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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Refinishing your Spa Cabinet

September 18th, 2014 by

SPA-CABINET-RESTORATION

A spa cabinet, or the outside staves of a hot tub, begin to fade and splinter after some time in the good ‘ol outdoors. Even manufactured wood spa cabinets begin to show their age after a while. You should avoid staining and sealing the inside of a hot tub, but the outside, or steps and cabinets around a tub or spa is an easy way to rejuvenate your spa or hot tub!

At some point, your spa cabinet will lose the luster it once had, and you will decide to do something about it. This post is about how to rehab your cabinets around a spa or hot tub – and protecting it, before winter sets in.

 

Keeping your Spa Cabinet Clean

To keep your spa cabinet clean, you have to think about the area surrounding the spa.

  1. Shield from sprinklers or roof runoff water.
  2. Shield from direct sun if longer than a few hours.
  3. Spray any weeds, keep plants 6″ away from cabinet.
  4. Cover bare ground around spa with gravel, mats or decking.
  5. Don’t let your spa overflow, or allow heavy splashout from the spa.

Refinishing Spa Cabinets

Spa cabinets can be made of wood, typically cedar or redwood varieties, but common nowadays are composite plastic materials, in colors, with grained or patterned finishes. These finishes don’t require re-finishing, usually a cleaning with a stiff brush and a bucket of soapy water is all they need. If you do want to spiff up your non-wood cabinet, you can use spa cover conditioner to restore a darker, glossy finish, and remove minor scuffs.

Wood cabinets can become faded, chipped and over time, begin to rot. Even cedar and redwood cabinets, more resistant to insect and bacteria damage (rot), will eventually begin to deteriorate. Regularly cleaning and sealing your cabinet, and taking care of those 5 things listed above, will keep any wood spa cabinet looking good for a lifetime.

STEP ONE: CLEAN IT

Cleaning a wood spa cabinet with a stiff brush is the first step. If you don’t have a heavy, short handled brush, you can use a toilet brush (lol), or unscrew the handle from a push broom, or floor scrubber. Fill a small bucket with a gallon of water and some dish soap. Then, just like cleaning a car, go around the cabinet and give it a good scrubbing, top to bottom.

Notice how the water drains off, and if it pools in any spots on the cabinet or below the cabinet. Lightly hose off the surface with a hose spray nozzle, or wipe clean with a wet sponge, going with the grain as you wipe. Let your cabinet dry for a good 24 hours before the next step.

step two: repair it

You may be able to skip this step, I hope. But if your wood spa cabinet has some areas of wood rot, with hollow loose areas that you can practically poke your finger into… Look for any loose nails or screws, or any bowed sections, anything unusual.

Chipped, rotted or decayed sections can be cut out with a razor knife, and filled in with wood filler or any exterior wall repair patch. This will slow the deterioration of the wood. Just lay it in there with a putty knife and allow it to dry.

Rough areas, or splintering wood cabinets can be lightly sanded with a medium grit sandpaper. Wrap it around a dry sponge to make a sanding block.

step three: stain it

If your wood has visible damage, or severe fading, a solid cover stain will hide more imperfections than a transparent or semi-transparent stain. If it is in very bad condition, with advanced fading and color differences, you can use an exterior paint, but this will hide the natural tone of the wood, and could require frequent repainting.

Take a picture of your spa color as you go to your local hardware supply to try and match the stain color as close as possible. When in doubt, always select a lighter colored stain than what you think you have. The smallest jar of stain (4 oz) is often enough for a spa cabinet. Tear off the can label after use, and tape or staple it somewhere inside your spa cabinet, so you can remember the stain color 5 years from now.

Despite some other spa bloggers that suggest that you use Linseed Oil (blogger war!), I would stay away from this unless you have a very dark colored cabinet. It can be hard to control the mix and application, and you could end up with a black spa cabinet. Other than a problem with darkening, Linseed Oil does make a nice wood preservative.

For best results in staining, use a clean, textured kitchen sponge, strained of excess stain. Be sure to use a drop cloth, wear rubber gloves, and keep a rag handy to wipe up any pooling.

step four: seal it

Sealing the stained wood is a most important step for protecting your restored finish. While your browsing stains and sealers, you’ll notice that there are many products that are stain-and-sealer in one (!). These are fine to use – I like to use the Mixwax PolyShades line of all-in-one, but there are others.

If you don’t use a combination stain and sealer, you can find several polyurethane sealers or waterproofing products. Look for a product that won’t need reapplication twice per year, but something that is more permanent. Choose your finish – matte, satin or glossy. After your stain dries, you can apply the sealer, with a sprayer, rag or sponge.

