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Home » What is a Hot Tub, How It Works and Benefits!

What is a Hot Tub, How It Works and Benefits!

what is a hot tub

Wondering what a hot tub is?. Great!. You have come to the right place. In this guide, you can expect to learn the following:

  • What a hot tub is
  • How does a hot tub work?
  • The main components of  a hot tub
  • Benefits of using a hot tub
  • What is the difference between a hot tub and a Jacuzzi?
  • And more…

what is a hot tub

The use of heated water as a health and relaxation aid is not a new concept. Cultures have used hot springs( bodies of water heated by geothermal forces) as bathing and gathering spots for millennia.

Today, these man-made hot tubs and spas are created with inspiration from these natural springs.

Ancient cultures were known to make use of natural hot springs, from Japanese “onsen” since at least 737 A.D. to the Roman thermal springs and bathhouses.

When hot springs were not available, past cultures developed rudimentary hot tubs by adding heated stones to a cauldron of water.

The practice of bathing was so engrained that the Roman legions, during their long occupations in foreign lands, built their own baths at mineral and thermal springs in the newly conquered lands. Examples are found all over Europe.

In the 1940s hot tubs began to appear in the US, inspired by the Japanese ofuro. Hydrotherapy pumps were introduced by Jacuzzi. Fiberglass shell hot tubs appeared around 1970 and were soon superseded by cast acrylic shells.

What Really is a Hot Tub and How Does It Work?

A hot tub is normally used to refer to an above-ground spa. A hot tub or a spa is a completely self-contained vessel, and the hot water and jets provide a pleasurable soaking experience for the users.

A hot tub is a large tub full of water that is used for hydrotherapy, relaxation or pleasure. A hot tub is designed to be used by more than one person at a time, with many models accomodating four or more people.

Generally, hot tubs are located outdoors, although they can also be installed indoors if you desire.

While there are different brands and models of hot tubs in the market today, their essential operation remains the same. They have pretty much the same mechanical construction that allows water containment and the basic operations such as heating is the same.

How Does a Hot Tub Work?

Before we get into how a hot tub really works, let’s familiarize ourselves with the different parts of a hot tub that makes it work properly.

Parts of a Hot Tube

Below are the various components of a hot tub and their functions. Once we get the parts and their functions right, basically, we would have understood how a hot tub works.

parts of a hot tub

The Shell

The shell contains the water, has various seats in its mold, and provides mounting points for the jets. It is the inner hot tub surface that is typically made of acrylic or another weather and chemical-resistant thermoplastic.

The shell can withhold the weight of the water, bathers, and other equipment without breaking because it’s always reinforced or supported with fiberglass backing or high-density polyurethane foam, or some combination of the two.


This part plays two roles. Firstly, it provides structural support for the shell and equipment and lastly, it also hides the less appealing equipment like the pumps, plumbing, and heaters behind stylish doors. Older hot tubs used to have wooden cabinets, but today, cabinets are made from weather-resistant polymer and are extremely easy to maintain.

Jets or Hydro Jets

The jets are responsible for the powerful bubbles that massage your body and help relieve muscle soreness. They are like nozzles and the air that is drawn through a constricted section of it creates a pressurized venturi effect.
Now the water stream that is generated through the pump now mixes with the air and together, they create soothing and massaging bubbles that can be controlled by the user.


The pumps are responsible for circulating the water in and out of the hot tub, filtering and operating the jets.

The pump has two speeds: the low speed for filtering mostly heating and the high speed for operating the jets. The speed operation is controlled by the spa pack based on the thermostat and time clock, if one is present.

The high-speed operation is controlled by a spa pack air button, which allows for high-pressure steams in the jets.


Some older hot tubs may use special air blowers to create additional bubbles in the water. These can be used instead of or in addition to the typical air jets, although their use dramatically increases electrical consumption, and hence cost of ownership.

