The Soothing Water Of A Hot Tub Can Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Posted on: 18 December 2014

You're wondering whether having a hot tub installed will provide a way to routinely ease your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. You have always enjoyed the relaxing sensations provided by warm swirling water, and now that you have this autoimmune disease, you're thinking maybe regular sessions in a hot tub would be therapeutic. That instinctive feeling is accurate. Very warm water does indeed have benefits for relieving the pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis, and those benefits last long after you leave the hot tub. 

Potential Benefits

Relaxing Stiff Joints and Muscles

You may have already noticed that very warm water, such as the water in your shower or bathtub, loosens your stiff joints. It also relaxes muscles. That can be especially beneficial for the muscles and other soft tissues around your affected joints, as those areas can become tight because of joint stiffness and inflammation.  

Soaking in a bathtub has similar benefits, but it's difficult to maintain the water at a constant temperature, and you don't get the soothing effects of the water jets. 

Decreasing Gravity on the Joints

As you sit in the hot tub, you can allow your legs and arms to simply float in the water. This dramatically reduces the pressure of gravity on sore joints and leads to reduced pain.

Reducing Swelling and Inflammation

Soaking in warm water boosts circulation to joints that are inflamed and swollen, which is helpful for reducing those symptoms.   

Having an Opportunity to Exercise in Warm Water

With a substantial reduction in pain while you're in the hot tub -- and with your joints and muscles more flexible -- this is an excellent time to do some light aerobic and stretching exercises while seated. Talk with your doctor about the best exercises for a rheumatoid arthritis patient who will be doing the activity in a hot tub. 

Feeling Better Emotionally

All these relaxation and pain-reducing effects will probably make you feel much better emotionally. Think of how blissful you may have previously felt while relaxing in a hot tub. The warm swirling water is intended to produce this effect. 


Don't set the water temperature higher than 104 degrees Fahrenheit, since higher temperatures can be dangerous. Consider that your normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees, and sitting in 104-degree water will gradually raise your body temperature to that level. In addition, if you exercise in the water, that raises your body temperature as well.

In general, 10 or 15 minutes is about the longest a person should spend in water this warm. You actually may feel more comfortable and energetic if the temperature is a bit lower, and then you can stay in the water longer. 

Other precautions when using a hot tub include:

  • staying well-hydrated
  • going easy on your alcohol intake
  • not using medications that could cause drowsiness
  • getting out if you start feeling dizzy or nauseous

Health Considerations

Consult your doctor before making your purchase. You'll want to make sure there are no additional precautions in regard to the medication you're taking. In addition, certain other conditions can make hot tub use problematic. Some of those conditions include frequent bladder infections, high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes. You should also stay out of the hot tub if you get pregnant. 

Concluding Thoughts

After your doctor gives you the green light and provides you with some ideas for safe, light exercise in the hot tub, start checking out different models and see which you like best. Hot tubs are available in many sizes and shapes, so you have the chance to choose one that is best for your general lifestyle as well as for therapeutic use. Size should be a primary consideration if you plan to have family members and friends use the tub too. 

For more information, contact a local supplier, like California Home Spas & Patio.