>>> Most spa cabinets will need a refinishing every 5 years or so. So, what are you waiting for? Clean it, Stain it & Seal it!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

 

Advanced Hot Water Chemistry

September 15th, 2014 by

advanced-hot-tub-chemistry---PM

Beyond pH and Bromine levels, beyond alkalinity and calcium hardness – what else is there?

Maintaining a healthy hot tub is crucial not only for the users of the spa, to avoid sickness, but also for the integrity of your hot tub spa.

The following article on hot tub water chemistry will focus on 3 important tenets:

1. A Hot Tub is Not a Small Pool.

2. Chemicals behave differently in Hot Water.

3. Spa filters are important to chemistry.

 

1. HOT TUBS ARE NOT SMALL SWIMMING POOLS

Although many spa owners treat their spas and swimming pools the same, using the same test kits and even the same chemical treatments, there is a world of difference between the two. The largest difference is in volume. Easy enough to understand, a spa of 400 gallons is quite a bit smaller than a pool containing 20000 gallons.

The main distinction here is in gallons per bather. When 4 persons slip into a 400 gallon spa, that’s the equivalent of 200 swimmers in a 20000 gallon pool. A radical change in water chemistry occurs when people enter a hot tub. The pH tends to jump up dramatically, and the sanitizer is pummeled. The small cartridge filter, adequately sized for an unused spa, becomes immediately overwhelmed.

Bromine tends to respond better than chlorine in this situation, maintaining more efficacy at higher pH levels than chlorine, but even a high level of bromine is rapidly depleted in the presence of several spa users. This leaves your bathers unprotected from pathogenic microorganisms.

This is why a Hot Tub needs to have additional sanitation methods. Using an Ozonator and a mineral purifier together (in addition to bromine), is the best way to ensure extra protection for a hot tub or spa used by several persons at the same time.

This is also why it is so important for spa users to shower thoroughly before using a hot tub. I know that it’s difficult (if not outright rude) to ask guests to shower before using a spa, but just imagine all of the gunk that is washing off their (and your) body – bacteria, dirt, fungus, feces, oils, urine – to name a few. Not to mention all those chemicals from cosmetics, lotions, hair care products, shampoo and soaps. And your skin pores, opening up in that hot water…

 

2. CHEMICALS BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY IN HOT WATER

As water temperature rises, the viscosity or density of water decreases, and molecular activity increases. Sanitizing agents become hyperactive, and quickly dissipate. Carbonates and bicarbonates, hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, and calcium minerals all ‘fly’ around the water at breakneck speed, combining and separating in bizarre ways, not seen in colder water. Molecules in cold water have a greater atomic bonding, and resist change, whereas in hot water, molecular combinations (not all good) occur much more easily in hot water.

Cold water also holds much more entrained oxygen than hot water, and sound travels faster in cold water. Not much to do with hot tub water chemistry, I just think it’s interesting, that’s all. Everything that is in your hot tub water, every speck of dust, every droplet of bodily fluid, all affect water balance, and contribute to Total Dissolved Solids in a hot tub. It’s another property of hot water that solids break down more easily than in cold water. But they don’t go away, they are simply dissolved in the water.

Pool chemicals are not suitable for spas and hot tubs. Namely because of the labeling and dosages listed. It’s very easy to overdose or under dose a hot tub. Even for those chemicals that may be identical, such as pH up or Alkalinity increaser. Although chemically the same, spa chemicals are produced in finer grades, to dissolve more rapidly.

Other pool chemicals, such as clarifiers and algaecides, are not produced for use in hot water temperatures. They break down more readily in water of higher temperatures, and combine in ways that render them useless. These reasons are why you should not use pool chemicals in your spa or hot tub.

 

3. SPA FILTERS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK

You may wonder what the spa filter has to do with hot tub water chemistry, but as the title implies, it’s more important than you may think!

Harkening back to our opening paragraph, when 3 or 4 people jump into a hot tub, it can overwhelm a spa filter. I’m speaking of the pleated filter cartridge that serves to strain out small particles in your hot tub. In most cases, their diminutive size is adequate for a hot tub that is not hosting visitors, but place a few humans in the equation, and it can take hours for it to catch up.

In spas, as in swimming pools, there needs to be a balance of sanitation and filtration. A balance is important, if you will – imagine doing it all with only one of these. If you only had sanitation (and no filtration – stagnant water), you would need a very large amount of sanitizer to keep the water clean and clear. Or – you could do without sanitizer, if you had a filter as big as a house, or circulation of hundreds of gallons of water per minute. But this is impractical, so we rely on a balance.

