Conquer the Winter Blues with Hydrotherapy At Home

Exercise and relaxation can lift your spirits during the long winter months. Hydrotherapy is a centuries-old method used to improve  mental and physical well-being — the CDC reports that water exercise is beneficial for people with chronic conditions such as arthritis as well as for mood and mental health.

But, getting out to the gym or to the spa can be a struggle to schedule. Recently, there have been many closures and changes due to the pandemic, or those icy cold mornings can make it hard to get out in the morning. This year, skip the gym membership and create your own at-home workout and spa space with a swim spa or hot tub. A hot tub or swim spa can upgrade your backyard or finished basement space, to make relaxing and exercising easy for the whole family. Here are tips for creating your own home gym and spa:

Select Your Vessel

Is a hot tub or swim spa better suited to your wellness needs? A hot tub is optimal for hydrotherapy, with high temperatures and jets that can help with stress relief and muscle relaxation. You can also do light workouts in the hot tub, but if exercise is your goal, a swim spa may be the right choice. Swim spas are larger, allowing for more movement like lunges, rowing, aerobics, crunches, and even swimming laps.

You’ll need to consider the location, maintenance plan, and budget before making your choice and building your space. Read here for more information about hot tubs and swim spas, and how to decide what’s right for you.

Build A Workout Plan

If you’re not already into water aerobics or swimming laps at your local pool, find which exercises are right for you to meet your goals. For your home gym or spa time, set a schedule for your workouts so you can prepare the hot tub or swim spa, like heating up the hot tub in the morning for exercise and again in the evening for a soak. Picking days and times will help keep you on track and on schedule, to get the most physical and mental benefit.

Create Ambiance

Create a calming space for your at-home spa days. Set up lighting around your hot tub or swim spa, you can add outdoor lights or maybe colored lighting inside the vessel. Add scented candles in the room – away from the hot tub – or an essential oil diffuser. Make sure to find a space to store the equipment you need, such as noodles or weights for swim spa workouts and towels and a hamper nearby.

Keep the It Clean and Ready for Anything

Hot tub water and sweat from swimming laps in a swim spa can make cleaning and maintenance a challenge. The chemicals need to be balanced regularly to prevent bacteria that can cause hot tub rash. Technology can make managing a home gym or spa easy: The pHin Smart Water Monitor helps you keep water in balance by taking measurements, sending alerts, and guiding you through custom chemical dosing instructions.

Learn more about pHin at

Hot Tub or Swim Spa, What’s the Difference?

Are you looking to upgrade your backyard for entertaining and relaxing this winter? A hot tub or swim spa might be the perfect addition to your home!

Many homeowners assume hot tubs and swim spas are similar, but there are different benefits to each system. The pHin experts share factors to consider before deciding between a hot tub or a swim spa for your backyard oasis.

  1. Purpose for Purchase

Are you looking for a new place to relax or a space to entertain and exercise? Hot tubs are designed with seating and jet placement for optimal relaxation and recovery. Whether you’re feeling stressed or you’re looking for muscle relief after a tough workout, hot tubs are a great place for practicing hydrotherapy. Soaking in warm hot tub water helps loosen tense muscles and stimulates blood supply to various organs in the body.

Swim spas, on the other hand, are more spacious and are a better fit for people who are looking for a place to exercise with more space to move around, you can even swim in a swim spa.  Exercising in swim spa water has many benefits. The resistance from the water will result in more calories burned and aquatic exercises are low impact taking pressure off joints which is ideal for users recovering from an injury or are concerned about potential injury risk. Swim spas are larger than hot tubs making them a good spot for hosting a larger group of friends or family.

  1. Location, Location, Location

Before you make a purchase, start planning the new home for your hot tub or swim spa. The space available inside or in your backyard can determine which system is the best for your home. Are you looking to put the system in the yard or on your deck? Hot tubs are more compact, they can fit on a deck or in a small yard, whereas swim spas are longer and require a larger area. For reference, most swim spas are around 180 inches long and 90 inches wide whereas the average size of a hot tub is about 84 inches long and 84 inches wide. You may also want to consider placement in terms of trees, to allocate enough space with the least amount of possible debris getting into the water.

