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Archive for December, 2010

Hot Tubs Help New Year Resolutions

December 29th, 2010 by

5  Ways a Hot Tub  Helps New Year’s Resolutions

benefits-to-spa-ownershipScientific studies indicate several key areas where hot tubs and hydrotherapy can help people to reach their goal of improved health and wellness.

The goal of improved health is the most common of all New Year’s resolutions. With the new year fast approaching, millions of people are vowing to improve their health but secretly worrying about how they will do it.

Scientific studies by the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute, located at Washington State University, and others are showing remarkable health benefits associated with warm water hydrotherapy in hot tubs.

1.    Hot tubs can lower blood pressure. In studies performed by the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute subjects experienced decreased blood pressure when immersed in water of all temperatures. However, the effect of lowered blood pressure was shown to last much longer for those who soaked in a hot tub.

2.   Hot tubs improve heart and circulatory health. Water immersion helps the circulatory system to operate more efficiently. This effect can be beneficial to all people and is especially helpful to individuals who experience decreased circulation due to diabetes and other ailments.**

3.    Hot tubs improve joint health. Spending time in a hot tub can decrease pain and help improve flexibility by decreasing the effects of gravity, increasing blood flow, and by lessening the pull of tight muscles on sore joints.

4.    Hot tubs improve muscle health. Soaking in a hot tub loosens stiff muscles and reduces soreness. The increased blood flow to the muscles, experienced while in a hot tub, also aids in healing after injuries and recovery after intense workouts.

5.    Hot tubs improve nervous system health. One of the reasons hot tubs feel so relaxing is because they actually balance the opposing functions within the nervous system – the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Hot water therapy reduces the effect of the sympathetic nervous system, which is the major cause of harmful stress. The positive effects of hot water therapy on the nervous system have actually been observed long after the individual actually leaves the water, showing that hot tubs help produce long term benefits that include lowered stress, relaxation, and a sense of well being.

Additional hot tub health benefits continue to come to light as physicians and scientists, especially in the area of Sports Medicine, perform studies on hot tub therapy. Individuals interested in the health applications of hydrotherapy can keep up to date by following the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute (NASMI) along with hot tub health updates posted at hot tub blog.

The science seems to show that a hot tub is likely to be one of the best investments that an individual can make in achieving their goals of health, wellness, and overall happiness for 2011.

*Information regarding health benefits of hot tubs is collected from studies performed, cited, and reported on by the National Aquatics and Sports Medicine Institute.

**Always consult a physician before using a hot tub, especially if you have any of the following: high blood pressure, a heart or lung condition, are or may be pregnant, have diabetes or if you experience any other serious health condition.



Free Hot Tub for Christmas?

December 27th, 2010 by

Not sure if they won….but I think it was close.

I’ll keep you “posted”.



Weather Contests Entice Shoppers

Sunday, December 26, 2010  02:58 AM
By Peter Mucha


free-hot-tubLarry Granger, president of West Chester Spas, stands outside his store in Pennsylvania and shows off a spa adorned with a banner describing the weather deal.
About eight years ago, Roxann Dulce came oh so close. Another quarter-inch of snow on Christmas Day, and Anthony Jewelers in Palmyra, N.J., would have refunded her and all of its other customers the cost of purchases made Thanksgiving weekend.

This year, the Palmyra financial controller has a hunch that she will win — just as she predicted the Giants would beat the undefeated New England Patriots in the 2008 Super Bowl. New York did win, in a nail-biter.

So on the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year, Dulce walked down the street to Anthony Jewelers and bought a rainbow sapphire bracelet for herself, a couple of ornaments and a gift for a niece.

Now, she’s dreaming of a White Christmas coating her bank account to the tune of $700.

Anthony’s is one of the fate-defying merchants that tempt customers every holiday season with an unusual guarantee:

Customers get their money back if a certain amount of snow falls in such-and-such timeframe, or on some special date.

“White Christmas Sale. Free Hot Tub if it snows on Christmas,” a banner proclaims this month on a sample outside West Chester Spas in Pennsylvania.