It doesn’t take long for a small cartridge filter to stop pulling it’s weight around a hot tub or spa. When this happens, much more is required of your sanitizer, or more sanitizer is required, I should say. I know that some of you may be guilty of going years without changing the filter cartridge. Sure you clean it – occasionally, but when was the last time you replaced your spa filter?

For best results, replace your filter cartridge every 10-15 cleanings, or every 12-24 months, depending on how often the spa is used. A spa filter that needs replacement won’t stand up and wave it’s hand for a substitute, it quietly keeps chugging along, allowing microscopic debris to pass through unfiltered.

When your filter is doing less than what is required, your water suffers, and it could affect the health of your spa users and your spa luster. Do yourself a favor and set a calendar reminder to replace your spa filter on a regular basis. Or, do what I do, and buy them in pairs, and alternate cartridges when one is removed for cleaning. This allows me to go 24 months between purchases, and also means that I allow the cartridge to dry fully after cleaning it, which kills any contaminants buried deep inside the fibers.

 

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Exterior Design – Creating Hot Tub Décor

September 4th, 2014 by

exterior-design-hot-tubs-and-spasGood exterior design is a sum of its parts, bringing together disparate elements into one cohesive and balanced design.

Your hot tub or spa is a warm, bubbling respite away from the stress of everyday life. Shouldn’t the surroundings of your spa also create feelings of peace and serenity? I’m not talking about a Zen garden, although if that’s your theme, by all means go ahead – but rather adding design elements that engage the senses, and produce an air of tranquility. Isn’t that what your hot tub is all about?

Put into words, using adjectives – just what is it that a Hot Tub means to you. Not your current hot tub, but your ideal hot tub. What would it look like? Rustic? Elegant? Tropical? Modern? Now how does it make you feel – Chic? Adventurous? Pampered? Relaxed?

Principles of Exterior Design

Balance & Contrast

Exterior Design is not so different from interior design. To make interesting spaces, designers play with balancing and contrasting elements. An element is anything tactile and visual – everything in sight is an element that can be matched or juxtaposed with surrounding surfaces and objects.

Lines: Horizontal or Vertical, diagonal or curved. The visual lines around your hot tub – fence, walls, floors, even the hot tub itself can balance each other in simple or striking ways. Lines can be used to make a space feel taller or more spacious. The type of lines used can evoke very different feelings. Thick or thin, precise or varied, bold or barely there. Wall, ceiling and floor coverings often make use of lines, to bring balance or contrast to the shape of the room, or outdoor space.

hot-tub-exterior-decorating

Symmetry: Open any book on design and there will be an early chapter on creating symmetry. It’s all around us, and being that our own bodies are symmetrical, we are naturally drawn towards symmetry. In exterior design, you’ll often find landscapes very symmetrical, and the house as well. Symmetry is as natural as bookends, end tables or night stands, but can also be seen as boring by those who prefer to avoid repetition.

Asymmetry: Asymmetrical designs can be just as pleasing, but instead of using repetition, they create balance through contrast. The difference can be with color, size, position, texture, quantity or even empty space. If you want something different, consider radial design, with elements arranged in a concentric fashion around a focal point, like your hot tub!

hot--tub-and-spa-design-ideas

Scale & Shape

One can do a lot with scale & shape – the size and form of various elements placed around the hot tub, and if space allows, focal points placed further out in the field of vision.

Size:  The outdoors allows and begs for a larger scale than what can be done indoors. A few examples of large elements around a hot tub include outdoor fireplaces, overhead pergola or open air gazebos. Large oak leaf and ivy trellises can double as privy fences, and chunky living room style lounges and daybeds, fountains or sculptures can be added to your spa resort.

Form: Shapes are all around us – even the spaces in between ‘things’ have a shape. Shapes need not be 3-dimensional, that is they don’t have to have depth, and so are often added to walls, but can also be creatively used on floors and ceilings.

exterior-design-for-hot-tubs-and-spas

Landscape: When imagining the landscape around your spa, one way to consider scale and shape is to use a mix of small, medium and large plants (or small trees) to build layers of shapes and sizes. If you love blooms, plan and plant a perennial garden, blooming from early spring to late autumn. Your landscape doesn’t have to match your style completely, but should complement a theme. For instance, hot tub landscaping can be formal or casual, desert or tropical, beach or mountains. It can be inspired by Asian, Mediterranean or Latin landscape gardens. It’s best to consider your growing zone, and choose plants that will thrive in your climate, and with available daily sun exposure. Your local garden center has experts that can help you with plant selection for scale, shape and style.

