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Gina Galvin's Posts

Indoor Hot Tubs vs. Outdoor Hot Tubs – Which is Better?

October 28th, 2013 by

outdoor-hot-tub

I love my outdoor hot tub, soaking under the stars. I couldn’t imagine it inside, but – there are some benefits to having an indoor hot tub.

My spa sits on the back patio, just steps from the back door, but during colder months, it can feel like I’m crossing frozen tundra on the way out of the spa.

And on really cold nights, which doesn’t happen too often here in southern California, wet hair can stiffen up – and well, I just wear a hat if it gets that cold…

 

 

Benefits to Indoor Hot Tubsindoor-spa

  • Climate controlled environment.
  • Tub, controls and equipment out of the elements.
  • Lower spa heating costs.
  • Indoor convenience – lighting, music, tv, bathroom.

Problems with Indoor Hot Tubs

  • Humidity levels when spa cover is removed.
  • Possible floor damage if spa begins to leak.
  • Spa pump noise and chemical smell in the home.
  • Getting it inside – spas are larger than most doors.

 

If you are seriously considering putting the spa or hot tub indoors, consider the following.

  1. The floor must be non-skid, easily cleaned and water proof. Think outdoor tiles or bathroom tiles.
  2. The floor also must be strong enough – to support a spa that can weigh over two tons when full.
  3. The walls and ceiling should have a vapor barrier installed to protect wood studs and rafters.
  4. Drywall soaks up moisture, instead look at architectural plastic, wall tile or cedar planks.
  5. A dehumidification system or unit is a must, or windows and fans to eject moisture when using the spa.

 

spa-gazeboAnother option to installing your tub inside the house is to extend the house around the tub. Gazebos were practically invented for spas and hot tubs, or you could screen in the back patio to make a “Florida room” type of spa enclosure.

Gazebos can be a simple roof with open sides, or for an authentic Japanese style ‘hot house”, they can be completely enclosed, offering protection for the spa and privacy for you and your ‘tub buddies’.

What’s your pleasure, an indoor spa or an outdoor spa – or an outdoor spa inside a structure? Leave me a comment below, about your feelings about spa location - indoors or outdoors?

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Accessorize your Spa or Hot Tub

October 15th, 2013 by

spa-swingWhat’s the hottest and coolest accessories for your spa? You probably already have the basics nailed down – spa cover lifter, spa steps and all of your hot tub chemical, testing and cleaning supplies. So, let’s move on to advanced spa accessories ~ fun and fanciful conveniences to help you enjoy your spa or hot tub more!

A spa is so wonderful just by itself, it’s hard to improve upon the experience, but these bits of small whimsy can add up to more time together in the tub. I have all of these items at home, and they have all added something special to my spa sessions, especially the spa swing! (shown left)

Bluetooth Speaker Set

Mini Bullet speaker setIndoor/Outdoor speakers by Grace Digital are extremely water resistant – not water proof, but they can be carefully set on the edge of your spa, or set them up on a drink table or tall side table that you can reach. These connect to any MP3 player, or music on most smartphones. Play your music selection through the wireless speakers, or with your device pull up online radio or music services like pandora and spotify.

Side Bar Drop Leaf Spa Table

spa-drop-leaf-tablesThis is my favorite type of spa table, for use with food or drinks, keys, phones or you can place your music speakers on it. The Side Bar measures 57 inches long and 15 wide, at nearly 2″ thick.

Add some stools and it makes a great spot for dining or conversation with those not in the spa. Folds down against the spa when not being used. I have 2 of these, the one on the far side is filled with (mostly) fake plants.

Towel Warmer

towel-warmerNothing is better than a warm towel when you come out of the hot tub. The towel warmer rack is a popular option, just stand it up near the spa, turn it on, and hang your towels on it before you get in the spa.

New on the market is the Towel Spa, which heats up towels and robes in just minutes, in a small compact size that holds 3-4 rolled up towels. Impress your guests with a toasty towel after their soak. Not waterproof, this will have to be located indoors, or in a protected outdoor location.

Booster Seats

spa-booster-seatFill it with water for a soft and steady spa seat. For those that are less than 5 feet tall, today’s newer and deeper spas can make it hard to keep your head above water. And, let’s face it – many spa seats, although contoured, are less than comfortable, for sitting or other things…

Be head and shoulders above the rest with this water filled booster seat. Adjust the firmness and height of the seat by how much water is added to the seat fill valve. Comes in 3 colors to match your spa.

