted from research funded by the Alzheimer’s Society that patients who took anticholinergics, including dosulepin, paroxetine and amitriptyline, which are designed to block a key neurotransmitter in the body called acetylcholine, for more than a 12-month period had a 30 per cent increased risk of dementia in later life.

Lead pharmacist on the study Dr Ian Maidment of Aston University warned that people need to be more conservative in using these drugs but advised: “The key thing is don’t panic. It’s a long-term effect so don’t suddenly stop taking medication.”

Pressure points

Many stress-related problems include being impatient, snappy, painful and embarrassing skin conditions, and the worrying build-up of high blood pressure that can lead to serious health issues such as the risk of stroke or heart-attack.

It must be stated that no amount of hot tub time can solve the original problems that are causing you to be stressed on a regular basis, but effectively coping with stress, and finding ways to reduce unnecessary or unhealthy levels of stress are important life skills to master.

Studies have shown that being immersed in warm water can release the hormone dopamine in our bodies. It is produced by the parasympathetic nervous system to help our bodies to counteract the problem of being under stress.

By deciding to spend some of your free time in the confines of a soothing and relaxing hot tub you will not only feel de-stressed and prepared to take on the World but also you’ll be less inclined to turn to excessive amounts of online activities, alcohol, cigarettes, or junk food as a way of coping with stress.

Hunger gains

While self-control is important, there is mounting evidence that stress plays a significant part in weight gain. Chronic stress disrupts our sleep and our blood sugar levels. This leads to increased hunger and comfort eating. And that then leads to further disrupted sleep, even higher levels of stress and even more disrupted blood sugars. In time, this can lead not only to unhealthy levels of body fat, but also to type-2 diabetes.

Scientific research has proven that when you are stressed, your body goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode. Your body thinks it is under attack and releases glucose into your blood to provide energy for your muscles.

But if you don’t need that energy to run away from danger, then your pancreas will pump out insulin to bring those blood sugar levels back down again. These rising levels of insulin and falling blood sugars will make you hungry – which is why you crave sugary carbs when you are stressed. The same sort of thing happens when you have a bad night’s sleep.

Calorie burner

If you have sacked off the gym in favour of a long, relaxing soak in the spa area you will be relieved to know that it still results in calories being burned off!

Researchers at Loughborough University have claimed that enjoying a hot tub session might have equivalent health benefits to exercise routines. Passive heating they claim, might have a positive effect on blood sugar control, which is a good indicator of your overall metabolic fitness, and the number of calories that the body burns.

Dr Steve Faulkner conducted a study looking at 14 men who took part in two tests: the first was to go on an hour’s cycle. The second was to kick back in an hour-long 40-degree Celsius bath. Both tests were designed to raise the core body temperature by one degree, which allowed the team to study how many calories were being burned in each session. And, although the cycling obviously burnt more calories, the researchers found that a hot bath used up around 130 calories, the same energy demand as a 30-minute walk!

Health crisis

Recent media coverage has again highlighted that there is a mental health crisis among children. Cases of anxiety have risen by 42 per cent in five years and highly-respected journalist Mark Austin has declared that children’s mental health is now one of the most pressing issues of our society.

Tina Bould, who is a senior supervisor for the children’s charity ChildLine, has highlighted that there has been a dramatic rise of contact from young people who are struggling to deal with the pressures of their education and family life.

“We’ve had a 34 per cent increase in young people contact us with mental health issues,” said Tina. “It is closely linked with other problems such as school, education and pressures in the family home.”

It illustrates there is now a case for hot tubs to be utilised by the entire family as the welcoming warmth and relaxation of the family hot tub can provide an area that is free from anxiety and can encourage greater communication with siblings, parents and friends rather than retreating behind bedroom doors and increasing self-isolation.

Struggling teenagers can become isolated very easily, so they can really reap the rewards of spending quality social time, not just with family members, but also with their trusted friends; so what better way to improve their ‘real’ social interaction time than by providing them with the ultimate relaxing safe space in their very own home or garden, in the form of a quality hot tub away from the distractions of their tech gadgets?