  1. Maintenance

Because they’re larger, swim spa maintenance is generally more complex than hot tub maintenance. Measuring, chemicals, and dosing can be a challenge but pHin is here to help! The pHin Smart Water Monitor floats in your hot tub or swim spa, measuring the water over 1,000 times per week If the water gets out of balance, pHin will notify you in the app and give you instructions to correct it. You could also ask pHin (or Alexa) for the temperature of your hot tub or swim spa water before heading out for a dip. Whether you’re maintaining hot tub or swim spa water, it can be frustrating when you go out for a post-workout soak or you’re prepping for a night with friends and the water isn’t at the right temperature. This pHin user shares how pHin helped him get his hot tub relaxation ready.

  1. Budget

Once you have a set budget, consider the size of the vessel. Swim spas tend to be more expensive than hot tubs because they are generally larger in size with more features including swim current and high-powered jetting systems. Or, a basic hot tub might suit your needs, and can be more economical.

Before you purchase a new hot tub or swim spa, consider which system is the best solution for your family. Swim spas may suit a family who is looking for a place to get active, go for a swim, and entertain groups of family and friends and hot tubs are a good solution for those who want a place to relax and loosen muscle tension. Make the most of your swim spa or hot tub with the help of pHin.

The Buddy System! Why Every Hot Tub Needs a pHin

Hot tubs make a great addition to a home or backyard, whether for warming up on a cool winter night or taking a soak after a tough workout. Among the benefits of owning your own at-home spa, a hot tub can be challenging to maintain. Hot tub rash is real, and chemicals need to be added in exact doses for balanced water. Not to mention, worrying about whether or not the water is safe and balanced can take the relaxation out of your daily soak.

Maximize your hot tub relaxation time with the smart water monitor that can remove your worry about hot tub water! Every hot tub needs a pHin Smart Water Monitor to get the most benefits, here’s why:

Real-Time Temperature Status

There’s nothing worse than having your hot tub soak delayed because the water’s too cold. With pHin, you can simply check the app or ask Alexa about the temperature of your water, so you can see if the heater needs a boost before you go in.

Avoid Hot Tub Rash

Hot tub rash can be caused by poorly maintained water, according to the CDC. Keeping the water in balance is important to avoiding it and it can be hard to know which contaminants are causing the issue. pHin measures the water over 1,000 times per week and will notify you immediately if the water isn’t balanced, with a color-coded guide. A blue disc indicates your water is safe, balanced and ready to use.  An orange disc means your water is still safe to enter but needs some attention while a red disc appears when you should avoid the unsafe water.

Chemistry Support

Chemistry can be confusing, and hot tub owners need to pay close attention to their water to keep it safe. Understanding chemical dosing is a challenge. pHin uses built-in analytics to calculate dosing instructions, so users can simply follow the instructions in the app to balance their water.

With balanced water, hot tubs are great for relaxing, soothing sore muscles, and warming you up in cool weather.

Jumping from the Hot Tub to the Pool: Should You Do It?

It can be really tempting to jump into the pool to cool off after relaxing in the hot tub. But, is it safe?

Hopping from hot to cold water can offer health benefits. It’s called contrast bath therapy and is commonly used to treat muscle strains or pulls.

Why Use Contrast Bath Therapy?

Shocking your body by jumping from hot to cold water improves circulation. It can jump start your body and make you alert, whether at the start of the day or after a long day of work. Contrast bath therapy can also be beneficial before a workout, to help get your body going before a run or trip to the gym, which can decrease the likelihood for strains and other muscle related injuries. In addition to the physical benefits, contrast bath therapy can support mental health with stress relief.

Is Contrast Bath Therapy Right for You?

Before trying contrast bath therapy, you should consult with your doctor. It might not be right for you if you have cardiovascular or other underlying health issues. If you are coming off of a fresh new injury and you notice severe swelling, the injury might be serious and you should discuss the injury with a medical professional before you decide to treat it with contrast bath therapy at home.