Color Lights

LED-spa-bulbMost spas of any age, except for the new models, have a boring white light in the base of the tub. My spa was like that too, until I upgraded the bulb to a color LED spa bulb. Now I can cycle between four colors, although we leave it on red most of the time. This LED spa bulb replace #912 type bulbs, on a 12V spa lamp. Add some ‘chromatherapy’ to your spa sessions by simply changing the spa light bulb!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

10 Hot Tubs in the Most Unusual Places

September 26th, 2013 by

hot-tub-in-an-icebergSpas and hot tubs normally sit on the back patio, or built into the deck. Sometimes their placement can be rather bland, but the pleasure is none the less.

Want to add some excitement to your spa sessions? Place your spa in one of these outrageous locations, and you’ll enjoy it even more!

Without further ado, here are 10 wacky spas, in the most unusual places on earth ~

 

Hot Tub Suspended From Bridge

These loco locals in Switzerland suspended a platform over 600 ft in the air, from the Gueuroz bridge. Then they rappelled down ropes for the hot tub party!

hot-tub-suspended-from-bridge

Hot Tub on a Mountain Top

Another group of local locos – this time a group of mountain climbers, decided to relax after their long hike to the top of Mount Blanc. At nearly 16,000 feet, it’s the tallest mountain in Europe.

hot-tub-on-a-mountaintop

Hot Tubs in Computer Games

The Sims is a strategic life simulation video game, where users can create their own virtual reality, including the popular option of adding a hot tub, in nearly any location you wish!

hot-tub-in-the-sims

The top of the line Sims spa has many interesting features: Insta-hot heating coils, Dual pH gigabalance regulation system, redundant ultra-sav mood modulation rectifiers, 29 individual typhoon injector panels, rolling sonic wave instrumentation, no-stick polyfibred surface, stress inhibitor lounge seats, hybrid solar electric integrated feedback technology, nano-force streamlined air filtration apertures.

Hot Tub on an Aircraft Carrier

It’s hard work keeping those planes flying! This rescue boat is filled with water and connected to a hot water heater. Anchors away my boys, anchors away!

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Hot Tub on The River

On the river Thames, to be exact. These Londoners are enjoying a Hot Tub Boat, as they steam around town. You can rent these also in California and the Pacific Northwest, of course.

hot-tub-on-the-thames

Hot Tub in an Igloo

With an open roof, to allow the heat to escape. In this Swiss resort, Iglu-Dorf, you can rent an Igloo for the night, and if you book early, you can get one with a hot tub!

hot-tub-in-an-igloo

Hot Tub in a Tree House

Sure, why not? Tree house resorts are springing up in all sorts of tropical places. This one is on the big island of Hawaii. I really want to visit this hot tub, with a glass of wine, and good friends…

hot-tub-in-a-treehouse

Hot Tub in a Mini Cooper

We’ve all seen hot tubs in limousines (yawn), but would you believe – a hot tub in the back of a Mini Cooper?  It’s modified of course, a la the movie “The Italian Job”, to support the weight of the spa, water and party people!

hot-tub-in-a-mini-cooper

Hot Tub in an Airplane

OK, truth be told, this one doesn’t really fly, it’s a hotel, the Airplane Suite at the Teuge Airport in the Netherlands. I’m told that hot tubs are too heavy (when full of water), so they are rarely installed.

hot-tub-on-an-airplane

Hot Tub in a Cave

What’s cooler than a cave? At 55 degrees year around, it’s the perfect place for a hot tub! This hot tub, located on the Cayman Islands, is beneath a 48,000 sq ft mansion. Now, that’s living in style!

hot-tub-in-a-cave

Well now, there’s 10 hot tubs located in the most bizarre locations. Do you have another hot tub to mention, located in an even more unusual place? Leave a comment below, and I’ll add the best to the list!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

5 ways to Improve your Spa or Hot Tub Appeal

August 15th, 2013 by

spa-landscapingSpas and hot tubs need decor surrounding them – plants, wood, stone, tile. Natural elements, to complement the hot bubbling water.

Wrapping your spa in decking really expands the spa area, making the hot tub a part of a larger, cohesive design. Spas or hot tubs need some exterior design elements, for privacy, and to create that tranquil vibe.

 

Here’s some ideas for taking a plain ‘ol above ground spa, and wrapping it in other natural elements, to create a more inviting and interesting outdoor spa environment.

I hope you like the pictures!

DECKING

An important design consideration is that the area around the spa needs to be well draining and clean. No puddles or muddy spots, spa users need to be able to walk barefoot around the spa. The surface needs to also be non-skid, since it will be wet.

Here’s some ideas for wrapping decking around a spa or hot tub. Sinking it in the ground makes the spa easier to get in and out of, and reduces the visual footprint of the spa or hot tub.

