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Hot Tub vs Spa

Many times one will hear of a question regarding the difference between a hot tub vs a spa. Most people today realize that in fact the terms are used interchangeably, but it wasn’t always this way.


The concept of soaking in hot water is an ancient one. The Romans were well aware of the benefits of hot water soaks – hydrotherapy in a word. Hot water dilates the blood vessels thereby increasing circulation, and loosens tight muscles as well as reducing joint pain. Hot water soaks have been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure, simulate exercises, lower blood sugar, and, if taken before bed, improve sleep. Hot baths have been around for centuries, but it’s only within the last 70 years that a new way of soaking has emerged – the hot tub.


Hot tubs were conceived in California, specifically in the wine country. Large wooden casks would be sawn in half and then filled with hot water. The casks were large enough to hold several persons, which for the first time made soaking in a hot tub a group sport. The hot tub industry emerged, and purpose built hot tubs began being built that were more conventional in size and shape, contained seating, and were specifically designed for bathers. These would often be heated with propane, and sometimes would be wood fired. The key with hot tubs is that the water didn’t move – it was simply hot water.


It wasn’t until Roy Jacuzzi, whose name is synonymous with hot tubs, invented his famous Jacuzzi line of hot tubs that the spa was born. Jacuzzi took a conventional hot tub and added a pool motor to it with jets that pointed inside the tub. This made the water circulate aggressively, which increased the therapeutic benefits of the spa. The individual jets could be used to heal a tired muscle or limb.


For a period of time after that, hot tubs and spas progressed in parallel lines, with hot tubs being synonymous with still water soaking tubs, and spas being associated with motor driven pressurized jets. As time passed, the two started crossbreeding and today, hot tubs and spas generally mean the same thing. There are manufacturers of pure hot tubs even to this day, as some people still seek out a tub where the water isn’t pressurized for various reasons. True hot tubs are popular where there is no electricity, such as a lakefront cabin. In the absence of electricity, they work well since only gas or propane is needed to heat them.


Regardless of which model you choose, a spa or hot tub is a therapeutic wonder for your body and you will find that whether you seek a true hot tub or a powered spa, both will make you feel wonderful.





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