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Can Soaking in a Hot Tub Help with Type 2 Diabetes?

Hot Tub Help with Type 2 Diabetes

Your hot tub can be used for so much more than just pleasure. While enjoying a good soak in the warm, churning waters can be relaxing and help you de-stress after a hard day, there are many other health benefits to be found with regularly soaks in the hot tub. While it is common knowledge that a nice long soak in a hot tub can do wonders for sore muscles, joints, and other athletic related injuries, there are many other conditions that people can suffer that a hot tub can help treat.

Type 2 diabetes has become a growing across the United States in recent years. According to the American Diabetes Association, currently, there are over 29 million Americans dealing with diabetes each and every day with more and more Americans being diagnosed every day. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, accounting for 90% of the cases that are diagnosed.

Learning to manage type 2 diabetes is the key to living a normal, healthy life but people suffering from the disease should learn all of the available treatment options available to them to help them manage their blood sugar levels properly to ensure optimal health. One treatment that all diabetics should consider is hot tub therapy.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Unlike people that suffer from type 1 diabetes, the bodies of people with type 2 diabetes actually make insulin, but they either do not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin produced well enough to be effective. This is known as insulin resistance. If there is not enough insulin in the body, glucose can’t enter the body’s cells. When this happens, the cells cannot get the glucose they need to function correctly.

A build up of glucose in the blood can also lead to many other problems. These can include:

  • Dehydration
  • Damage to the body
  • Diabetic coma

While anyone can get type 2 diabetes, there are those that are at a higher risk of developing the disorder. These include:

  • Adults over 45
  • People who are overweight or obese
  • Patients who have a family history of diabetes
  • People who suffer from high blood pressure
  • Individuals that lead a sedentary lifestyle
  • Some members of specific races

However, you may not be a part of any of these groups and still develop it. If you do, it is important to control it to maintain a healthy life.

How to Lose Weight in a Hot Tub

Imagine following a simple diet (lifestyle), doing some easy yoga poses and actually lose weight in a hot tub. What could be easier?

Conventional Control Methods

Unfortunately, there is no magic cure to make your body start using insulin again. The key to successful treatment of diabetes is through day to day management of the disease.

There are many conventional methods that you must use to control the disease once you receive your diagnosis. These include:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Medication

Managing the disease is often a challenge in the beginning. Diabetics must first alter their diet and remove anything that is full of sugar out of it. In addition, they must strive to eat healthier overall and eliminate fast food and processed foods as well. Exercise has been shown to be very effective in aiding in the control of blood sugar levels as well and can be challenging for those that aren’t used to working up a sweat. Finally, the standard treatment for diabetes involves either an oral medication to lower blood sugar or the use of insulin that must be injected every single day. Diabetics must be dedicated to taking these medications if they want to control their disease.

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Hot Tub Therapy

On top of the conventional treatments mentioned above, there are other treatments you can use to help control the disorder. Recent studies have shown that a daily soak for about 30 minutes in a hot tub can help lower blood sugar levels in diabetes patients and have even helped some patients lower the amount of medication they must take.

In study performed by Philip L. Hooper, MD, of the McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colorado and published in The New England Journal of Medicine, hot tub therapy helped a group of people suffering from type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar levels, lose weight and improve their sleep patterns.

With a temperature in the hot tub set as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the type 2 subjects sat in the hot tub with the water up to their shoulders for 30 minutes per day, six days a week for three weeks. After three weeks, the patients average blood glucose levels were lowered from 182 mg/dl to 159 mg/dl and the subjects had lost an average of 3.75 pounds.

So why does this work? According to researchers, the reason a soak in the hot tub is so effective is that it improves your heart rate and circulation and actually mimics a rigorous exercise routine. In addition, Hooper also believes that heat plays an important function as well.

Is it Safe?

One of the biggest concerns diabetics have is safety when using a hot tub. Most diabetics suffer from numbness in their feet due to nerve damage and don’t realize when they are being burned.  Fortunately, most hot tubs won’t allow the temperature to get so hot you could actually be burned. However, if you are concerned, be sure to purchase and use a thermometer in your hot tub at all times.

The other danger that must be considered is the risk of blood sugar dropping too low. If you have just taken your medication and then jump into the hot tub, your blood sugar could drop much more quickly presenting a different set of dangers. It is best to schedule your hot tub soaks either before you have taken your medication or some time after you have taken it to be sure your blood sugar doesn’t plummet unexpectedly.

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Hot tubs can provide a great alternative treatment to people suffering from type 2 diabetes and can help them reduce their blood glucose levels in their body if used on a regular basis. However, it’s important to take the proper safety precautions before using a hot tub to be sure you don’t get burned or your sugar doesn’t drop too low. Overall though a hot tub is a great way to add the benefits of exercise to your control methods and it’s fun too. So why not enjoy a nice relaxing soak in a hot tub that will relieve stress, make you feel better and lower your blood sugar at the same time?

Happy Soaking!

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Last Updated: Thursday, June 4th, 2015