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ROCKS

With placement of rocks around the spa, you can create a rustic or natural mountain spring setting. Wrap 2 or 3 sides in soil, rock and gravel (leaving room to access the spa pack), to hide a big, chunky spa. Use thick plastic sheeting if planning to put dirt or rocks up against the spa skirt.

Here’s some ideas for using natural or faux rocks around a spa or hot tub.

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PLANTS

If some of these ideas so far look daunting, consider planters around the spa at varied levels. If your spa sits on a large patio without close earth, large and small planters can be placed on the sides of the spa to soften the view of the spa, provide privacy, and a natural element.

Tropical plants are great around southern spas, while northern spas can use hearty evergreen bushes, along with seasonal flowers or blooming plants. Use Cactus and succulents for southwestern spas. Volcanic rock or river stone makes a nice ground cover for pathways.

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FURNITURE

Spa furniture makes a quick and easy way to frame your spa, and reduce the visual impact of today’s gargantuan spas. They are also convenient spaces to place plants, candles or towels. The counter and stool arrangement makes a nice place for family to eat, or converse with people in the spa.

Spa steps are necessary for hot tubs that are completely freestanding, above the ground. Wrapping steps around the spa, and integrating with barrier walls or external seating is an exciting way to make the spa more accessible.

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GAZEBOS

I think the Gazebo must have been invented for spas and hot tubs. It provides shelter from sun and rain, not just for you, but for your spa and spa cover. They also allow you to easily hang overhead lighting and speakers.

A gazebo can be built to any shape and size, or there are many pre-fab kits you can buy and build. Pergola is an open option to use with climbing Wisteria or hanging plants. Drape with curtains for a cabana look and feel, or create a tropical roof of shingles or thatch.

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spa-gazebos-3

 

So many ideas, so little time, I know. I hope this inspires you to some action for improvements around your spa or hot tub. Let us know your plans, in the comment section below!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

Spa and Hot Tub Cover Safety

July 29th, 2013 by

locking-spa-coverSince the 1980′s, more than 250 children age 1-4 have drowned in hot tubs and spas. A small percentage became entrapped on suction outlets. Most were not experienced swimmers who fell into an open spa or hot tub, and were not able to escape.

A strong locking spa cover is the best protection for children in homes with spas or hot tubs. No matter what type of spa you have, there is a way to make it safer with the use of a cover.

 

Above Ground Spas and Hot TubsPLEASE-LOCK-THE-SPA

My spa at home is an above ground spa, with a standard folding spa cover – and there’s 4 million more out there, just like me! These spas are the simplest to keep safely covered with spa cover clips.

Latch your spa cover clips every time you put the cover back on, and never leave the spa unmonitored when you have the cover off. A simple practice of latching the spa cover clips, and keeping your spa covered when it’s not being watched will keep your spa safe.

I have a small sign near the spa, as a reminder to myself and others, to keep the spa cover latched when not in use. Although not specifically child proof, it’s unlikely that a small child will be able to remove a spa cover that is clipped in place on 2 sides of the tub.

For more advanced spa cover locking hardware, there are two other ways to secure the cover – with external straps or steel bars. This not only keeps out children, but any unauthorized use. As horrible as the numbers of drownings in spas are for children, the number of adults found dead in spas is double.

Spa cover straps, sold here at HotTubWorks, are primarily sold as heavy duty Wind Straps – but also function as extra protection, to delay or frustrate children and also – inebriated acquaintances who decide to crash your tub when you’re not looking.

Lock them over the spa cover for extra protection. Wind straps use a standard style spa cover clip to protect against high winds, and double your spa cover security.

spa-cover-lockWant even more protection? Use the Spa Cover Lock, a spa cover locking bar, made by Arctic Spas. Attach two heavy plates on the side of your spa cabinet, and use a padlock to secure the curved steel bar. Works with spa cover lifters to keep the spa cover pressed down on the tub, and prevent use of the spa cover lifter.

Used with a spa cover lifter, it also prevents being able to slide the cover off, in the other direction. If you have no spa cover lifter, two bars can be used, in opposite directions, to absolutely prevent hot tub cover removal.

In Ground Spas and Hot Tubs

Outdoor or Indoors, a spa that is at ground level presents an even larger danger to young residents or visitors, and accounts for more drownings and injuries than above ground spas – which are more difficult to access for 1-4 year old kids and easier to lock a spa cover on safely.

Many in ground spas may not even have a rigid spa safety cover – using a floating thermal blanket or soft cover instead. Of course, these are more convenient to use, than a rigid spa cover, but if there are young people in the house, nothing is safer.

