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New Obesity Treatment? Study Eyes Hot Tubs for Overweight Women

As everyone knows, when it comes to losing weight, no magic pill can replace the age-old solution of fewer calories PLUS more activity. However, a recent obesity treatment study has shown that soaking in a hot tub affects the body in some of the same ways that aerobic exercise does. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure, and improve other health markers, all while indulging in your favorite relaxing activity? Now, it appears that, with your doctor’s approval, hot-tubbing could be a vital part of your weight loss regimen.

The Study

Conducted by the University of Oregon, the study found evidence that consistent hot tub use can be an effective obesity treatment. Six obese women participated in the research study over an 8-week period. Each woman soaked in the hot tub for at least one hour, 3-4 times every week. At the beginning and end of the study, researchers analyzed fat samples and they tested insulin sensitivity for four of the women.  

Lower Risks of Obesity-Related Illness

All six women showed an improvement in fasting glucose, which indicates a reduced risk of developing diabetes. They each had a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure. Both of those markers show a reduced risk of heart disease. Remarkably, the study showed that a hot tub soak produced some of the same health benefits as aerobic exercise. When you sit in a hot tub, the water and heat raises your body temperature and increases blood flow – just like aerobic exercise.

Brett Romano Ely, a doctoral candidate who conducted the study said, “We see blood flow patterns in subjects in the hot tub that look like what we see in subjects during aerobic exercise.” 

Symptom Relief for Women Suffering from PCOS

The study also found improvements in the fat tissue samples, including less inflammation. According to the study, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may especially find symptom relief by soaking in a hot tub. PCOS, which is more common in overweight women, causes abnormal menstrual cycles and ovarian cysts, among other symptoms. Throughout the study, some of the women reported that their menstrual cycles improved in regularity. 

As they soaked in the hot tub, the increased heat created more heat shock proteins in their bodies. Heat shock proteins reduce inflammation in the body. The study suggests that reduced inflammation is responsible for an improvement in PCOS pain and symptoms. 

“Our findings are exciting because repeated heat exposure appears to reverse some of the inflammation in fat that may be causing metabolic health impairment in this population,” said Ely.

This exciting study is just more evidence of how beneficial heat- and hydro-therapy from regular hot tub use can be! Before you adopt hot-tubbing as part of your weight loss journey, please consult your doctor. Our high elevation can increase heat-therapy risks for some obese people, so follow your physician’s recommendations for hot tub use. 

Interested in learning more about the health benefits of using a hot tub? Click here to read more!

Study Source: Experimental Biology, April 24, 2018