Hot Water, healing and Heart Health
Hot Water & healing:
As we experience life, we often feel pain and sore muscles and joints. Healing happens faster as blood flow to the injured location increases. When we perform light exercise, our muscles are often less sore. This is because exercise increases blood flow, therefore improving healing. Immersion in all temperatures of water has been used expansively to encourage the healing of wounds and injuries. The positive results associated with water immersion have been noted in the healing of wounds, muscle and joint injuries.
There are several ways in which hot water immersion promotes healing:
Immersion increases circulation. When muscles are warmed and the body immersed, the blood supply to the muscles increases. More blood flow means more nutrients are available to help cells regenerate to hurry the healing process and the blood circulation helps remove pain causing chemicals that build up in tissues. As a consequence, muscle pain goes away faster.
When our bodies are immersed, water exerts pressure on our body. This increased pressure tends to reduce swelling.
Immersion in water diminishes the amount of weight we bear on our joints due to gravity meaning we feel lighter in water. Activities we may find painful on land are easier in water. The water provides resistance to movements which increases depending on how fast we move against the water. Various studies show the increased range of motion and decreased pain when therapeutic exercise is performed under water.
Water plays a useful role for people who suffer from arthritis, knee, hip, or other joint problems. Immersion in warm water tends to reduce joint stiffness and increase joint mobility, flexibility and range of motion, which is often experienced by those with lower back pain and arthritis.
Performing therapy in water is often less painful and can lead to a faster and longer lasting recovery. As a result water is commonly used in physical therapy and rehabilitation. An environment which is less prone to cause pain, and is even pleasurable, makes immersion in water a unique healing environment.
Hot Water & Heart Health:
When a person is immersed in warm water the heart works harder and more efficiently. Arteries and veins dilate to carry more blood which causes the blood to move more easily through the body and circulation may be improved.
Our hearts pump blood through our arteries and veins to all parts of the body, the veins and arteries expand & contract depending on the volume of blood being pumped. Blood circulates oxygen & nutrients throughout the body and carries waste away from cells. When we exert ourselves or we exercise, our hearts pump faster and stretch to pump more blood per stroke in order to transport needed oxygen & nutrients throughout the body. When we exercise, our hearts adjust in two ways to make sure we get enough oxygen and nutrients to where they are needed. First, the heart beats faster: this is called our heart or pulse rate. Second, the heart stretches to pump more blood with every stroke; the amount of blood that the heart pumps in each beat, or stroke, is called our stroke volume.
When we get in water, our heart stretches as it does during exercise, even if we are just soaking in the water. The reason this happens is because during immersion the water exerts pressure on all parts of the body, including the arteries and veins. The pressure of the water on our arms and legs pushes blood toward the chest cavity, increasing blood flow to the heart by approximately a third. Since more blood is being pushed to our heart it adjusts by stretching.
When we are in the water our heart pumps more blood per beat and so our pulse rate may increase or decrease depending on the temperature of the water and whether or not we are exerting ourselves. Although the veins and arteries are being compressed from the water pressure, they must also adjust to the higher output from the heart. The arteries expand, working against the water pressure to allow higher blood volume to move throughout the body.
Most people see their blood pressure go down when they are immersed in warm water for a period of time and studies have in fact shown that people suffering from high blood pressure used a hot tub with no ill effects and their blood pressure went down temporarily and their heart rate increased.
Soaking in warm water regularly, whether it is a bath, natural hot spring, or hot tub, shouldnt be considered an extravagance. The reality is, soaking in warm or hot water can make a big difference in your health and daily living.
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