You can still secure a spa cover on an in ground spa. Indoor spas may present more of a challenge, but nearly any flooring type around a spa can be drilled, and screw anchors installed – so that standard spa cover straps can be connected. Even outdoor spas – you can drill into the concrete with a small masonry drill bit and a hammer drill.

inground-spa-cover-locking-strapsWant even more protection? You can use pool safety cover hardware to secure a spa cover on an outdoor, in the ground spa or hot tub. Drill holes with a 3/4″ masonry bit and a heavy duty hammer drill.  Connect nylon strapping with the stainless steel buckles to the s.s. springs, and then attach the cover springs to the brass anchors with the installation rod that is used. In this way, you can run 2 or more straps over top of your cover, which hold the cover down tightly, and is difficult to remove without the installation rod. You can’t buy these, but you can make them, with pool safety cover hardware, and nylon strapping from the fabric store.

Keeping your spa safe is every hot tub owners responsibility. Even if you don’t have children, you likely have neighbors and guests who do – and also keeping out trespassing acquaintances should also be on your mind, to prevent an unwanted tragedy in your spa or hot tub.

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Inground or Aboveground Spas – Which is Better?

July 18th, 2013 by

inground-spas-vs-abovegrond-spasI love spas and hot tubs, no matter if they’re installed in the ground, above the ground, or on the roof – I love to soak in warm and fragrant waters with several friends or alone with ‘mi hombre’.

A good friend of mine told me that she was looking into getting a spa, but was having some trouble deciding between a ‘natural’ inground spa built of rock and stone, or a much less expensive portable spa. Good blog topic, don’t you think?

 

POOL / SPA COMBO

This conversation is not about having a spa attached to a swimming pool. Many people have these, and my friend does have a pool, but the cost of retrofitting a spa to an existing pool can be high. Plus, having a pool/spa combo – is just not a real spa, in my mind. It definitely increases the wow factor of your inground pool, but it’s usually so far from the house, takes too long to heat up, has uncomfortable bench seating, and just 6 or 8 jets.

The question addressed today is the decision of installing an separate inground spa, built of rock and stone, or buying a ready-to-go spa.

Inground Spa or Aboveground Spa?

My friend feels that a portable spa looks big and clunky, and won’t add much appeal to her fabulous backyard (it is quite beautiful). I was quick to tell her that she could certainly sink an acrylic spa shell into the ground, or build a deck of wood or concrete to surround a regular spa.

After looking at her planned location for her new spa, I have to agree that just plunking down a portable spa onto a slab of concrete would not be the most aesthetically pleasing option. She said she likes how my spa is placed. Nothing special, but we have our spa half-sunk into a wooden gazebo type of thing. It’s actually more of a Pergola type of structure, with lots of hanging plants and climbing Clematis that I’ve been trying to nurture.

inground-spas

Inground Spa Advantages

  • Unlimited Design, as big or stylish as you want it to be.
  • Infinite ability to blend it into backyard decor and themes.
  • Can be at ground level or be raised up above.
  • Can integrate water features or fountains.
  • Variety of materials, such as concrete, tile, vinyl, acrylic, stainless.

Inground Spa Disadvantages

  • Large or unusual shapes will need expensive spa covers.
  • Can cost considerably more than portable spas to install.
  • Not nearly as energy efficient as a portable spa or hot tub.
  • Seating is typically not as comfortable or relaxing.
  • Cover Lifters are typically not possible for spa covers.
  • Exposed equipment requires winterization or constant operation.
  • Typically has only 6 or 8 jets, which may be not as powerful.

 

Aboveground Spa Advantages

aboveground-spas

  • Easy to install, nearly plug and play (most require 230V).
  • Very economical to operate, +/- $20 per month.
  • Although quite heavy, it can be moved to new locations.
  • 30-100 jets are standard in most portable spas.
  • Contoured, smooth seating surfaces, at varied heights.
  • Can integrate a spa cover lifter, for easy cover removal.
  • Spa equipment is protected from the weather, beneath the spa.
  • Features such as LED lighting and integrated stereo units.
  • Less costly to cover, most portable spas use standard spa covers.

Aboveground Spa Disadvantages

  • Not as attractive as an inground spa. Large and bulky.
  • Fewer options for interior surfaces, usually acrylic or thermoplastic.
  • Entrance and exit can be tricky, especially without spa steps.
  • Shapes and styles are more limited than inground spas.
  • Exterior wood skirt may require some maintenance.

Each type of spa has it’s own disadvantages and it’s own advantages. Not a clear cut choice. For some, it will come down to budget. And, don’t forget that you can always install a spa shell into any type of structure that you can imagine – stone, wood, rock.

