All About Spas
During the 70’s bell-bottom pants, free love, disco dancing and community spas were the rage. Suddenly, out of the middle of nowhere, it seemed as though every bar in the world had sprouted a dance floor adorned with a spinning mirrored globe. In those days, dancers everywhere boogied-down to the music of the Bee Gees, Donna Summer and The Village People. What a time it was. All of a sudden the shy teens of the 60’s who had been raised watching The Andy Griffith Show and Leave it to Beaver had no second thoughts about getting naked and jumping in with everyone else at the community spa.
Well, we’ve seen the return of bell-bottom pants. And, the Bee Gees never went away. But our guess is that disco dancing is destined to forever remain a part of that special time in history. And as for free love – well, when everyone finally grew up they discovered what their parents already knew – “nothing is free”.
Community spas suddenly disappeared almost as quickly as they had arrived once it was realized how unsavory it was to share bodily fluids with everyone in town. However, the pleasure associated with the spa experience has remained in full force. And as its popularity continues to grow so do the whistles and bells and therefore the choices.
Hydrotherapy dates back to the Roman Empire. In the beginning pools filled with warm water were crafted of stone. Not very practical for the “average bear” Booboo. Believe it or not it has only been about forty years since hot tubs were nothing more than wooden barrels filled with hot water. Then someone said lets make them bigger, add water jets and/or air jets and see where it takes us. Later someone else decided to make them out of molded plastic instead of wood. When that happened a new industry developed almost overnight. As spa industry growth continues at exponential rates the consumer is left holding the proverbial “how-do-I-choose-the-right-one” bag. Hopefully, we can help.
Is there a benefit to a spa or are the spa salespeople full of it? In our opinion the spa experience is without a doubt both enjoyable and truly therapeutic. No kidding. According to Jeff Kurth, Chairman of the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI) and CEO of Marquis Spas, “A spa provides buoyancy that eliminates 90% of the force of gravity on the human body. Heat dilates blood vessels and increases the flow of nutrients to damaged muscle tissue while flushing out toxins that make you feel sore. The hydrotherapy part (water/air jets) also helps to message the toxins out of the muscles.” Kurth also commented that, “Depending on the size, number, type and location of the jets various types of message can be achieved.”
We agree with, you really can feel the results. And the stress relief – it is without compare.
Why a fancy spa as opposed to one with fewer (or smaller) pumps and fewer jets. Options friend. The more options the better your chance of finding comfort and satisfaction for the whole family. Not every jet pattern in every location of a given spa will please everyone. Some will just feel OK. Others will work wonders. Someone else in your family may find the greatest comfort in the position you like the least. The more options the better served you and your family will be. Today spas are available with up to three motors – just to pump water through the jets. Multiple controls AND multiple compartments make it possible for one person in the family to have a vigorous message while others can enjoy other fare. As far as we are concerned quality and choices offer you the best bang for your buck when it comes to a spa purchase. And remember, with a larger unit – you can always turn the power down.
Check out this list of possible features:
- An airtight spa cover. A good one reduces energy loss when the spa isn’t in use. Our favorite is vinyl-encased foam with a tapered top. In any event make sure it is an ASTM listed locking safety cover. A locking top will keep energy in and toddlers out.
- Don’t forget solid insulation between the spa and the skirt. Fully insulated units are more energy efficient.
- A built-in ozonator can reduce the amount of chemicals needed to kill bacteria in the water. If you are allergic to chlorine or bromine an ozonator can be used in conjunction with silver, which is a natural bactericide.
- Two filters are better than one. Units with multiple filters clean faster and better.
- Measure the horsepower of the pumps, the number of jets, the number of controls and the number of stations. These are key elements to comfort in a spa.
- Check with your doctor and your insurance carrier. Some insurance companies will cover the cost of a home spa. If you have no insurance coverage check with your accountant to see if you can deduct all or part of the cost of your spa from your income taxes.
By the way, there is a really big misnomer about when spas are most practical to use. Spas, like swimming pools can be used year round. But as we all know swimming pools are the greatest on hot days. However, this is not necessarily so with spas. We think spas are most fun when it’s cold. There is absolutely nothing like sitting in a spa at about 3:00 a.m. on a cool fall or winter morning. Looking up at the stars and letting the hydrotherapy make all the pain go away. He, He, and don’t forget the hanky panky. Simply consider the possibilities when in a semi-weightless state. Oh yes, and be prepared to make room for the kids too.
The National Spa and Pool Institute helps set safety standards and Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) tests spas for safety. Only those products approved by UL should be used. Folks with a heart condition or high blood pressure should check with their doctor before using a spa.