Shop until Christmas Eve at Corinne Jewelers in Toms River, N.J., and get cash back if an inch of snow falls on New Year’s Eve. If it does, customers will collectively recoup perhaps $1 million, said Ryan Blumenthal, general manager at the store that bears his grandmother’s name.

Across the country, even some car dealers get in on the action.

The merchants aren’t losing sleep because their gambles are all paid for through insurance. The insurer is the Grinch who prays for clear skies.

Picking a policy is a bit of a balancing act. If the promotion’s too easy to win — one flake! — the premiums will be sky-high. If it’s too tough to win, don’t expect an avalanche of customers.

“The idea is to make it believable to the public and make it affordable to the retailer,” said Patricia Sleicher, president of Global Weather Insurance Agency Inc., the Long Island, N.Y.-based insurer backing the spa and Corinne Jewelers deals.

Her company covers 50 to 100 weather-based promotions a year, with end-of-year snow deals being the most popular.

But other special days are targeted, too, and not just winter ones such as Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday. Wedding rainouts can mean ring refunds. High-temperature deals have been tried for July Fourth.

“We’ve even done wind in Wyoming,” she said.

Such promotions are small potatoes in the weather-underwriting industry, though. “Our main business is insuring concerts, movies, TV commercials for weather,” Sleicher said.

Her firm’s biggest payout was about $6 million over the filming of Cliffhanger, starring Sylvester Stallone, when production was delayed because “they got blizzard after blizzard” in the Italian Alps, she said.

With store promotions, fine-tuning often shows up in the fine print.

Anthony’s would pay off on just an inch of snow from midnight to midnight on Christmas Day.

But for a freebie hot tub, 2 inches or more must fall between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Dec. 25, as measured at Pottstown Limerick Airport in Pennsylvania.

The odds might seem slim, but very similar conditions paid off last year for patrons of Geis Perry Jewelry in Atlantic, Iowa.

“We went for 2 inches of snow in a six-hour period, and they actually got, like, 8,” Sleicher said.

“I felt fantastic about it. I had the happiest customers around,” said co-owner Rich Perry.

In 2002, Anthony Fratto, co-owner of the Palmyra jewelry store, was thrilled as he stepped out of church to see snow on Christmas Day.

“This is way cool,” he remembers saying.

UPDATE: No free spas given away yet, in 10 years! Pretty lucky for this spa retailer – one day, a white Christmas could cost him plenty!

– Jerry

Transforming Work by Tiffany Von Emmel

December 27th, 2010 by

Two days past Christmas.

Back at my desk, 300+ emails in the inbox, this one jumps out.  It’s a post my sister wrote on

Its brilliant; like her. I wanted to share it with you.



Transforming Work  by Tiffany Von Emmel

Tiffany-von-emmelWhat is work? What world are we making together?

Transformative learning about work is itself a kind of work, work on ourselves. It can be exciting work and hard work. As we explore “work”, the self can run the gamut of experience, from the passive child who says “you made me” work to the  adult, who says “I create” my life’s work to a social entrepreneur who says, “what world do we want to make together?”

Does “work” mean economic production to you? Is “work” a dirty word? Is “work” your livelihood?

Transformative learning about work asks us to question what we do not yet see about ourselves, how our history and society has shaped our worldview. How do we internalize society’s stories about work?  it requires us each to see our choices, the stories we tell ourselves about our  identity, our self-worth, our motivations, our relationship to authority and external environment.

We each enact different stories about “work”, depending on who we are at any moment in time. For some, work is a paid job. Work is a thing in supply and demand. You can create work by hiring.  You can “get work” by connecting with people who need your skills. For comparison, recently, I’ve been learning with a group of new Dreamfishers, Maasai women entrepreneurs in Kenya. Their work includes carrying water for hours, creating beadwork for sale, milking cows, and repairing huts. From the sale of one beadwork item, a family buys food for one month. Working is caring for one’s people. It is an age-old practice. As a third comparison, for some Dreamfishers,  work is facilitating the empowerment of African girls to build self-worth and technology skills. Work is transformation.