Colors & Textures

color-wheelThere is a general rule of design that 3 colors is the maximum number of hues that one should use in a space. These are sometimes referred to as the dominant, secondary and accent colors. However, if you want to use more colors, make use of analogous colors, or those that are in the same general spectrum of color, or neighbors on the color wheel. Opposites on the color wheel are often paired together, in a complementary color scheme.

When designers consider a color scheme for a room or outdoor space, they can go in several directions, depending on the primary use of the space, and the wishes of those who will inhabit the space. If you have a theme in mind, or an overall style picked out, it makes it easier to narrow the color choices. Often, certain elements or focal points in the space become the primary inspiration for the color palette. But it doesn’t have to be!

hot-tub-decorating-ideas

Textures: Everything has a texture, and will fall somewhere on a spectrum of texture from smooth to rough. There are two types of texture – actual texture and simulated texture. Actual texture will have depth and a tactile sensation of texture. Simulated texture is created by duplicating the color value and darkness of the original, but in only two dimensions. It’s best practice to use a combination of surface textures, to suit your style. Generally, the more formal a setting is, the smoother the elements become, while more rustic or outdoorsy style will utilize a great deal more texture. Texture can be overdone however, so use with care, to avoid too many or too few competing textures.

outdoor-design-for-hot-tubs-and-spas

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Water Meditation Techniques

August 28th, 2014 by

hot-tub-meditation

A hot tub is a perfect place for meditation, if you can get it all to yourself that is! I’m fortunate to have one evening per week when I’m alone with my tub, and take the time to practice short mindful meditations.

Emphasis on the word ‘practice’, because meditation is something that gets better each time you do it, and becomes easier – the more you practice.

If you’ve never tried to meditate, or have given it only a few sporadic efforts, you are missing out on one of the best ways to relieve stress, pain and fatigue. There are too many benefits to list; trust me – meditation is good stuff!

Meditate in your own spa or hot tub!

 

Set the Mood

Turn down the lights, turn down the heat, and turn off the pumps and air blower. You can light a scented candle, or add aromatherapy salts to your hot tub. Put the heat at whatever temperature you like, I tend to prefer 100°, but it depends on the outside air temperature. 104° is really too hot for quiet meditation, but something between 90-100 degrees (32-38° C) seems to work for most people.

You don’t necessarily need to be alone to meditate, but it helps if others also remain still and quiet, preferably meditating as well. If you like,  you can add some soft music, without lyrics. Yoga music or meditation music works well. I prefer the still sounds of the night, but then my neighborhood is fairly quiet. If you have more urban sounds, or cacophony of crickets, meditation music can be helpful – to set the mood.

focus on the body

The first step to hot tub meditation is to focus briefly on the body for a quick minute. Find a comfortable kneeling or seated position, cross legged or not, and sit up straight. Now begin to slowly check the sensations in each body area, and allow yourself to relax, bit by bit. Start at the toes, and move up the body to the top of your head. Focus your attention on your bones, muscles and joints, and allow the buoyancy of the water to take over. Pause along the each section of the spine, and you move up the body. Allow your arms to float freely in the water, limp at the wrist. Finally, relax any tension in the neck, face and scalp, and allow your body to become buoyant.

focus on the breath

The Yogi Complete Breath, from the book Science of Breath, written by a Yogi over 100 years ago, is a long and slow breath, combining low breathing, mid breathing and high breathing techniques. It takes time to master fully, but most people lock onto it after a dozen or so attempts. Once you have a comfortable seating position, sit up straight and start by ‘belly-breathing’, pushing out your stomach, as you breath deep into your stomach for a count of 2. On count 3 and 4, allow your side ribs to open up, and fill up your lower diaphragm. On count 5 and 6 fill up the upper diaphragm as your upper sternum rises toward your chin. Hold for a two count, and then slowly exhale for a 6 count, in the reverse order of inhalation. Chest down, ribs inward, stomach deflates. After much practice you can increase the time, until a complete breath takes a full minute!  Advanced breathing can add-in elements of Pranayama, by breathing-in through one nostril and exhaling through the other.

Breathing is the ladder to the next step in meditation, it is used to quiet the mind as you focus on the simple mechanics of inhaling and exhaling. Counting the breaths in your mind, with a 1-1 thousand, 2-1 thousand (or Mississippi if you prefer) can also help to drown out other thoughts and help you to remain focused on the breath.

focus on the mind

When we breathe deeply, the increased oxygen wakes up many dormant cells, and the mind can wander easily. Try to stay in the present moment, and don’t allow your mind to play tapes of the past or predictions of the future, just be here, now, in the present.

