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  • Writer's pictureHaley

Hot Water Immersion Therapy: Help Manage Diabetes

Find out how a nightly soak in a Hydropool North West Hot Tub can improve your daily life with Type 2 Diabetes.


We are all aware that taking a nice long soak in warm water can ease muscle injuries, joint pain, headaches. It can relieve stress, seasonal colds, or sport related injuries. In fact, this form of naturopathy has been used for centuries. Bath House Culture is common across the globe from Japanese Onsen to Korean Jimjilbang, Turkish Hammam to Iceland’s Hot Springs. But what about other ailments or illnesses? If simply relaxing in a hot tub can help musculoskeletal problems, why not other parts of the body? In this article we’re going to take a look at how a hot tub or swim spa can help with Type 2 Diabetes in particular.


WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you are already aware of what diabetes is, and the effect it has on everyday life, whether it be you or a loved one. If so, feel free to skip this section but, if you’re unaware of exactly what diabetes is, this part is for you.


When we eat, our body breaks down carbohydrates in our food into glucose, this glucose enters our blood stream, where insulin (a hormone created by the pancreas) signals your body to absorb glucose and use it as energy.


Type 2 Diabetes is a condition where the pancreas creates insufficient or insufficient insulin, or the body does not respond correctly to insulin. Without insulin, the glucose cannot be absorbed, and blood glucose (sugar) levels rise above that which is normal.


Over a long period of time, type 2 diabetes can worsen, as unregulated high blood sugar levels can put strain on the pancreas to create more insulin than is capable. This can damage the pancreas, leading to less insulin, leading to even higher blood sugar levels.


The following video by Diabetes UK explains the above, and also breaks down the symptoms and risks of having diabetes.


In 2017, around 60 million adults were thought to have Type 2 Diabetes in Europe alone, half of which would have been undiagnosed, and by 2045, it is predicted that upwards of 600 million people will develop the illness worldwide. (Consentino 2019).


HOW CAN A SWIM SPA OR HOT TUB HELP?

Starting at the basics: fitness. Increased daily physical activity is highly recommended as a method of reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and as a complementary method of managing the illness (Consentino 2019).


High activity can help reduce glucose levels within the blood and even do this up to 24 hours after the period of exercise. Muscle contractions during activities, such as exercise, swimming or hydrotherapy can help cells take up glucose, even without the need of insulin. (American Diabetes 2022) Additionally, in the long run increased activity and exercise can also increase insulin sensitivity which further improves managing diabetes type two.


Hydropool Swim Spas are perfect as a flexible, and scalable method of exercise. They can be used for both swimming and water aerobics, varying levels of intensity to suit the user. The weightlessness of water can help users who are inexperienced or struggle with high intensity exercise due to aching joints or muscles. And the privacy of your own personal Swim Spa means that you can exercise any time day or night without feeling self-conscious like public pools or gyms can make you feel.


Diabetes can be closely linked to cardiovascular disease, and is the leading cause of death in people with diabetes. Increased exercise can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and risk of heart attack (John Hopkins 2022).


If exercise cannot be implemented, hot water immersion can provide relief in itself. Along with reducing risk related to inflammation and cardiovascular disease, passively increasing body temperature in a hot tub can lower traditional markers, such as fasting glucose or insulin, associated with Type 2 Diabetes after 2-3 weeks. It is suggested that hot water immersion can cause changes in visceral blood flow’s impact on the concentration of gut hormones. As a result, stimulating or inhibiting insulin secretion can directly protect against hypoglycaemia. This suggestion does not have sufficient studies to be proven, but data shows it is likely possible, or at the least helps symptoms (Leicht 2019). In the associated study by Leicht, James, Briscoe, & Hoekstra, a pronounced increase in blood glucose concentration was observed during the oral glucose tolerance test subsequent to the hot water immersion compared with seated rest at room temperature. This change in glycemic control may be explained by stress hormone residuals, which elevate following hot water immersion.

Carmen, a Hydropool user with Type 1 Diabetes, documents his journey with how and why his hot tub has become a daily fixture in his life in the video below:


SOURCES
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