These are dramatically different enactments of work – Work as a thing you get, work as a practice, work as transformation.

I’d like to offer another view by telling you a story from my history that shapes my worldview of work. In my early 20′s, after living a high life in a successful startup in NYC, I lived a year in an economically depressed rural mountain town, where I made my way into an abusive relationship. I was in a daily surround-sound of abuse, physical and psychological. Within months, I spiraled downward into being homeless, living out of a car for six months in winter.

Poverty was no longer a vicious cycle that other women knew. It was me, barely keeping my clothes clean enough and my body healthy enough to work two part-time jobs. As I lived out the patterns of economic and patriarchal oppression, I daily made choices that reinforced self-defeating narratives about the value of my work. I chose to work jobs, where I was constantly criticized and not at my best.

But, then, I did make my way out of this cycle.  I found my way out by seeing that I could choose. I could work my life differently. Part of my work became building a new support system to create a new surround sound of care. I reached out and opened up to people, who believed I could create a new performance of my life. A new friend told me of an opportunity in a nearby town managing a college kitchen. Even though I had never managed a cafeteria or cooked for 250 youth 3x a day, I knew I could manage an operation, I could cook and teach cooking.

So, I took a  leap into a new performance as a manager.  Slowly, as I experienced my life anew, I continued to make new choices about work. As I served food to college kids in the cafeteria line, I realized I too could go to college. So, I made part of my life work  “going to college”. And, when I became critical of institutional education, I made my life work to be building peer-to-peer transformative learning environments for adults.

I share this story, to say that transforming economic production or oppressive stories about work is a journey.  Day by day, work was the journey of fishing my dream. A journey that I did not take alone. On days that I couldn’t see the way,  I made a path with the many bits of kindnesses gifted to me.

Work is how we perform our life. Work is what puts the life in livelihood. Work is  how we create the value we each want to manifest in the world. And we can create different performances.

Work is what I choose to do on this day with the precious life I have still. That is my work. Your work may be cooking for your children, gardening, building software, taking care of a sick friend, making art,  teaching a group of children, or connecting people to resources.

We are all entrepreneurs, creating value together. When we recognize that we are intertwined with the systems around us, we create value by doing more of what we love to do and connecting to people around us who share our joy.

It is from this understanding that was founded as a global work cooperative. It is a place in which we can provide a mutual support system for each other in our journey of work. Success looks like bits of thriving, unfolding in creative ways for each of us.

Transforming economic production is not just about tranforming other people; it is about transforming ourselves. Unhealthy patterns that are internalized are subtle because they are often barely conscious to us. Yet, together, acting as support systems for each other, this work can transform ourselves and our world.

Obama getting a Hot Tub from Santa?

December 22nd, 2010 by

Obama to get new hot tub for Christmas?

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new hot tub was one of the many gift suggestions given to first lady Michelle Obama today after she read to young patients at Children’s National Medical Center.

Mrs. Obama read “The Night Before Christmas” to the group and then took questions from the audience, including what she would be giving the president for Christmas.  The first lady jokingly replied that she couldn’t tell because it would no longer be a secret and she still had to figure out which list President Obama is on.

“I’m not going to tell you because it’s going to be in the paper tomorrow, and then he’s going to read it, and then it won’t be a surprise,” she said.  “But first I have to see whether he’s been naughty or nice.  I’ve been trying to figure that out.”

At one point she asked the kids for Christmas gift ideas for the president.  Their responses: candy, a watch, a new suit, and a new hot tub.

England’s Hot Tub Gang

December 16th, 2010 by

Hot Tub Gang gets clean away after targeting homes with outdoor spas

A gang of burglars are targeting homes with hot tubs so they can enjoy a late night dip before stealing luxury goods, police said.

It is understood the gang have stolen thousands of pounds worth of luxury goods and cash during their ‘unusual activities’.

hot-tub-crasherPolice are investigating a string of bizarre burglaries where raiders leave their underwear in outdoor baths as “calling signs”. There have been at least four similar incidents at homes with hot tubs in and around Oswaldtwistle, in Lancashire.

