Warm Water Therapy

Documented in history, hot springs have been used to aid with swollen joints, arthritis, muscle fatigue, ligament damage, and more

Article by Kendall Gewalt

Photography by Courtesy of Visit Idaho

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Looking for a natural way to get your joints moving? Close the medicine cabinet and try an age-old remedy that has stood the test of time: heat.

Hot water therapy is an alternative therapy recognized for temporary pain relief of ailments such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle and joint pain, fibromyalgia, and aches and discomfort following exercise.

Here is how it works. When you warm up a sore joint or tired muscle, your blood vessels get bigger. This allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered to the injured tissues. Better circulation means more relaxation for those stiff muscles and joints.

Hot springs, a hot bath, or hot tub can improve the quality of sleep, increase circulation, and manage pain – and research shows that making time for a daily soak can be good for body aches and muscle or joint discomfort. 

Joint inflammation from arthritis causes swelling, pain and stiffness, often resulting in the loss of joint movement or function and making exercise difficult and uncomfortable. Immersion in warm water produces hydrostatic pressure on the body that results in reduced joint inflammation – loosening joints, reducing pain and increasing mobility.

Twenty minutes of hot water therapy at the beginning and end of each day can help reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis, sore muscles and increase mobility. To make the most of your time, keep these tips in mind:

  • Get warmed up. When starting out, make water temperature is around 100°F

  • Take advantage of the warm water to try some gentle stretching. The flexibility benefits last after you leave the water, so add a few additional stretches right after you soak.

  • After you’ve stretched, you might want to try some simple hot water exercises. The buoyancy of the water will take some of the pressure off your joints while adding resistance.

  • Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink some water before entering the hot springs or hot tub and keep a bottle of cold water nearby as you soak.

  • Consult your physician before starting your hot water therapy routine. Begin gradually, doing what you are comfortable with on a given day.

For the convenience of having your own private hot spring, consider a home-based hot tub. You can customize a routine of warm water therapy and immersive movement to meet your wellness needs. Spas provide soothing warm water and buoyancy that release tension and improve your quality of life. These benefits and more can help those affected by arthritis. 

Visit one of Idaho’s 130+ hot springs at or stop by Snake River Pool & Spa to explore your options to set up your own private hot tub. Learn more on updated Idaho Arthritis Facts on the Arthritis Foundation – Idaho Advocacy website page (

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