Hot tub benefits – discover what they can do for your health and wellbeing

These are the expert-endorsed reasons why you should have a hot tub in your yard

wood-fired hot tub on a deck
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you like to relax in warm water, then a hot tub’s benefits start right there. Add one to the yard and you need go no further for soothing outdoor bathing.

But there are other advantages adding one of the best hot tubs could bring outside of convenience, the popularity it will bring you with friends and family, and making more of the space the backyard offers. In fact, there are some boons that might surprise you.

Here, we examine the benefits a hot tub could deliver with guidance from an expert.

5 hot tub benefits that make it a great investment

A backyard hot tub can simply be worth investing in because they’re enjoyable to use. But there are plenty of other reasons why a hot tub deck could be a great addition to your backyard, including those concerning health. 

There is one caution: always be mindful of your personal circumstances. ‘Hot tubs can be a convenient, relaxing, and enjoyable way to reap certain health benefits; however, it is always best to consult a medical professional to ensure that hot tubs are right for your health goals and needs,’ says Dr Mahmud Kara.

Headshot of Mahmud Kara, M.D
Mahmud Kara, M.D

Mahmud Kara, M.D., has over 30 years’ experience conventionally treating patients, spending the early part of his career at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. Years of experience and research led him to discover the benefits of holistic healing and spurred the creation of KaraMD. Wanting to provide customers with the best products, Dr. Kara and his team provide quality solutions that are backed by science and lifestyle tips. He has been quoted as an expert source in multiple publications including Forbes, US News and World Report, Medical News Today, Healthline, and many more.

1. Stress relief

Hot tubs can be a help in combating the effects of stress. ‘I always say that we weren’t built for the 21st century between nutrient-deficient foods, environmental toxins, and our “always on” stressful lifestyle it can be hard to live and feel well,’ says Dr Kara.

‘Chronic stress is important to address as it can lead to more than just low energy or mood swings; it can also increase your risk for chronic disease and other long-term health issues. 

‘While there have not been studies on hot tubs specifically for stress, there is research that suggests that immersion in warm water can help relax and balance the sympathetic nervous system which is important when it comes to stress reduction as the sympathetic nervous system plays a central role in the “fight or flight” (or stress) response.’

person relaxing in a wood-fired hot tub

(Image credit: Getty Images)

2. Muscle pain alleviation

Keen exercisers might be interested in adding a hot tub to the backyard for post-workout therapy. ‘Hot tubs can help with muscle pain in a few different ways,’ explains Dr Kara. ‘The first is that the direct application of heat on the body can target a specifically sore area and provide relief. 

‘Furthermore, one study has suggested that hot tubs or immersion in warm water can help reduce lactic acid buildup which is important as excessive lactic acid can contribute to muscle soreness. 

‘Beyond lactic acid and directly applying heat to a sore area, studies have shown that hot tubs can help improve recovery time following exercise.’

3. Improved sleep

If your sleep isn’t as good as you’d like, a hot tub could be an aid to a better night’s shut-eye. 

‘Hot tubs can help improve sleep quality and promote more restful sleep,’ says Dr Kara. ‘One study notes that hot water immersion can help calm the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn reduces stress, making it easier to stay asleep and fall asleep.

‘Furthermore, another study suggests that hot tubs can trigger a decline in body temperature which can help ease the body’s natural circadian rhythms into sleep.’

woman relaxing in a hot tub at sunset

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Lower blood pressure

A hot tub can lower blood pressure, but bear in mind that this isn’t a lasting effect and those with blood pressure issues need to be cautious.

‘Hot tubs work to lower blood pressure because exposure to the warm temperatures causes the blood vessels to dilate which in turn may help pump more blood throughout the body, improve circulation, and lower blood pressure overall,’ explains Dr Kara. ‘This effect would be very short term.

‘Having said that, if you have blood pressure concerns, it is always best to consult a medical professional before using a hot tub.’

5. Greater calorie burn

If you’ve heard that one of the benefits of using a hot tub is a boost to your calorie burn, this is Dr Kara’s verdict. ‘While research is still limited when it comes to hot tubs and how they impact the calories we burn specifically, there is one study that suggests that soaking in hot water can burn the same amount of calories as a 30 minute walk. 

‘This could be due to the body’s own temperature increasing and working more than it does by just sitting; however, more research is needed to conclude that hot tubs have a direct impact on calories burned.’


Can a hot tub help those with arthritis?

If you have arthritis, you might find the idea of soaking in a hot tub to get relief from your symptoms appealing. The answer as to whether it can help isn’t straightforward, though. 

‘Similar to how hot tubs can help with muscle pain, they can also help those with arthritis or arthritis-like symptoms such as stiffness or swelling,’ says Dr Kara.

‘Again, the direct application of heat to the body can help improve blood flow in the vessels surrounding the joints and it can help improve nutrient and oxygen delivery to the muscles which in turn can help reduce some of the pain or stiffness associated with arthritis

‘There is one caveat to mention when it comes to hot tub use for arthritis which is heat in the short term may help to reduce pain, swelling, or stiffness, but in the long-term repeat applications may have some negative effects such as increasing inflammation so it is always best to manage arthritis symptoms with the help of a professional.’

There's certainly a benefit to having a space in your yard where you can unwind and forget about the stresses of the day, and for many homeowners a hot tub delivers this and more. 

Whether you choose to use it for the health benefits, or you simply like the experience of relaxing in warm water, make sure you're up to speed with the latest hot tub temperature advice to ensure you're using it safely, especially if you have existing health conditions. 

Sarah Warwick
Contributing Editor

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor. Previously executive editor of Ideal Home, she’s specialized in interiors, property and gardens for over 20 years, and covers interior design, house design, gardens, and cleaning and organizing a home for H&G. She’s written for websites, including Houzz, Channel 4’s flagship website, 4Homes, and Future’s T3; national newspapers, including The Guardian; and magazines including Future’s Country Homes & Interiors, Homebuilding & Renovating, Period Living, and Style at Home, as well as House Beautiful, Good Homes, Grand Designs, Homes & Antiques, LandLove and The English Home among others. It’s no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house renovator.