In one case, the raiders took a late-night dip in a hot tub before leaving their wet underwear on the side of the middle-aged couple’s outdoor spa.

Sergeant Simon Holderness, from Lancashire Police, said: “We understand there has been some unusual activity in the gardens of the homes in recent weeks related to the hot tubs.

“There is a serious side to this, even though some people might find it amusing.

“Burglaries are at their lowest point in this area for 13 years. They are very, very rare.”

The two most recent incidents were at newly built homes neighbouring each other. Both have hot tubs that are normally covered.

During the raid, the hot tub lids were removed, garden furniture thrown around and wet underwear left at the scene.

“I’m not sure if officers have seized the items to have them forensically tested,” said Sgt Holderness.

Ashley and Cherie Deakin had more than £3,500 worth of goods stolen from their detached home in Oswaldtwistle.

The couple, who had bought the hot tub last year as a joint 40th birthday present, and their son Nathaniel, 16, were sleeping upstairs when the burglars jumped over the garden fence to enjoy a soak.

The raiders then broke into the house and stole a 42in plasma TV, a Nintendo Wii games console, mobile telephones, laptop and a wallet.

“It takes some nerve to use the hot tub before breaking in. We have been shocked at how cheeky it is,” said Mrs Deakin, a 40-year-old case worker for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

“It is so unusual having people trying to sneak on to your property to use the hot tub. It is bizarre.

“You would expect most burglars would want to get in and out of a house as quickly and quietly as possible, but not these thieves.”

She added: “Maybe these people think it is the only way to get their kicks.

“Some people go skydiving and maybe some people break in to back gardens to use other people’s hot tubs.

“It’s worrying that these people are brazen enough to use the hot tub before breaking in.”

No arrests have been made.

New Hot Tub Research Finds New Benefits

December 15th, 2010 by

Numerous studies have examined the effects of water immersion temperatures on the cardiovascular system, but few have examined the effects of immersion temperature on factors relating to autonomic nervous system regulation (ANS).

Our research thus far has assessed aquatic immersion temperatures upon the cardiovascular system, peripheral circulation and core temperatures in a young college-aged group and a middle-aged group. We have found a number of important physiologic changes within the ANS that occur during immersion, with a striking decrease in sympathetic nervous system function during warm water immersion. Interestingly these changes are almost identical between age groups, with the older age group at higher baseline measurements.

These changes may well have beneficial public health implications for water use.

Physical Education Building Room 101AA
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Cal Spas “Lifetime” Warranty – Shorter than it Seems

December 9th, 2010 by

spa-warranty“Lifetime” warranty can be slippery, especially when a dealer is carrying out the warranty on behalf of the manufacturer. When you buy a new spa, read the warranty carefully, so you know what to expect.

In this case, a Cal Spas dealer told a spa owner that the spa part that failed was no longer under warranty, and she paid full price for the new spa heater.

Glad to see that Cal Spas did the right thing by this customer. Dealers may make less money on a warranty repair than on selling a new replacement spa part – should also do the right thing, and Cal Spas needs to see to that.

Here’s the Story:

When Bridget DeZiel’s hot tub turned cold earlier this fall, she figured the lifetime warranty meant she would get a new heater gratis. Yet the Bloomington woman paid $250 to replace the unit because she was told that “lifetime” on her eight-year-old Cal Spas hot tub meant seven years.

The definition of lifetime is slippery when it comes to product warranties. Manufacturers often mean the expected lifespan of the product, or they could mean the time it’s owned by its original buyer, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The least common usage is the lifetime of the owner, the FTC says.

In DeZiel’s case, the dealer made a mistake, because lifetime really meant lifetime and DeZiel should have paid only the labor cost, according to Cal Spas spokeswoman Courtney Salas. The Pomona, Calif.-based company has contacted its Minnesota distributors to correct these misinterpretations, Salas said.

As for DeZiel’s overpayment, “we’ll take care of it,” Salas said.