I’ve seen some pretty fancy spas that were built around a spa shell, which is easily ordered from any spa manufacturer. Below are some examples of what I mean.

spas-set-inground
To see more awesome hot tubs, see Jack’s recent blog post “12 Spectacular Spas & Hot Tubs“.

I’m not bossy or pushy (most of the time) – so I’ll let my good friend make her own decision. Either way, you can be certain that I and ‘mi hombre’ will be one of the first to crash her hot tub!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

July 4th Hot Tub Party

July 1st, 2013 by

july-fourth-spa-partyWant to get some friends and family together, but don’t have a swimming pool? Do what I do – and host a July 4th Hot Tub Party!

Planning a July 4th Hot Tub party is just like any other Independence day party – the only difference is, your guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub.

Especially if you can see your local fireworks from your hot tub, it makes a great place to watch the fireworks show!

Here’s some tips on hosting a successful July 4th Hot Tub Party, without it being too complicated.

 

Prepare the Spa

A few days to a week before the party (in fact last night), I checked the water balance, lowered the pH down to 7.3-ish, and gave my spa a healthy shock treatment. On July 3rd, I’ll clean the filter, and vacuum the spa. Before the guests arrive, I’ll add some aromatherapy crystals to the tub – to set the mood.I’m thinking of using the Sweet Pea Apple sample I have, from Spazazz.

Those of you who know me, know that I love signs – so, since my spa is in the back of my house, I put a sign on the front door to lead guests around to the side gate. This keeps me from having to leave the party, go all the way upstairs and back downstairs again. When they reach the gate, I’ll have something patriotic on the gate, so they know they are entering a July 4th party!

Don’t start too early!

My July Fourth party starts at 6pm, so most guests should arrive by 7pm. I’ll be serving alcohol, so a shorter timeframe on the party should mean that my guests should leave the party – after the fireworks show, in a relatively sober state of mind.

patriotic-playlist

 

Pump up the Jams!

Every good party needs good music. For the Fourth of July, I created a play list full of patriotic songs, loaded onto my ipod, which I’ll run through twice during the evening.

When it’s time for the fireworks, even if it’s just sparklers, be sure to have John Philip Souza’s very famous version of “Stars & Stripes Forever” playing for your guests.

 

Turn down the Heat!

If you can get away with it, turn the heat down to around 100 degrees, especially if you have guests that are unaccustomed to hot tubs. This will also allow you to worry less about the guests overheating or staying too long in the hot tub. You may even want to have cooler water – 85 degrees, and use your spa as a cool water dunking station for your Hot guests.

If your hot tub buddies are old pros, they may want it bubblin’ at 104 or less – but remember to limit each guest to 30 minutes max in the tub. This is to allow room for other guests, but also to prevent dehydration and overheating on a warm summer night. With alcohol, a light headed dizzy feeling can come over those who spend too much time in the spa. Because of this, it’s also a good idea to help your guests get out of the spa safely.

Patriotic Food & Decorations

There’s no need to overdo it, so don’t stress out about having a dozen different red, white and blue recipes and elaborate decorations. Focus on just a few recipes and a few decorations.firecracker-centerpiece

For the decorations, I’ll have a patriotic display on the backyard gate, as mentioned earlier, and my food table will have a nice red tablecloth, and bunting hanging off the front. A firecracker centerpiece, made from wood scraps will be fun. I’ll also be proudly flying an American flag, of course.

For the food, I’m planning a Blueberry, Strawberries and White chocolate chip platter, and a big batch of firecracker punch. We’ll also have hot dogs, chips and cole slaw.

So, NBD – No Big Deal – you can pull off your own Hot Tub Party for July 4th. Whether just a few friends, or a block party – have a super-terrific Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday America!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Spa & Hot Tub Aromatherapy Guide

June 21st, 2013 by

spa-aromatherapy for hot tubs
By the end of a day, my olfactory senses are dulled by offices and highways, but a dip in the hot tub always restores.

Did you know that you can distinguish over 10,000 scents? Certain aromas or scents have a very real physiological effect on humans. They can soothe, energize and produce a sense of well being. Certain scents are also known to give a sensual or euphoric feeling, especially to those already relaxing in a hot tub.

I’ve been using spa scents for as long as I remember, but recently I was given a box full of spa scent samples – to test out for you, my dear reader! I have to admit that I haven’t had time to try them all – after all we have over 60 different spa crystals, beads and elixirs. I grouped them into ‘scent categories’, to simplify the testing of the different spa scents.

