Hot Tubs have changed a lot in the time since the first human (or the first primate!) got the idea to hang out in a hot spring. Instead of depending on Mother Nature, humans now have all sorts of technology to make our own hot springs right in our own homes. While today’s hot tubs seem quite modern, the idea of bathing in hot water has been around for centuries!
Many cultures used hot baths simply for the purpose of cleanliness, although this fell by the wayside during the Middle Ages in Europe, as the church viewed baths as leading to sinful behaviour! During the Renaissance, public baths were viewed as a source of contagion and illness, and probably were, given the lack of chlorination and other sanitation procedures. The social aspects of hot tubs were often more important than any hygienic benefits, and led to their popularity in Ancient Greece and Rome, as well as various cultures across the globe. From Japan to Finland, and many places in between, hot baths have been hugely popular at one point or another.
The therapeutic and medicinal benefits of hot tubs were highly regarded and widely studied, from the Ancient Egyptians onward. Hippocrates viewed bathing as a beneficial practice for the treatment of most diseases, and the Romans embraced this concept, placing great value on the healing properties of baths. In 16th century Italy, 78 medical conditions were thought to benefit from the use of therapeutic baths! From Italy, the popularity of baths spread across Europe, and in the 1950s spread to America when the Jacuzzi brothers had the idea of treating the symptoms of arthritis with hot water. By 1968, the Jacuzzi family began marketing the hot tub as we know it today, complete with jets!
Whether or not soaking in a hot tub will actually help 78 medical conditions, it can’t hurt to kick back and relax now and then!