To practice contrast bath therapy, your pool and hot tub water must be safe for swimming and soaking. If the water balance is off, pools and hot tub can become dangerous, and pose health risks. Hot tub owners also need keep an eye on the temperature of the water, so it’s not too hot for a soak. The pHin Smart Water Monitor will help you make sure your pool and hot tub are safe places for practicing contrast bath therapy. pHin floats in the water monitoring temperature, sanitizer, and pH 24/7 while providing real-time smartphone alerts when the water needs attention.

Make sure your water is safe before you start contrast bath therapy with the help of pHin!

Stuck at home? Stay Fit and Sane with your Pool or Hot Tub

Communities are encouraging everyone to stay at home amid coronavirus concerns. While families are staying in, their pool or hot tub can help maintain sanity and offer fitness benefits as well.

The CDC has advised that “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs.” If school, work, and the gym are closed, a pool or hot tub can help families stay fit and have fun as long as the water is properly cared for. Here are some ideas from the pHin team:

#1: Schedule Workouts

Don’t let the shutdown stop your workout routine – make your pool your home gym! Set a schedule for swimming; it’s a low-impact, full-body workout that improves muscle tone, cardiovascular health, and overall energy. You could also try water aerobics if laps aren’t your thing.

#2: Hot Tub Therapy

Whether you’re stressed or need some muscle relief from the tension of sitting at a home office all day, a hot tub can help. Astudy from Healthline showed that warm water can help reduce the hormones related to stress. When you’re soaking in a hot tub, leave your phone behind and focus on the warm water and massaging jets. Read more benefits of a hot tub here.

#3: Fun and Games

If you’re staying home with your family, keep them entertained with pool games. Country Living recommends inflatable Tic-Tac-Toe, Number Basketball, and pool noodle races. If you have a hot tub, try water cards, or water battleship. In water battleship, you’ll need two cups: Take turns pouring water into the empty cup. Take five-second intervals in between each player – the person who sinks the cup loses.

Stressed about keeping your water healthy? pHin is here to help. Don’t worry about balancing the right chemicals to keep your family safe. pHin floats in the water constantly and will tell you at a moment’s notice when you need to adjust your water balance. It works with most chemicals for pools and hot tubs, and will give you easy, exact instructions to make your water safe for games and exercise. Learn the three steps to using pHin.

Learn more about pHin here.

How to Make Pool Time the First Step to #SelfCare

#Selfcare has been trending lately as we focus on improving our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. The self-care revolution is a positive force, but it can be challenging to make these changes in our day-to-day lives.

Pool, hot tub, and spa owners have a leg-up on setting a wellness routine with hydrotherapy, swimming, and time outdoors. The pHin team put together a few ways to get started:

1. Shut off the notifications and pick up a book

Alone time can be the start of self-care – and spending time by the pool or hot tub with a good book or relaxing music is a great way to escape the daily hustle. Set aside time each week to leave your phone behind and pick up a good read – especially if you don’t have a waterproof phone! Set a playlist for 30-minutes to an hour and leave your phone out of reach.

2. Connect with nature and enjoy the outdoors

An article from Mental Floss points out that spending time outside can improve memory, fight depression, and lower blood pressure. Breathing in fresh air and listening to the sounds of nature can help relieve stress and improve your focus. Head out to the pool for extra sun and some Vitamin D when winter is over – invite friends for a swim, hang out on a floatie, or enjoy the jets in your swim spa.

3. Hydrotherapy and exercise

Exercise is a major part of physical and mental well-being – Medline Plus notes that regular physical activity can improve your mood, increase your chances of living longer, and help control your weight. Pools and spas are a great place to exercise, providing resistance and buoyancy that is effective without being high-impact. Squats, shoulder rolls, water aerobics, and more can be the start to your physical fitness in the pool; a hot tub can also be a great place to unwind after a difficult workout.