What resulted was a list of my favorite hot tub scents – used to create different moods in your spa or hot tub, sometimes serene, sometimes sensual.

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Lavender has been used for thousands of years, since Romans added it to their bath houses. It’s a known antiseptic, useful in treating mild infections, especially candida, but is mainly used to bring calming to the mind. Inhaling the aroma of lavender can help with sleep problems, depression and worry. As a circulatory stimulant, it brings relief for muscle pain, cramping, migraines and other head and body pain. Lavender is also good for your skin. It helps skin cells to regenerate, and is used to treat scarring or stretch marks, and can also be used with rashes, sunburns or skin infections.lavender-spa-crystals

We have lots of Lavender spa scents at Hottubworks. I’m told it’s one of our best selling scents. It’s one that people know, commonly used in soaps, pillows or sachets. I like the Lavender Spa Crystals. They come in a large, 2 lb. box with a scoop, and is so fragrant I began to relax before even opening the box. I sprinkled in the spa scent crystals, watching them sink slowly, while they immediately release the soothing scent, along with natural plant moisturizers, into the water.

lavender-palmarosaAnother Lavender spa scent that tested well with me was the Lavender Palmarosa Escape Elixir. As opposed to the spa crystals, Elixirs are a thick and shiny liquid, in beautiful colors, that is poured into the water. Lavender is mixed with botanical oils, and in this case, Palmarosa, which is a type of Lemon Grass. Lemon is another scent that rejuvenates, and I really liked the experience more than just the lavender alone.  The Lavender Palmarosa Escape Elixir is a thick liquid, but if you prefer spa crystals to liquid – the same scent by SpaZazz is also made in crystal form, as the Escape Crystals – Lavender Palmarosa.

 

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Jasmine is a rich and warm floral fragrance, seductive and sensual. It has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac, and I can see why! Jasmine is sweetly exotic, and is also called ‘Mistress of the Night’ or ‘Moonlight of the Grove’, because the seductive scent is at it’s strongest in the middle of the night. When you add Jasmine to a hot tub, you may be calling for your lover to join you! Jasmine is sweet, soft and very sexy.

Jasmine is considered a mild sedative, and it certainly also helped me to relax, and really enjoy the spa session. It helps with anxiety, depression or a general blah feeling. It relaxes the central nervous system. Jasmine is also used in some countries as an aid to skin healing, by adding a few drops of Jasmine essence to a mineral or vegetable oil.

Jasmine Spa CrystalsThe samples of Jasmine that I had included the Jasmine Spa Crystals, and the White Musk Vanilla Jasmine Escape Crystals, with the word “Soothe” on the label. The Jasmine Spa Crystals were more fruity and floral, and the Escape Crystals were also sweet, but less so – toned down by the Vanilla and Musk aromas. musk-vanilla-jasmine-aromatherapy-for-the-spa

I used these scents on consecutive nights, so I could best compare. Both Jasmine crystals were soothing and sensual, and when I closed my eyes, I could easily imagine that I was in the south pacific, on a floating island. The Musk Vanilla Jasmine blend was definitely the sexier of the two, as you may have guessed.

 

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Mint is one of the most widely used aromatic herbs, used in everything from food and drinks to lip balm. In 1879, the British Journal of Medicine noted that the vapors of menthol gave relief to headaches and nerve pain. It improves alertness and helps one to concentrate, and could be perfect after a long day, to prepare for a long evening. Peppermint increases blood flow, reduces itching and is helpful with arthritic cramps or muscle pain. And, it’s good for your skin, stimulating natural skin oil production.

Mint grows wild throughout North America, Europe and Australia. It’s an abundant perennial in some areas, like my backyard! For this test, I picked a small basket of leaves and laid them in the spa water, to give peppermint aromatherapy a more authentic feel.

eucalyptus-mintAdded to the leaves on my peppermint trial, I used the SpaZazz Eucalyptus Mint Elixir, also available in crystal form. The packet was labeled “stimulate”, so I was prepared and ready for stimulation. It was a calm stimulation – I felt my breathing open up, like when Mom would rub Vicks on my chest. After 15 minutes, I noticed that my skin did feel stimulated, almost to the point of goosebumps. This fresh feeling lasted for hours, as did the energy boost – which may have come from deeper breathing in the hot tub.

 

EUCALYPTUS-SPA-AROMATHERAPY

Eucalyptus leaves have long been used in early cultures, for relief from aches and pains, and for treatment of altitude sickness. Early Incas, in the highlands of Peru would bathe in natural hot springs, filled with eucalyptus leaves. Similar to peppermint, Eucalyptus has an element of camphor, and can be used to treat sore throats, sinus problems, flu and fever.