When thoughts come into my mind, this sounds silly but, I like to imagine them coming in near my ears, and a broom in the middle of my head sweeps them out the other side. The key is to catch yourself drifting into a thought, and let it go, sweep the thought away, or just let it go, and return to focus on the breathing.

Don’t chastise yourself, or wince at catching yourself thinking again, just make the neutral observation, let it go, and return your focus to the breath and body. What I do is – I relax my body and breathe deeply, and bring my attention to a spot behind my forehead, which some call the third eye, or the 6th chakra, and my thoughts diminish.

 

Water Meditation

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Water is a symbol of purity and a cleansing element. Our connection to water in this world is profound, it flows through our rivers and oceans, and through our bodies. Scientists recognize water as one of the most important elements on the planet, next to the sun’s energy, in allowing life to exist.

A water meditation is allowing your mind to wander into a short story. As your breathing continues, guide your mind to another place, a wet place – and since you’re already floating in your hot tub, why not !?!

Waterfall Meditation

Imagine yourself sitting in a warm, crystal clear tropical pool, surrounded by lush foliage of all types, with a soft waterfall cascading down in front of you. The waterfall fills you up, and joins the rhythm of your breathing. A clear mist fills the air around you as you move under the waterfall. The soft waters dance over your shoulders, cleansing and purifying.

Stream Meditation

In this mindful meditation, you’ll take a seat near a small babbling brook, choose the season you like, I usually use autumn. Feel the water as it rushes around you, flowing to ever larger tributaries, and eventually out to sea. Allow the river’s flow to match your rhythm of breath, while it cleanses and purifies.

Hot Springs Meditation

Same thing here, just a different location. You don’t even need to leave your spa – sometimes (Ok, this is getting embarrassing) I imagine my hot tub in different locations, and in my water meditation, my spa is transported, deep into the jungle, or to a cliff overlooking the ocean, or on a desert island somewhere. :-)

 

Bonus Tips for Hot Tub Meditation:

  • Start with just 10 minutes, and build up to 20 minutes over time. Set an alarm for safety.
  • Meditation Music – search on Google, and you can find long songs or videos to play on your phone.
  • Aromatherapy – Aroma really helps with water meditations, and can become the entire meditation!
  • Mantras – short words or numbers said slowly to yourself, on the exhalation.
  • Asanas – simple yoga poses or postures, seated or standing. I don’t use these myself in hot tub meditation, but you can try lotus, child, angel or diamond positions.

 

“Open your pores and bathe in all the tides of nature, in all her streams, and oceans, in all seasons”.

 -  Henry David Thoreau

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Folliculitis – Preventing Pseudomonas

July 17th, 2014 by

FOLLICULITISnoun \fə-ˌli-kyə-ˈlī-təs\ – inflammation of one or more follicles especially of the hair.

It’s a skin infection that produces an itchy rash with red bumps.

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is a germ usually responsible.

 

Pseudomona… What?

pseudomonas-4Hot Tub Rash is a faster way to say it, easier than either folliculitis or pseudomonas aeruginosa! Let’s call our germ “Pseudo“; Pseudo is one of the most common bacterias in our modern society. It is naturally occurring nearly everywhere, and poorly maintained hot tubs present a particularly nice home for the pathogen.

Pseudo is also responsible for over 10% of all hospital infections. In addition to dermatitis, pseudomonas also causes gastrointestinal, urinary and respiratory infections. It’s a very opportunistic bugger, exploiting hosts with a variety of entry points.

In a hot tub that is poorly filtered and sanitized, pseudomonas can thrive, and as you soak in the water, your pores open up, and the pseudo just swims right inside, and makes a home near the root of the tiny hair follicles.

The rash usually appears on legs, buttocks and back, but hot tub rash can appear nearly anywhere on the body. The rash can begin to appear within a few hours, but may take up to 24 hours to become noticeable. The rash frequently appears under the swimsuit areas, due to continued exposure even after leaving the water.

Preventing Pseudomonas

To make sure we get the information correct, I went straight to the experts. Prevent hot tub rash in your spa by following these tips from the CDC’s Pseudomonas Fact Sheet.

  • Remove biofilm slime regularly by scrubbing and cleaning.
  • Replace the spa filter according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Replace the water in a hot tub regularly.  Here’s how.
  • Maintain pH levels in the 7.2-7.8 range.
  • Maintain sanitizer levels; 2-4ppm chlorine, or 4-6ppm bromine.