4. Family wellness

A self-care routine can also be shared with the entire family. Spending time together in the pool relaxing, playing games, or working out can help you connect, have fun, and achieve better wellness together.

Tip: Use technology for peace-of-mind that your water is safe for self-care time

To maximize the benefits of self-care from your pool or hot tub, technology can help provide peace of mind that your water is always safe for swimming. With pHin, you can check the water temperature before you dive in using the app, and it’ll also tell you ahead of time if your water is out of balance or needs chemical adjustments. Knowing your water is balanced can help make whatever pool or hot tub routine you choose even simpler.

How are you using your pool, spa, or hot tub to achieve your #selfcare goals? Sound off to the pHin team! On Twitter or Facebook.

Maximizing A Hot Tub for Post-Workout Recovery

Working out is good for your health and it can also boost your mood. To get the most out of physical activity, it’s important to wind down and stretch afterward to prevent achy, tired muscles. According to some new research, heat plays an important role in post-exercise recovery.

The benefits of heating muscles and blood makes recovering after a workout more efficient. The heat helps initiate the healing process, increases blood flow and, best of all, relaxes your muscles. Whether you run, spend a day on the slopes, attend a yoga class, or lift weights at the gym, a hot tub or swim spa soak can help relax those aching muscles. The warm water helps you — and your muscles — relax but the jets can also be used to target specific areas of extreme soreness.

If you already use a hot tub or are considering adding a hot tub to post-workout recovery, the water and equipment need to be kept in good condition. One of the best ways to extend the life of your tub is to keep it clean. Remember to shower before you enter the hot tub, because water balance can be easily thrown off from sweat and dirt. You don’t want to be stressed about the dangers of algae, or other factors that can cause a rash from unbalanced hot tub water.

For that post-workout relaxation, you need to be confident that your water is clean and safe for soaking at any time. You don’t have to worry about trying to get it balanced after exhausting yourself from a workout with smart water monitoring solution like pHin can help you know at-a-glance that your hot tub is properly balanced. pHin tracks your hot tub water quality, measuring your pH, sanitizer, and temperature over 1,000 times per week. It also notifies you when your water is out of balance and provides dosing recommendations of the chemicals you need to make it safe to use, ensuring that your hot tub is ready to help rejuvenate your body after any workout.

Recovery is as important as a good workout. A hot tub can help you unwind after a workout and make your muscles feel great and ready for your next session.

5 Steps to Creating a Romantic Hot Tub Evening

It’s here again. With Valentine’s Day upon us, stores are already flooded with the traditional flowers, chocolates, and multitudes of pink cards emblazoned with corny poetry. Time to start thinking about what you’re going to do for that special someone in your life. But before you book that dinner reservation at your favourite restaurant, consider trying something new.

Most couples know that investing time in each other and frequent date nights are key to a healthy relationship. But recent studies have shown that regular dates alone may not be enough. In fact, Arthur Aron, a professor with a Ph.D. in psychology at Stony Brook University, recommends that dates should not only be frequent but fun. “Any time a couple does something together, it can be fun,” he says. “But when it’s really exciting, that fun gets associated with the relationship.”

Thankfully, fun and excitement doesn’t have to break the bank. If your hot tub’s open and ready to go, a romantic and enjoyable evening is easily within reach. Here are five steps to make your date night worth remembering.

  1. Check Water Quality Early

Clean and sparkling clear hot tub water is critical for the evening to be a success. Check your hot tub’s water chemistry in the days before your night. Make sure to balance the water’s chemicals. If it has been four or more months since you last drained the water, then before Valentine’s Day is a good time for a drain and clean.

pHin Tip: Draining, cleaning, filling and heating takes at least 24 hours so it’s a great idea to check your water quality a couple days prior to your party.

Have the water temperature at the recommended 102 – 104 F. Most people feel comfortable at this temperature. Water temperature is a personal choice, but we prefer a cooler temperature if alcohol will be consumed. 