The Eucalyptus tree is fast growing, to heights of 80 foot or more. Popular in sub-tropical regions (like California), you can often find wild eucalyptus trees that you can harvest for your spa aromatherapy sessions. In fact, I did just that – a neighbor down the street has large Eucalyptus trees lining their driveway. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind, so I trimmed a few stems.eucalyptus-spa-crystals

Added the Eucalyptus directly to the hot tub and then sprinkled in a scoop of my 2 pound “sample” of Eucalyptus Spa Crystals. Energizing and pungent, my soak in eucalyptus oils, with the mist surrounding me, was the most stimulating of all the spa scents that I tried. It also completely removed a headache that I had brought home with me. Like the peppermint aromatherapy, my soak in eucalyptus also made my skin dance a bit, and allowed my sinuses to open up for some deep breathing in the spa.

In summary, if you are looking to increase your spa relaxation, try a Lavender spa scent. For a romantic evening, go with a Jasmine fragrance. For a rejuvenating and energizing aromatherapy spa session, use Mint or Eucalyptus.

This has been a fun experiment, and I have enough left over spa scents to host some fun hot tub aromatherapy parties!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa Yoga Workout – Hot Tub Yoga

May 31st, 2013 by

hot-tub-yoga

 

Namaste! Welcome to my Yoga Ashram, I’m Gina, your yoga instructor. I’m qualified, I suppose, since I started my own Hot Tub Yoga program 8 weeks ago, in preparation for this blog post!

I have always been a fan of Bikram yoga, a very physical type of yoga, practiced in rooms near 100 degrees – so it was a natural transition for me to try yoga in hot water.

Yoga in a spa or hot tub is, to be honest – a bit easier than yoga on land. The buoyancy of the water, and the water’s resistance, definitely make it easier to hold the poses!

When I began my personal Hot Tub Yoga Studio, I started out by doing the poses that I was most familiar with What evolved was my own brand of Sivananda Yoga – (a series of linked asanas and pranayamas), or sets of poses and breathing exercises.

My spa isn’t big enough to do some fully stretched out poses, and of course, seated poses and many inverted positions are difficult to do underwater. So, after much trial and error, here are some tried and true yoga sequences that can be done in your hot tub.

Breathe

My yoga warm-up is more of a relaxation exercise, to prepare the body and mind for the sequences to follow. I sit cross-legged on the lounge seat of the spa, very straight and tall, in the Lotus position. Hands facing up, I begin rhythmic breathing, deep into my belly first. As the breathing becomes deeper, I fill my mid-chest and eventually my upper chest during each breath. Exhaling slowly and fully, this is known as the full Yogi breath. 8-10 full, slow breaths and I open my eyes and unfold my legs.

Hot Tub Yoga Warm-Up

Next – with the bathtub mat I bought placed on the spa floor, I kneel on the floor of my spa, in the Vajrasana or Rock pose. The water level forces me to sit nice and straight, with my toes bent under and my rump resting on my heels. After a few relaxing breaths, I push my hands up straight while inhaling, up toward the sky. Leaning and reaching back to full extension, I exhale as I bring my hands back into the prayer-like Namaste pose.

Spa Yoga Routines

yoga_8_animated

 

Breath: Standing up in the center of the spa, I begin a series of repeated movements. The first set is part of a Sun Salutation, and is similar to the kneeling warm-up routine. As I stretch toward the sky, it’s helpful to imagine a rope around my wrists, pulling me up straight and tall. Repeating the set 5 times, very slowly and precisely, focusing on my breathing. Inhale as I open up tall, exhale as my head goes under water.

 

Balance: Up until now, at the half point of my yoga workout, it’s been relaxing, with a focus on the breath, and clearing my mind with the clutter of the day. Now I turn to my balance routine. You can mix it up with different poses that seem to work best for you.

Yoga, for me, has a goal of perfection – unattainable perfection perhaps, but nonetheless, and as I hold a pose, I try to be perfectly straight and balanced – with a clear mind, breathing deeply, in and out of each position.

standing-asanas

yoga_9_animated

 

Brawn: Time to kick it up a notch. Now that I am fully limber, and beginning to break a sweat, it’s time for some strength conditioning. The next set of poses that I link together use muscles that I hadn’t used in years – but after a few weeks, they stopped complaining after workouts. Some of these strength yoga poses involve the benches in the hot tub, as support.

These poses during the “Brawn” phase of the workout, are held for a longer time than the previous sets. Once you gain balance, focus the breath, and hold the pose for as long as you comfortably can.