Public Spas & Hot Tubs

The fact is, most cases of hot tub rash occur in public spas – hotels, resorts, rec centers, gyms. It’s much less common in well maintained home spas. Public spas have high levels of guests, which pummels the sanitizer and pH levels, and quickly allows bacteria to form, unless the operator is constantly monitoring the chemistry and filtration.

To safely use a public spa, which I do on occasion while on vacation – here’s a few tips of my own:

  • I always pack some spa test strips to discreetly test the spa pH and sanitizer in a public spa.
  • Limit your soak to 20 minutes, afterwards, wash yourself and your swimsuit in the shower.
  • Change into dry clothes, don’t stay in your swimsuit.

Hot Tub Rash Treatment

In most cases, the rash will disappear on it’s own in otherwise healthy individuals. Itching can be reduced with a calamine lotion, or similar anti-itch ointment.

In individuals with compromised immune systems, or if symptoms persist past 3-4 days, or appear to be spreading, visit  your doctor or a dermatologist, who may prescribe an antibiotic medication or antifungal cream. Lab tests could be performed to determine the exact type of bacteria or fungus.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara

 

Hot Tub Cool Tub – Using Spas During Summer

July 7th, 2014 by

steamy-spaDo you lower your spa temperature during summer? Or keep it blazing hot all year ’round?

I wondered about this, so I took a short office poll, and I asked people on our facebook page this question.

Do you ever use your spa for cooling soaks, with lower water temperatures?

I  didn’t control for location, spa type, or any variables at all, actually – so not a ‘scientific’ study on spa use.

 

Nonetheless, the results were interesting! cool-spa

Of the adults surveyed, 80% of them prefer to keep their spa or hot tub – hot all year around. Assuming of course, that there are no spa heater problems! 18% of respondents indicated that they do use their spa for occasional cool water soaking.

Of course I had some follow-up questions for those who said Yes! to cool water soaking. I asked them what they used it for, and compiled the comments. Most were related to “cooling off!“, and quite a few mentioned exercise, or using cool water to perform low impact stretching or calisthenics.

 

spa-temp-lgrI also wanted to ask a multiple choice question: “What’s temperature is best for cool water soaks?” Some said they don’t even check, they just shut off the heat, and it seems to stay around 70-75 degrees. But for those that I could pin down to a 5 degree range, most preferred the water to be 70-85° – except for the few polar bears out there, that are still using it with water temperatures in the 60′s.

 

So how about you? Do you like to use your spa or hot tub at a lower temperature as a way to beat the summer heat? Or as a way for a low impact exercise, especially for illness or injury recovery?

Give it a try if you’ve never done it before! You can still turn the blower on, and put the jets on high for some hydrotherapy, and add some tropical spa scents to the water to enjoy it even more!

During the survey, I tried a cool spa myself, and I have to say it is great when the night air is hot.

 

- Jack

 

The World’s Most Exotic Hot Tub Locations

June 23rd, 2014 by

my-ugly-spa A hot tub is a hot tub, right? Well, it helps if you have a majestic or tranquil view. In my backyard, I have the lovely view of my fence, and a struggling lawn, along with the noise from the Santa Ana Freeway.

So forgive me if I’m a bit enamored with the life of luxury, the life of the Rich & Famous. For those that can afford to travel to exotic locations around the world, you can book a room with a view, and a hot tub!

The pictorial below is my new travel bucket list for the next ten years!

 

The Joshua Tree Green House – Twenty-nine Palms, CA

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Iglu village in Zematt, Switzerland

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Vacation Rental in Luray, Va with views of the Shenandoah Valleyvacationrentalsdotcome-luray-va

Vacation rental in mountainous Utah. Grand Cabin near Salt Lake City

utahvacationhomesdotcom-grand-cabin

Sapphire Breeze, St John’s USVI

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Coronado Beach Resort, CA, with a beautiful Pacific sunset

coronado-beach-resort

Aviary Cottage, Twin Farms, VT

aviary-cottage-twin-farms-vt

View of late sunset in Colorado Springs, CO

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Dallas, TX skyline, seen from rooftop spa on Hugo street

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View from Battery Park looking across the Hudson River to New Jersey

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Lake Michigan on Chicago’s Miracle Mile – jk, Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort

bora-bora-pearl-beach-resort

I hope you enjoyed my quick visual vacation! Let me know if you go to any of these exotic locales! I’ll be so jealous!