What surprises have you encountered with lifetime warranties? Most lifetime warranties are not transferable, or they may only be for the “expected life” of the product. Or, is it for the lifetime of the original purchaser? Many questions – read the warranty carefully before purchase, and ask questions if unclear.

And, if a dealer gives you an unsatisfactory response, take your warranty claim directly to the manufacturer.


Hot Tubbin’ Lawyers or Concurrent Evidence

December 1st, 2010 by



Fancy a dip in the hot-tub? I found this story interesting. It describes the use of the term “hot tubbing”, in court trials. It’s an alternative format for a legal trial, which in some cases, speeds up the judicial process, and makes for more expedient trials.

I wonder if they impose the 30 minute rule in their hot tubs?


By Charles Blamire-Brown

Gone are the days when parties’ expert witnesses take it in turns to be examined, then re-examined in the dock while the judge or arbitrator sits passively listening. Hot-tubbing has arrived – to an extent. But is this welcome news?

Hot-tubbing, or “concurrent evidence” as it is otherwise known, involves both parties’ experts sitting in the box with the judge or arbitrator leading a discussion between them. This is a discussion, not a cross-examination. There are no barristers shaping the way the experts give their evidence. The principle is that the experts can tell it how it is.

In the hot-tub, the experts can talk between themselves and ask questions of each other. The judge or arbitrator takes the lead as inquisitor directing questions to both experts and skipping the middleman.

However, using concurrent expert evidence is voluntary, and requires full agreement from all parties.

In an open and frank discussion, the idea is that the experts are more likely to make concessions and come to agreement on common issues. The judge or arbitrator is also able to get to the root of the issues in a much more efficient manner by asking the experts direct questions. The risk of an expert giving an unclear or confusing answer is reduced by the opportunity for this to be immediately challenged by someone who has the technical expertise to challenge them. This will bring substantial savings in time and costs, or so the theory goes.

The hot-tub principle has been around in arbitration in various guises for a while. It is commonly used after cross-examination. However, arbitrators are sometimes reluctant to embrace this interactive forum for fear of being criticized by the parties for breaching the arbitrator’s duty to act fairly and to give each party an opportunity to put their case forward.

Indeed, the hot-tub principle may appear to contravene these fundamental principles behind arbitration. In circumstances where one party’s expert is a strong advocate, how can it be said that the party with a less bullish expert has had a fair opportunity to present its case unobstructed from interruption? In adopting an inquisitorial approach, the arbitrator may be tempted to find arguments to support their pre-formed views as to the nature of the parties’ cases. But how is this necessarily acting fairly between the parties?

The hot-tub certainly places far more importance on the need for experts to be good advocates. But is this not a dilution of the expert’s proper role? Experts are used by the tribunal precisely to be experts. They are not silver-tongued barristers – it is their knowledge and expertise that should carry the most weight.

The risk of an expert giving an unclear or confusing answer is reduced by the opportunity for this to be immediately challenged

The major concern for the parties in opting to use concurrent evidence is losing the control and platform to present their case that traditional methods of cross-examination and re-examination afford. However, this can be reduced by effectively preparing experts for the hot-tub, or by selecting an expert with experience of this format.

Presently, concurrent evidence is used in arbitration, but Lord Jackson, in carrying out his recent review into the costs of litigation, has recommended its use in the court process. Based on this review, the Technology and Construction Court includes reference to hot-tubbing in its latest procedural guide, which came out last month. The TCC in Manchester [England] is the first court brave enough to take the plunge.

It remains to be seen whether hot-tubbing will lead to a reduction in costs, both in litigation and in arbitration. If parties simply opt for both the hot-tub and usual methods of cross examination, then it is unlikely that the amount of time saved will be significant.

For hot-tubbing to be successful, parties, including arbitrators and judges, will need to properly embrace the purpose of the hot-tub: to get to the nub of the issues between the parties in a constructive rather than combative manner. However, the effectiveness and fair operation of this procedure is dependent on the tribunal’s approach and ability to effectively manage the process.

Charles Blamire-Brown is an associate at Pinsent Masons