  1. The Invitation

Depending on your spouse’s romantic tendencies, you may or may not have an easy time convincing them to join you for an evening of relaxation. If he or she is the more impulsive type, you may want to simply keep the occasion a surprise. But if you know that they’re going to take a little more persuasion, don’t hold back. Write an invitation on some ornate paper and include it with a gift of new swimwear or bath towels (never underestimate the alluring power of a luxuriously soft towel).

The key here is setting the tone. If you send off an informal text it’s going reflect badly on your other efforts. Ask yourself: will “c u @ hawt tub 2nite” really get them in the mood?

  1. Food Prep

Given that soaking in the hot tub together may be a fairly run-of-the-mill occurrence for you, you’re going to want to splurge in this area. What are you and your spouse’s favourite finger foods?  A cheese-and-cracker plate or a tray of hot appetizers are both tasty options. But if you really want to impress (this especially applies to individuals who don’t cook regularly), don’t be afraid to spend some time digging through a cookbook or the Internet to find a romantic recipe. But if even the thought of reading a recipe terrifies you, try melting some chocolate chips on the stove with a splash of coffee cream and dipping fresh fruit chunks in them. Now that’s delicious and easy!

Keep in mind that it’s important to stay hydrated while in the tub, so have some bottles of cold water nearby. If you’re going to be drinking anything alcoholic, may sure you use plastic or shatterproof glasses. A broken glass and hot tub that needs to be completely drained would certainly bring your date night to a screeching halt.

  1. Lighting

The atmosphere you create around your tub is going to be what sets it apart from normal evenings. Surrounding your deck with lit candles is a classic and beautiful option. You can also try stringing up a few sets of white Christmas lights. Or pull out your hot tub manual and program your own little light show if your tub comes with those features.

Figure out what kind of mood you’re aiming to create, and go for it. If that means pulling the plug and just watching the stars come out, that’s a lovely idea too. Just make sure laziness has nothing to do with that last choice.

  1. Mix your Soundtrack

George Lucas famously said that “Sound is 50 percent of the movie-going experience.” Sound applies to far more than just cinema though, and if the loudest noise that you hear is the drone of your hot tub heater or the neighbor’s irritating dog, that’s going to take a major edge off your romantic atmosphere. Plus, the act of playing prepared music will show your spouse just how much thought you put into this.

What you actually choose to play should be personal, and again all adding to the mood you want to create. Whether it’s the exact mix from your wedding or a playlist of old and new songs, the aim should be to be to please the other person.

  1. Entertainment

This part actually requires the least planning. Once you’re both in the tub and feeling warm, relaxed, and well-fed, any further effort will probably seem unnecessary. Take some time to enjoy each other’s company in a cozy, screen-free environment. Or if you really want to try something new, look up some videos on hot tub massages and take notes. The heat of the water will have your muscles already loose and relaxed. Or harken back to your younger years and play that silly Sticky-Notes-On-Your-Forehead game that’s been around forever and no one knows the name to.

It really doesn’t matter, so long as you and your spouse are enjoying yourselves. Studies have shown that communication is one of the biggest keys to a lasting marriage, so if what you need is a chance to talk without interruption, don’t waste it.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be the clichéd, over-commercialized spending bonanza it’s become. Its roots trace back to Roman couples who showed their love and devotion for each other by secretly getting married, a major act of defiance against the ban placed by the emperor.

Thankfully, in the 21st century, we’re free from such control, so there’s no excuse for not showing your affection to someone you love. We all know that actions speak louder than words. Take the time to plan for your Valentine’s date beforehand, and you’ll both enjoy an evening you won’t forget.

To keep the maintenance of that hot tub simple, be sure to check out the pHin device. It monitors water quality, notifies you by smartphone when you need to add chemicals and ships you the right amounts.

The Sleep Benefits of Hydrotherapy

If you’ve ever owned a hot tub, you’ve most likely experienced the soothing effect warm water can have on aching joints and muscles. You even may know some of the science behind hydrotherapy: how the heat of the water can improve circulation and lower blood pressure while the extra buoyancy takes the weight off strained joints. But most people haven’t even heard about one of the most amazing benefits that using a hot tub can give: improved sleep.

