Navigating the World of Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy has long been used as a way to treat injury and relieve symptoms of illness and disease. Centuries ago, people the world over realized the healing power of water as evidenced by the unearthing of an ancient bath in Pakistan that dates back to 4500 B.C. Various forms of hydrotherapy were also an essential part of early Roman, Egyptian and Greek cultures as well as those in China and Japan. The same was true for Europe, where public bathhouses were extremely popular throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, while bathhouses made their first appearance in the U.S. in the mid-1700s.

Today, hydrotherapy is often associated with luxurious indulgences at resorts and day spas or physical therapy during rehabilitation. However, with the wealth of bath products offered today, design professional s can offer their clients the benefits of hydrotherapy right in their own homes. Modern products – including soaking tubs, therapeutic jetted air and water tubs and steam showers – can soothe the discomfort and distress of everything from acne and arthritis to sleep disorders and tendonitis, while improving circulation, decreasing joint pain and speeding the body’s natural healing process.

Given the popularity of, and the desire for, a spa-like environment in today’s bathrooms, it’s no surprise that the hydrotherapy market is booming. But navigating one’s way through the wealth of product offerings currently available can be challenging.

Following are some tips to keep in mind while specifying hydrotherapy products for your clients.


Soaking Tubs

The most elemental form of hydrotherapy is achieved with soaking tubs. Although they are not equipped with any jets, they are typically deeper than traditional tubs to attain therapeutic benefits with full body immersion.

The buoyancy created by total immersion reduces body weight, which eases pressure on joints, muscles and bones, making it a great choice for relieving arthritis. Warm water also quiets the body and slows internal organs while dilating blood vessels and increasing circulation throughout the body.


Jetted Tubs

Water and air versions both offer therapeutic advantages, albeit with different delivery systems and massage intensities. Tubs with water jets provide a deeper, more penetrating massage with a fewer number of jets that are larger in size when compared to air jets. Water jets are particularly beneficial for soothing sore muscles and joints, delivering more focused attention on a specific area, such as the back or neck. Jets are typically multi-directional and adjustable as well, allowing the user to adjust the massage for optimal benefit.

Tubs with air jets provide a more generalized, effervescent feeling. Instead of a few concentrated jets, an air tub has numerous air jets that deliver millions of tiny, micro bubbles for a more delicate, full-body massage experience. Like water jets, air jets can often be customized to deliver the desired strength of bubble massage from calm and gentle to brisk and invigorating.

Many companies also offer options that combine air and water jets for a customized experience based on mood and therapeutic need. They are a great option when multiple family members may be using the same tub.


Steam Showers

Capturing the steam generated by a steam shower is deeply relaxing and can ease muscle tension, open skin pores, improve circulation and cleanse toxins from the body. Steam is also gentle on the respiratory system, making it a great choice for those who suffer from asthma, bronchitis and allergies.

Steam showers are a great alternative for achieving relaxation and reducing stress with minimal amounts of water, which is becoming more of a concern in areas that limit water consumption. Some steam showers use as little as one gallon of water. Adding a seat, a light source for chromatherapy, essential oils for aromatherapy and music adds to the spa-like experience.