I’ve added some Pilates moves to my hot tub workout. One new favorite is using a Pilates ball, and with straight arms and locked elbows, push the ball partially under water for 3 or 4 breaths. After several rounds, I move the ball to my toes and hold it under water with feet (harder than it sounds!) while floating on my back (planking!), supported by my hands on the spa bench. Breathe.

hot-tub-yoga-workout

Hot tub yoga – this has been a fun experiment. I have to say – after 2 months of doing spa yoga, my hot tub and I have reconnected, and I am toned in areas that just aren’t touched with other forms of exercise. As an added benefit, the meditative breathing really takes the stress off, and gives me such an energy boost.

I hope you’ll try hot tub yoga soon – if you have, and have some tips to share, please comment below!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

yoga pose graphics created by AskAboutHugo

Deep Cleaning your Spa or Hot Tub

May 10th, 2013 by

Deep Cleaning your Spa or Hot TubYour Spa or Hot Tub is wonderful for restful relaxation or romantic evenings – but there is a dark side. Maintenance and Care.

Just like owning a car, there are specific and regular treatments needed to keep it running and looking good. Unlike my car however, my spa is easy to clean, maintain and service.

Here’s the what I do to really deep clean my hot tub, which I do every 3 months – or sooner, if I’m planning a big hot tub party, or we’ve had a “high-use weekend”.

 

Clean the Pipes

If your spa is like mine, it has dozens of jets and hundreds of feet of hidden pipes and hoses. Scientists discovered that BioFilm bacteria can find harbor inside the plumbing and equipment of hot water tubs. Just like carbon build-up in your car, it’s best to remove these deposits regularly to keep the spa sanitary. I use a product called Jet Clean the night before I plan to drain the hot tub. As it circulates, it breaks down scale and biofilm, so that I can flush it out with my next day draining.

Clean the Filter

After I have circulated the Jet Clean, I remove the filter cartridges and spray in between the pleats with my garden hose. Then, I drop it in a bucket of Spa Filter Clean solution and let is soak overnight. In the morning, as I’m draining the spa, the spa filter gets another cleaning with the garden hose (until it stops foaming), and I set it in the sun to dry. Drying your spa cartridges, before re-installing, helps kill any remaining bacteria, and lets the fibers open up and “breathe” just slightly.

Drain the Spa

First, shut off the power to the spa, in preparation for draining. Most spas have a water valve underneath, where a garden hose is connected. If not, a small submersible pump can be used. As it’s draining, I move the garden hose around my yard to recycle the water. When it’s half empty, I use another garden hose with a spray nozzle to spray into the jets and skimmer. If you notice any algae or slimy discoloration, remove the jet eyeballs and drain covers, and soak them in a chlorine solution. Use a bottle brush to scrub inside the pipes, and hose out again with fresh water.

Clean the Shell

My spa is an acrylic shell, with a beautiful shiny silver finish. To clean the inside of the shell, I spray on CitraBright and wipe it down with a soft cloth. Even though the spa shell looks clean, I’m always amazed at the amount of dirt on the cloth. It’s important to not use any household cleaners or other products that could contain harmful chemicals or phosphates. You don’t want that stuff in your spa water. Citrabright cleans fast with no residue, and has a nice Orange County scent.

Protect the Shell

Fast Gloss seals and protects the shell of the spa from sunlight and spa chemicals. What I really like about it, and why I use it, is that it makes my spa shine like it’s brand new! It also removes any streaking left over from the cleaning process. Just wipe it on, and buff a bit – real easy. It also lasts a long time, I think I’ve had my bottle for over 2 years now. After this treatment, I begin to fill the spa. Mine takes about 3-4 hours to fill, so I might have to delay filling, or adjust my schedule so I don’t overflow the spa (again)!

Clean the Spa Cover

I can’t work for a Hot Tub cover company and have a ratty looking spa top! My spa cover is 4 years old, but it still looks great. I use our hot tub Cover Care and Conditioner every 3 months. This is a combination cleaner and conditioner, in one step – just wipe it on, and wipe it off. I also use it on the spa pillows.

Clean Underneath

My spa equipment sits underneath the spa. It’s a nice warm place for small critters to hide, and maybe damage something, so keep this area of your spa clean too. I normally use my long extension on my vacuum cleaner, and suck up any cobwebs or debris. Occasionally, I spray it with a hose, but I’m careful about the electronics. If you find any evidence of rodents, you can use poison bait, or try Mouse-Away, which repels them with a cute mint sachet.

And that’s it! That’s how I do it anyway. Every 3 months, just like changing the oil in your car – give your spa a deep clean, and it can look like new – nearly forever!

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works