The annual Gallup survey report (2007) has shown that stress has become more prevalent in North America than ever before: “more than 3 out of 4 Americans say they sometimes experience stress in their daily life, including roughly 4 out of 10 who experience it frequently.
A study by San Diego State University has determined that stress is considered a probable catalyst for a number of other medical issues including anxiety, nausea, depression, sleeplessness, and headaches. Both these studies have also indicated that teens and adults alike are experiencing high levels of stress like never before, and have become susceptible to a multitude of symptoms and disorders.
Many of these conditions have both emotional and physical manifestations and can be treated with a combination of prescribed medication and talk therapy.
Two studies have determined that hydrotherapy can help prevent and treat some of these manifestations caused by stress.
Studies in Korea from Kwandong University and Jeju National University demonstrated that “after a two-week whirlpool treatment, [participants] revealed significant improvement in anxiety levels, as well as in pain.” Other studies from East Carolina University have shown positive effects of warm water hydrotherapy for pregnant women in labour in reducing anxiety levels: “Hydrotherapy was associated with decreases in anxiety” and were able to conclude that “immersion is also associated with decreases in neuroendocrine responses (e.g., levels of cortisol and catecholamines) in healthy adults.
Ultimately, these findings further solidify the benefits of warm water and hydrotherapy on stress and mental illness. When the body is immersed in water a number of things happen. The physical impact of gravity is immediately relieved as we become almost weightless. Body temperature increases and blood flow starts to increase, bringing oxygen to all our organs and tissue more easily.
Our breathing relaxes, creating a calming effect. Once feeling more at ease and enjoying the physical experience, increased levels of “happy hormones” like serotonin and dopamine are produced in our brains, and decreases in “stress hormones” as cortisol and epinephrine occur. This can help treat both the emotional and physical symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
In conclusion, stress can be prevented and managed naturally using warm water therapy in a Jacuzzi® Hot Tub, thus potentially preventing other more serious conditions.