As an elderly person or someone with mobility issues, it may be hard for you to get into a tub and take a long soak. With wet feet and slippery floors, accidents are prone to happen in the bathroom. And if you need assistance bathing or entering and exiting a tub, what’s supposed to be a relaxing ritual may become a rather stressful chore.
Installing walk-in tubs for seniors and handicapped users can provide a significant solution to this situation. A walk-in tub’s low entry can facilitate getting in and out of the tub safely. Grab bars and seats can allow you to move in the tub independently, and a wealth of features make the experience more appealing.
With a walk-in tub, it’s now easier to enjoy long baths. There’s a number of therapeutic reasons why you should soak in warm water.
Improves Joint, Muscle, and Bone Health
According to Arthritis.org, water therapy can provide much-needed relief to those suffering from musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis and lower back pain.
Taking a warm bath in a walk-in tub can help loosen stiff joints and relieve pressure from inflammation. Immersion in water allows for decompression of the body, which alleviates swelling and promotes repair in the affected areas. Walk-in tubs are designed to contain more water than the standard bathtub, allowing for deeper immersion.
You can also opt for the hydromassage system with your walk-in tub to target common problem areas: the upper and lower back, behind the knees, and the bottom of the feet. This massage system hits key pressure points to stimulate sore, aching muscles and joints to provide relief from pain and help you relax.
Further, a leg massage system works with the hydromassage system in your walk-in bathtub for seniors so that users can treat their legs with the tub filled only halfway. For those who have joint issues, the jets can specifically target the lower extremities without the need to fill the bathtub to full capacity. This system is especially beneficial for those with poor, lower body circulation, like users with diabetes.
Promotes Heart Health and Circulation
Walk-in tubs for elderly can also greatly help cardiovascular health. When immersed in a tub, the pressure exerted by the water on the body displaces blood from the lower extremities upward. Thus, blood returns to the heart more easily.
The heart then pumps faster in order to redistribute the blood. At the same time, your blood pressure is lowered because the assistance from the water pressure reduces the strain on the blood vessels.
With regular soaks in the tub, the ability of your blood vessels to dilate improves, as well as the ability of the heart to pump blood. A stronger heart prevents arrhythmias, and more elastic blood vessels relieves hypertension.
Increases Oxygen Delivery
Building on the benefits of warm baths on blood circulation, being immersed in warm water can also have a positive influence on your body’s overall oxygenation.
As mentioned, the pressure and heat from the warm water makes the heart beat faster and blood circulate more easily. Your blood carries oxygen from the lungs to the different organs and tissues of the body, and the better your blood circulates, the more oxygen your body receives.
Adequate oxygenation is essential for optimum organ function, reducing muscle pain, and preventing the formation of destructive free radicals.
Lowers Blood Sugar
Taking baths may also reduce blood sugar levels – possibly by up to 10%.
A researcher from a recent Leicester and Loughborough study states: “We think the reason is that the bath may encourage the release of heat shock proteins, which may help lower blood sugar levels by improving glucose uptake controlled by insulin.” The study demonstrated that taking a warm bath may increase the rate at which a person burns calories and can help reduce blood sugar spikes.
In conjunction with regular exercise, dietary control, and medication, users with diabetes might consider a regular dip in a walk-in tub to help manage blood sugar levels.
Depression is linked to low levels of serotonin. Research has demonstrated that the brain increases the release of serotonin in response to an increase in body temperature. In this way, a warm bath can be beneficial for those suffering from depression.
In a recent study, researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany found that participants taking regular warm baths in the afternoon scored six points lower on a depression scale (indicating a decreased intensity of depression) versus an exercise group, which only scored three points lower. While not a total replacement for exercise, warm baths may be an adjunct treatment to mood disorders like depression.
Where baths were previously a dreaded chore, a walk-in tub for elderly can make relaxing in the bath much easier and appealing, especially for those with mobility issues. You can also add chromotherapy options to your walk-in tub. Chromotherapy uses different-colored lights to affect the body’s energy levels. This may have a positive effect on mood.
Baths don’t only promote relaxation, they can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep all night. The same German study that demonstrated that baths might help alleviate anxiety and depression also showed us that regular afternoon baths could also help us sleep better.
Warm baths can stabilize circadian rhythms, the mechanism in the body that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. The body’s core temperature rises during the day and falls at night, releasing a hormone called melatonin, which tells the body it’s time to get ready for sleep.
Adding a warm bath to your routine can help get a disrupted circadian rhythm back on track. Once you step out of the warm water, your body’s core temperature will drop, which signals that it’s time for rest. This can help you fall asleep faster and get a better quality of sleep.
To enhance your nightly bathing experience, consider adding aromatherapy options to your walk-in tub. Aromatherapy is healing through the power of scent, typically by using fragrant essential oils with different therapeutic properties. Lavender oil, specifically, is the recommended scent for promoting sleep.
Soothes Skin Conditions
Elderly people are more prone to skin conditions due to dry skin. Those with mobility issues may also have skin ailments because of increased friction from long periods of immobility.
Luckily, a warm bath can help soothe skin conditions like eczema. The National Eczema Association suggests that taking a bath may relieve skin conditions better than showers because they allow for the water to soak into the dry skin.
To maximize this benefit, you might also consider outfitting your walk-in tub with a Microbubble system. Microbubbles don’t reach the deep tissues like the hydromassage system does; instead, the bubbles exfoliate the skin. Bubbles that are .01mm in size penetrate pores, removing dirt and oil, and leaving skin cleaner and healthier.
Remember to apply lotion after you get out of the tub to lock in the moisture and soothe your exfoliated skin.