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Can a Hot Tub Raise Your Blood Pressure?

People use hot tubs for many reasons.  For some it’s simply the pure joy of soaking in warm, massaging waters.  For others there are more specific health benefits that can be obtained through the use of hydrotherapy.  This can include reduction of stress, soothing of sore muscles or helping to promote better sleeping patterns.  But what about those with heart conditions?  Can a hot tub raise your blood pressure?  In actuality, the warmth experienced in a hot tub will reduce your blood pressure rather than raising it.  To help gain a better understanding of how this occurs, we’ve put together an article to explain the process.

High Blood Pressure Explained

Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure of the blood against the walls of your arteries.  A combination of narrow arteries and fast pumping of the blood by the heart will lead to a higher blood pressure reading.  Over the long term, high blood pressure can lead to health complications by damaging the arteries, blood vessels, heart and other organs, although very often the symptoms aren’t even noticeable until the damage is done.

Blood Pressure Measurement

Blood pressure is measured by comparing the pressure when the heart beats (systolic pressure) with the pressure when the heart is resting (diastolic pressure.)  These measurements are expressed in millimetres of mercury (mmHg.)  Blood pressure should ideally be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.  Blood pressure is considered high when it’s over 140/90mmHg. 

High Blood Pressure Risks

As mentioned, prolonged high blood pressure can damage many organs in the body.  Damage to the heart can lead to heart attacks, heart disease and aortic aneurysms.  Other organs, such as the kidneys, can also be damaged, strokes can occur, and arterial damage can lead to an accumulation of fatty deposits.  It’s been found that one in five Canadian adults suffer from high blood pressure and many of them do not even realize it.  It’s important to have your blood pressure checked, especially after the age of 40.  If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to reduce it.  Bringing it down even slightly can mitigate many of these health risks.

Hot Tubs and High Blood Pressure

Soaking in a hot tub will ultimately reduce blood pressure for a period of time.  Although blood pressure may initially rise when entering a hot tub, the water creates a passive warming of the body and raises the internal body temperature.  This causes the blood vessels to relax and dilate while the heart rate increases.  The increased blood flow and widened blood vessels and arteries results in a lower blood pressure.  Both those with high blood pressure and normal blood pressure readings who soak in a hot tub for ten minutes generally experience a decrease in blood pressure.  For those who exercise in warm water, the blood pressure reduction can last for up to 24 hours.

Hot Tub Safety

Although hot tubs can be soothing and relaxing while reducing your blood pressure, there are precautions that need to be taken for hot tub use.  This is especially important if you suffer from any type of heart disease or condition.  If this is the case, it’s important to speak to a doctor before using a hot tub.  Blood pressure reduction can lead to fainting for those whose hearts aren’t strong enough to react to the drop.  It’s recommended to keep the water temperature below 40 degrees Celsius and you shouldn’t consume alcohol while using a hot tub.  If you have a heart condition, quickly alternating between high heat and extreme cold is not advised as the spiking and dropping of blood pressure could lead to further heart problems. 

To find out more about the benefits of owning a hot tub, download a free hot tub buyer’s guide.