:-)

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa, Hot Tub or Jacuzzi – What’s the Difference?

June 6th, 2014 by

spa-tag-clougOK, class ~ it’s time to define the true meaning of the different types of hot water therapy. There’s some confusion out there, and I have to admit, we tend to throw terms around here somewhat interchangeably.

When people refer to a spa or hot tub or jacuzzi – are they all talking about the same thing, or something different? And what about jetted tubs and whirlpools? There sure are a lot of different monikers used for hot water immersion vessels!

SPA:

According to wikipedia; a Spa is a term associated with water treatment ~ also known as balneotherapy. Spa resorts (including natural hot springs) typically offer various forms of hydrotherapy.

The belief in the curative powers of mineral waters goes back to prehistoric times. Popular worldwide, but are especially loved in Europe and Japan. Day spas are also quite popular in the U.S..portable-spa-

But a spa is also used to refer to the American term for a hot tub that is equipped with strong jets which mix air into the water for a more pronounced massage effect. They can be above ground, like one of our portable spas shown here, or they can be sunk into an indoor floor or outdoor deck, or be a small part of an inground swimming pool, known as a pool and spa combo.

HOT TUB:

According to wikipedia: a Hot Tub is a large tub or small pool full of heated water and used for hydrotherapy or pleasure. Some have jets for massage purposes. Hot tubs are sometimes also known as spas or by the trade name Jacuzzi.

A perfect example of the confusion that exists – a hot tub to me, is not a spa, and certainly not a Jacuzzi. A hot tub is a wooden tub, first of all. hot-tub-woodIf you are talking about a swirly, acryclic finish with molded seats and a million jets, that’s a spa.

A hot tub is a (usually) round wooden tank, with a simple bench seat, and 4-8 jets around the side. Blowers and high speed pumps? Not in my hot tub, thank you. To me, a hot tub is a hot soak, without noisy equipment and turbulent bubbles bouncing me off the seat.

JACUZZI:

Jacuzzi is the name of one of the first and foremost portable spa manufacturers. Like Xerox, the brand name has been used to refer to the entire category of products. Hotels are famous for advertising an in-room Jacuzzi, when it’s a spa made by some other manufacturer. The Jacuzzi family has been fighting such brand dilution for years, to keep from becoming ‘generic’. If it is a Jacuzzi Spa, fine – call it a Jacuzzi. Otherwise call it a Spa, but please – don’t call it a hot tub.

JETTED TUB:

jetted-tubBonus content! A jetted tub is a bathtub, usually installed in the Master Bath, which has several jets around the tub. These are connected to small flexible pipes around the tub fitted to a circulation pump, and often an air blower. Luxury models are quite large and may even include a heater to keep the water that comes out of the tap hot. Fill it up like a normal bathtub and hit a few controls and let Calgon take you away. The main difference between a jetted tub and a spa or hot tub is that it is drained after each use, and for that reason they usually have no spa filter and no need for a spa cover.

WHIRLPOOL BATH:

Now here’s where it gets a little confusing, stay with me – a Whirlpool Bath is a trade name owned by Jacuzzi for their brand of jetted tubs, as in a Jacuzzi Whirlpool Bath for the master bath. Operation is the same as the jetted tub above, and is drained after each use.

THERAPY TUB:

therapy-tubsThese are those stainless steel tubs that you see in the training rooms and locker rooms of athletic facilities, used for loosening up the muscles of tired athletes, or for an ice soak to help prevent inflammation of injuries. These are filled with hot water (or cold water) and sometimes have a circulation pump and electric heater. Larger therapy pools are also used for neck deep, standing physical therapy and low impact exercise.

 

Now, I hope that helps clear up the confusion about what to call your spa, or hot tub, or what the official definitions are for hot water hydrotherapy. For me, I prefer the term “Spa” – but you can call it whatever you want, as long as when you need help with it – you call us!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

Hot Tub Works Sends Spa to International Space Station!

March 31st, 2014 by

international-space-station-really needs a hot tub! - image from wikipedia

Many of our hot tub blog readers know this already, but Jack Stone has been infatuated with space since childhood. He closely followed all of the old Apollo launches, the Space Shuttle, and the growth of the International Space Station.

Jack’s office is covered with commemorative plaques and displays of space – the final frontier. He has signed photographs of him shaking hands with astronauts, and model rockets and ships. He’s really a space enthusiast!