Lack of sleep has been linked to innumerable negative effects. People who suffer from sleep deprivation are: more likely to cause accidents while driving, struggle with weight gain, have difficulty concentrating, and be more irritable. Given that 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from some kind of sleep disorder according to the CDC, improving your nightly rest should be an important concern.

A Ready Solution

Luckily enough, the answer might be waiting in your own back yard. The National Sleep Foundation states that, “Soaking in hot water, such as a hot tub or bath, before retiring to bed can ease the transition into a deeper sleep.” Here’s the science behind it: soaking in hot water approximately 90 minutes before going to bed triggers your body’s internal thermostat to lower your temperature. The gradual drop in body temperature can induce drowsiness, leaving you more prepared for sleep. You can further encourage that feeling of sleepiness by turning down the thermostat (but not too much!). The NSF recommends keeping your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees F, while also ensuring your room is free from noise and other disturbances.

The increased blood flow in the rest of your body caused by the warm water will also divert some blood from the head, which reduces brain activity and settles your busy mind.

Most people who have difficulty sleeping turn to their doctor or pharmacist for sleep-assisting medication. But these drugs come with their own side-effects and costs, and can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented in the morning. A quick soak in your hot tub before bedtime can be a good alternative to achieving a restful sleep without the use of medication.

Hot tub temperature should be set to no higher than 104 degrees F, as going to bed while still hot or sweaty may contribute to overheating. Consume plenty of water before soaking, as hot water can accelerate dehydration. But be careful, as too much right before bed will encourage more middle-of-the-night bathroom visits. As with regular hot tub use, users who are pregnant or have certain medical conditions such as diabetes should consult with a medical professional before using a hot tub.

Additional Benefits

Besides providing that helpful drop in body temperature, soaking in your hot tub before bed can also bring other benefits. Your hot tub’s jets can relieve muscle stiffness and pain. Try targeting your jets to specific painful areas, such as your neck or lower back. The sudden temperature shift can also stimulate your body’s production of endorphins, which are natural pain-killing hormones. The combined relaxing effects of hydrotherapy continue after you exit the tub, resulting in a deeper and longer-lasting sleep.

Adding essential oils to the hot tub water can also encourage further relaxation. Lavender is an especially good choice, as some studies suggest it has sleep-inducing effects, but jasmine and chamomile are also relaxing. Five to 10 drops of these soothing scents should suffice for smaller hot tubs designed for one to two people. If you don’t feel comfortable adding oils directly into the hot tub’s water, adding a few drops of essential oils to a nearby soy or beeswax candle can be a great alternative.

The National Sleep Foundation states recommends that you should establish a routine:

“A regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or hot tub and then reading a book or listening to soothing music. A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.”

Summing it Up

Mankind has known for centuries about water’s relaxing properties (think of the ancient Romans and their baths). The benefits of using your hot tub for hydrotherapy are numerous, so here’s a list summing them up. Hot tubs have been shown to:

  • Improve circulation by causing your blood vessels to expand, which lowers your blood pressure. A mere five minutes in a hot tub can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to drop.
  • Relax stiff muscles and increase flexibility.
  • Ease aching pain in overworked joints.
  • Stimulate the body’s production of endorphins (natural pain killing hormones).
  • Lower your internal temperature, encouraging relaxation and drowsiness.

All of this combines to give you a deeper and more restful sleep. Given that sleep is one of the most basic needs next to eating and breathing, it’s important to take it seriously. Studies show that people who get more sleep are often healthier and happier individuals.

So tonight, do your body a favour. Stay away from electronic screens, eat a smaller meal, skip the alcohol, and take a good long soak in your tub before hitting the sack. Your body will thank you, and so will your future self when you wake up refreshed the next morning. 

Be sure to check out the pHin device, a new way to care for your hot tub. pHin monitors water quality, notifies you by smartphone when you need to add chemicals and ships you just the right amounts.