Spa Pack
The spa pack contains two unite; the controller and heater. The purpose of the controller is to allow the filter, pump, heater, and jets to efficiently provide the functions of filtering, heating, and water jets.
On the other hand, the heater part heats the water each time it circulates through the heater for a certain amount of time.
The spa pack also controls the lights or provides power for the Ozonator (water cleaning mechanism).
Filters/ Sanitation System
The filters and water care sanitizers are critical to keeping your hot tub clean and your water clear.
For optimal results, you need to know and follow your hot tub maintenance instruction and schedule to keep it running effectively.
The filters are usually located in a designated filter area accessible from the top of the hot tub itself and consist of one or more screw-in filters with a strainer or skimmer.
Hot Tube Lighting
Today’s hot tubs have so many beautiful lighting options, with controls conveniently located on the air button on the top surface of the tub.
From incandescent lights to energy-saving LED lights in a variety of stunning colors with preset programs, you can surely set up your hot tub to deliver you the ultimate relaxing environment.
The Ozonator is usually controlled by the spa pack and it is generally turned on whenever the low-speed pump is operating.
its function is similar to that of the chlorine or bromine systems. It helps prevent organic material growth with a special light injected into the spa through a venturi.
While this is effective for helping the hot tub clean, it is still important to add chemicals for proper sanitation.

Topside or Spa Side Control

The control pad allows the bathers to change the water temperature from inside or outside the hot tub. The control also lets the user control the pumps, lights, or blowers.

Equipment Area or Access Door

This may differ slightly between different hot tub models. The manual will generally indicate where this area is to have an idea of where the plumbing and parts are located.

With the basic parts of the hot tube explained above, I am sure you have a pretty good idea of how a hot tub works.

Benefits of Using a Hot Tub

A high-quality hot tub can improve your life in ways you may not have considered before.
Hot tubs bring your family closer together, and also give you a reason to invite your friends and neighbors over for a visit.
Hot tubs help you connect with nature and the world around you. Here are some of the benefits of using a hot tub.

Relief Stress

Stress is a result of muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, and soreness.  Taking a regular hot tub regularly can relieve you of tension and stress.

The buoyancy eases pressure in joints and muscles, while heat increases blood flow to muscles and promote rapid healing.

Furthermore, hot tub jets provide therapeutic massage, stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkiller.

Relief from Symptoms of Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis is a common yet painful sickness that is characterized by joint pain, swelling, accompanied by a decreased range of motion.

Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder that can cause widespread pain throughout the body, occurs when a person’s own immune system mistakenly attacks their joints, resulting in swelling and stiffness.

These conditions can cause chronic pain and reduce the quality of life.

Improved Sleep

According to research, the simple relaxation gained from a soak in the hot tub may be enough to help you drift into a more peaceful sleep.

Two different studies performed by a studTrusted Source have proven to improve sleep in people with insomnia and fibromyalgia.

The first was done by using passive body heating as a treatment for insomnia in older adults. Though the study was small and subjective, it was found that hot baths promoted significant deeper and more restful sleep.

The second was performed in 2012 to look at the effects of hydrotherapy on physical function and sleep quality for people with fibromyalgia.

It was done on a small number of females between the ages of 30 and 65.  That research concluded that hydrotherapy helped improve sleep quality along with other symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Lower Blood Pressure

A study has shown that relaxing in a hot tub can be beneficial for heart disease patients. The study showed that relaxing in a hot tub was less stressful on the heart.

It also confirmed that soaking in the hot tub for as little as 15 minutes will lower blood pressure.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Some researchers hypothesizeTrusted Source that regular thermal therapy using saunas or hot baths may improve impaired insulin sensitivity and be beneficial for managing diabetes.

Additionally, a 2015 reviewTrusted Source found that sauna and hot tub therapy may benefit people with obesity and diabetes.

Promotes Weight Loss

In clinical studies patients who used hot tubs lost an average of 3.5 pounds in weight without any new diet or physical exercise programs.

In short, the weight loss resulted from the hot water massage simulating the effects of exercise, on the muscles.

What is the Difference Between a Hot Tub and a Jacuzzi?

As already established above on what a hot tub is, a Jacuzzi simply is a trademarked brand of ho tubs, bath products, and pool equipment. So basically, just as some refer to every brand of toothpaste as Pepsodent, the same way people refer to any hot tub or spa as Jacuzzi.

Jacuzzi’s company history can be traced back to the mid-20th century when the Jacuzzi brothers invented an underwater pump that could be used to relieve pain in arthritis patients.

They soon created a tub with a built-in jet whirlpool, which took off in popularity. In just a few years’ time, Jacuzzi became a household name and was quickly used to refer to any and all hot tubs, however incorrectly.

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