 

That’s why it was no surprise to us when he told us that Hot Tub Works was being chosen to supply the ISS, or the International Space Station, with a hot tub for the astronauts to use during their long stays aboard.

aquarock-fiji-spaWe have partnered with our spa manufacturer AquaRock Spas, who is providing the AquaRock FIJI 40 spa, and HTW will complete the gift with a spa pak, spa cover, spa steps, spa cleaning tools and a 5 year supply of spa chemicals and spa filters. The Fiji 40 spa is a 1-2 person spa, which fit the weight and size restrictions that we had to work with.

One funny thing – Jack had made up these giant Hot Tub Works logos – when he was told that logos are not allowed, except on the chemicals. They don’t want the space station to turn into a product endorsed space laboratory! We also can’t call ourselves “Official Spa Supplier to the International Space Station”, at least not officially.

NCC-1701The original Hot Tubs for Astronauts idea sprang from some Star Trek episodes, (you have to understand that Star Trek is like – a very important cultural phenom for Jack). Anyway, Jack can quote all of the episodes of Star Trek that had some reference to a hot tub, and decided that it was his mission to see to it that the astronauts aboard the ISS had the same conveniences as the crew of the USS Enterprise.

Very soon now, our FIJI spa will be added as payload aboard an upcoming provisioning flight to the space station, and the aches and pains of our international space scientists will be a thing of the past.

iss-logoJack is hopeful that there will be a need for a spa technician to visit the space station in the future, and that they may call on him to grab his tool bag and fly into space. I told him that the astronauts are surely quite capable of fixing any mechanical problems.

At Hot Tub Works, we are proud to partner with NASA to bring the joy of spas and hot tubs to our brave space scientists circling the earth.

Oh, and one more thing ~ Happy April Fool’s Day! You can’t send a spa into space, silly! Did I fool ya?

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

;-)

Exercises for Arthritis in the Hot Tub

March 10th, 2014 by

deviant-art-fibro-myalgia

Arthritis is a painful swelling and stiffness in the joints. The human body contains over 350 joints between bones, large and small. Arthritis pain is most common in hands, feet, knees and back, but can also flare up in other parts of the body.

Over 20% of the US population have some form of arthritis or other related rheumatic disease. Of these, over 60% are women, particularly women over 40 years of age.

I count myself among these sufferers – having mild arthritic pain in my knees, ankles and fingers. On most days, it’s hardly noticeable – but then there are those days – when I’m not taking care of myself – too much stress, and not enough exercise and eating right.

Exercises for Arthritis

The hot tub is the perfect place for soothing relief from arthritis pain. Warm water increases blood flow to reduce painful swelling, and improves range of motion as the muscles relax. The water’s buoyancy makes exercise easier and makes injury less likely.

Range of Motion Exercises

wrist-flexionOne of the side effects of Arthritis is limited mobility in the joints. This condition worsens without exercises to move the joints through their full range of motion. Wrist, ankle, knee, fingers – just about any joint in the body can improve flexibility and range of motion with some simple flexion and extension.

These exercises are best done slowly and rhythmically, in sets of 5 or 10 motions. With practice, you should be able to increase the range of motion, but be careful not to over-extend your joints. Take it slow and steady, for a short duration of 5-15 minutes.

Stretching Exercises

There’s a lot of stretching involved in range of motion exercises, but greater benefit and relief to arthritis symptoms can be gained by actively stretching the muscles and ligaments that connect the joints. For instance, if your pain is primarily in the knee, devise some easy stretches for calf and thigh muscles.hot-tub-yoga-

Yoga moves can be incorporated into your stretching routine. Some of my favorite yoga poses to do in the spa are listed on Gina’s blog post about Hot Tub Yoga. If you are familiar with Tai Chi – a warm water spa is an ideal place to practice your moves!

Breathing Exercises

lungsTake it easy, and remember to breath deeply during range of motion and stretching exercises, just as during any other type of exercise. I like to imagine that I am drawing the air directly to the body area that I’m exercising.

For myself, I typically practice a few full yogic breaths before and after I stretch. I place my hands behind my head and first breath deeply into my belly for a 4-count, then open up the sides of my rib cage for 5-6, and then fill my upper chest as I count 7-8. Then a slow 8-count exhale in the opposite direction (chest-ribs-belly).

 

Other Thoughts on Hot Tub Exercises for Arthritis

  • Warm – Not Hot! The Arthritis Foundation recommends warm water of 92-100 degrees.
  • Consult your physician before beginning any program of physical exercise.
  • Buddy-Up! Don’t use the spa alone, or have someone keep an eye on you.
  • Limit your spa sessions to 30 minutes maximum.
  • Fluids! Drink water or juice before, during and after hot tub exercise.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works