Over the last couple of years, home gyms have become “must-haves” (along with home offices).  It is, however, important to recognize that rest is as important as work. 

A home spa is just as valuable as a home gym.  In particular, a whirlpool bath is a great investment in your physical and mental health.

The basics of whirlpool baths

Whirlpool baths are baths with air jets in them.  Depending on the type of whirlpool bath, these may be water jets, air jets, or a combination of both. 

Water jets basically shoot jets of water against your body.  They are great if you want a really strong massage, for example, if you want to use your whirlpool bath on your rest days from your exercise routine.  

Air jets blow air creating lots of moving bubbles that bounce against you.  The massage is much less vigorous and hence more relaxing. 

Modern whirlpool baths tend to have a roughly equal balance of water jets and air jets.  This seems to suit most people.  It is, however, important to double-check this before you commit to a purchase.

You do need to measure that space for a whirlpool bath especially carefully as they’re usually delivered in one piece.  You also need to budget a little extra time and money for maintenance and running costs.  These are, however, only slightly more than for a regular bath and the benefits are more than worth it.

If you really don’t have space for a whirlpool bath, you could look at a hydrotherapy shower.  These are the same idea but in shower format. 

Realistically, they can’t deliver the same level of sheer, relaxing bliss as a proper whirlpool bath.  They are, however, way better than the average shower.

Whirlpool baths vs hot tubs

Whirlpool baths and hot tubs are essentially the same.  The only real difference is that whirlpool baths are designed to be used indoors whereas hot tubs are generally used outdoors. 

If you have an outdoor space, you could use a hot tub instead of a whirlpool bath.  You may, however, find that this works out more expensive if you want to use it all year round.

Essentially, whirlpool baths typically have a higher upfront cost than hot tubs.  Their running costs, however, tend to be lower. 

This is partly because you only fill them when you’re going to use them.  It’s also partly because whirlpool baths are already in fairly warm environments so minimal heat is lost to the air.  

Hot tubs, by contrast, tend to be fairly easy to keep warm from late spring to early fall.  In the real cold months, however, they often need a lot of heating to work effectively. 

They also tend to need a lot of cleaning to stop them from getting blocked by seasonal debris like falling leaves.

Why go back to baths

You’ve probably noticed that bathrooms have increasingly been turning into shower rooms.  Now, family homes may only have one bath even if they have multiple bathrooms. 

Smaller homes such as apartments and condos have been seeing baths disappear completely.

There appear to have been three main drivers behind this trend.  First, there’s the simple fact that baths take up a lot more floor space than showers. 

This is particularly relevant in cities where space is usually at a premium.  Secondly, there were sustainability concerns about baths.  Thirdly, baths just fell out of favor.

It’s fair to say that if you just want to get clean, a shower is usually a far better choice than a bath.  If, however, you want to have some time out, then a bath is a far better choice than a shower. 

The good news is that you can now get whirlpool baths with integrated showers.  In fact, you can even get whirlpool baths with integrated hydrotherapy steam showers.

This means that you really can have the very best of both worlds.  You don’t have to put up with the weak overhead showers which used to be the standard above baths. 

Instead, you can have a proper shower experience when you need to get clean quickly.  When you do have time, however, then you can really enjoy everything your whirlpool bath has to offer.

The benefits of baths

Baths are essentially places where you can lie in warm water.  Each of these elements brings its own benefits.  Lying back is a powerful mental signal that it’s time to relax.  When you’re in a bath, the setting encourages relaxation. 

You can lock the door, keep the lights on low, put on your favorite audio (or just enjoy the quiet), close your eyes and just breathe.

If you’re into meditation, then baths can be a great place for it.  They help you relax enough to calm your mind so you can focus on the moment. 

Even if you’re not, having a bath can help to soothe any negativity which has built up over the day.  You wind up feeling mentally clean as well as physically clean.

Heat also relaxes the body.  Interestingly, however, it stimulates the heart.  That means your blood goes around your body faster than usual. 

As it does, it delivers oxygen and nutrients and removes toxins.  Heat also produces steam, which you’ll breathe in.  This will get into your body, especially your lungs, and deep-cleanse them.  You can add essential oils for extra benefits.

Last but definitely not least, there’s the water itself.  Water supports your body gently.  It creates a feeling of lightness.  In particular, it takes the weight off your joints. 

This is a very pleasant feeling even if your joints are fully healthy.  If you have any joint issues, it really is blissful relief.

The benefits of whirlpool baths

The specific benefits of whirlpool baths depend on what kind of jets they have.  Water jets stimulate the body in much the same way as massage. 

This increases your heart rate even further and hence stimulates the body’s repair and recovery processes.  This is the main reason why whirlpool baths with water jets are so highly valued by sportspeople.

Air jets, by contrast, only give the very lightest of massages.  They only have a marginal impact on your heart rate but they do wonders for your state of mind. 

Being massaged by air jets is one of the most soothing experiences anyone can have.  It really is like being rocked to sleep like a baby.

As previously mentioned, modern whirlpool baths generally have a roughly equal balance of water jets and air jets.  The overall effect is therefore very similar to having a medium-strength massage. 

It’s stimulating enough that you are aware of it but it’s still comfortable and relaxing.

If you exercise regularly, then using a whirlpool bath on your rest days can help to protect you from injury.  It can also promote recovery from any injury you do pick up. 

Even if you don’t exercise regularly, you’ll probably notice an improvement in the condition of your skin, hair, and nails.