Bubbling, hot water has been used for its health and relaxation benefits for a long time. Formerly, in natural hot springs or using heated stones; nowadays, we even enjoy hot tubs and Jacuzzis in our own homes (or chalets).
The history of hot tubs
Ancient Egyptians, Greek Philosophers and the Romans loved a steamy tub and believed it had therapeutic qualities. In Japan, the onsen (a form of hot bath) dates back to at least 737 AD too. The Romans, in particular, constructed buildings and spas around their baths and hot springs. Did you know ‘spa’ is actually an acronym of “Sanus Per Aquam,” meaning “health through water”?! These were built across the Roman Empire and would often include sports arenas, massage parlours, and restaurants too. They were for the public to enjoy and to help weary legionnaires recovery from their military wounds and ailments.
So, now you know people have been enjoying a dip in the ‘tub for a good long time. But did you know the modern bubbling bath was invented by the Jacuzzi brothers?! (Pub quizzers you can thank us later…)
The Jacuzzi family’s trade has always been water pumps but, originally, their pumps helped irrigate agricultural land like orange groves. It was only when a member of the family was suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, in 1956, that the brothers created a portable hydrotherapy pump that could be used in a bath. Aerating the water alleviated pressure on their young relative’s joints and the family had pioneered what has become modern-day hydromassage.
Nowadays, there are many styles and designs of, indoor and outdoor, spa baths and hot tubs. The hot tub even got a starring role in 2010 and 2016’s film Hot Tub Time Machine!
What does a hot tub do to your body?
The warm and aerated water of a hot tub soothes the body for a few reasons. Firstly, the heat of the water widens your blood vessels, which sends nutrient-rich blood throughout your body and helps flush the bad stuff away from your muscles. For this reason, warm water also helps to brings down swelling. Additionally, heat can help loosens tight muscles – you’ll find it much easier to touch your toes after a soak in the tub!
The addition of bubbles in a hot tub adds even more buoyancy to our bodies in the water, which takes weight off painful or aching joints.
Finally, a hot-water dip is also said to be stress-relieving and good for our mental wellbeing.
A few reasons you shouldn’t take a dip in a hot tub
The heat in a hot tub isn’t always a benefit. When you soak in hot water, your body can’t cool down by sweating, instead, your blood vessels widen to try to cool you off. This causes a quick blood pressure drop (and in response to this drop, your heart rate speeds up). This isn’t a worry if you’re in tip top health – but those with heart problems, or abnormally high/low blood pressure should avoid hanging out in hot tubs.
Pregnant people are also told to avoid using hot tubs and having hot baths, due to the effect they have on body temperature. It’s suggested that using a hot tub when you’re pregnant could lead to development and health problems for the baby.
Another reason to avoid the ‘tub is if you have skin problems – injuries or allergies for example. The warm, damp environment is something bacteria enjoy as much as us! Occasionally, bacteria can irritate sensitive or broken skin. That said, chalet staff empty and clean our hot tubs meticulously, every week. To combat bacteria, chemicals are added to the water. While these chemicals are totally safe to bathe in, again, sensitive or broken skin might react to them.
Why are ski chalets and hot tubs the perfect match?
As you’ve learnt here, hot tubs are great for musculoskeletal (muscles, bones and all the bits in-between!) recovery. This is never needed more than after a big day on the slopes. The better you can recover in the chalet post-ski, the harder you can go again the next day! No judgement on how you define this effort – table dancing at après works the quads as much as charging fresh snow!
An evening in the chalet hot tub with the gang is also a great way to debrief on the day, and plot the next adventure. The novelty of a hot tub always puts people in good spirits.
Furthermore, in a Chalet Company chalet, your hot tub experience will be blessed by some of the best views in Méribel. Guests from Chalet Evergreen often tell us they think it’s the best view in the Alps! Of course, many of our chalets have stunning views and the balconies to make the most of them – Chalet Eleanor, for example – but from a hot tub you can enjoy your surroundings, even when it’s snowing, and stay warm.
And finally, should you roll in the snow between dips?!
Roll in the snow, jump in the hot tub, repeat, repeat. It’s a divisive but popular approach! Some people love the full-body tingles it brings. However, a word of warning. Rolling in the snow between dips could create a spike in blood pressure – combine this with the drop in blood pressure caused by the heat of the water and you could run into trouble. Again, if you’re strong and healthy, this could be fine to enjoy but if you have heart or blood-pressure issues, it’s best to avoid.