We recognize how tough it can be to squeeze time in for relaxing or rejuvenating amid a hectic schedule. We named our blog “20-minute Renewal” to remind ourselves (and our readers) that even a modest effort can put us on the path to establishing daily self-care habits. Just 20-minutes in a hot tub is all you need to release tensions, relax muscles and let go of all the clutter in your head. According to recent science, it’s no coincidence that 20 minutes seems ideal. In recent years, there has been an increase in academic study on the effects of spa use—also called warm water immersion—particularly in 20-minute intervals.
Two researchers are leading the charge, Dr. Bruce Becker of Washington State University and Dr. Doreen Stiskal of Seton Hall University, and both have focused their studies around 20-minute sessions. To get a clearer picture, let’s delve into the science.
As Dr. Stiskal puts it, “the body gains the maximum benefit of warm water therapy within 20 minutes." Dr. Becker has conducted many studies, all focusing on immersion of 20 - 24 minutes with a temperature range of 94°– 102°.
Here are some of the benefits he observed:
1. The buoyancy of the water relieves gravity, taking the pressure off joints. This can help provide relief to arthritis sufferers.
2. Immersion in water makes the respiratory muscles work harder by 60%, strengthening and building endurance in the muscles associated with breathing.
3. A 20 - 24 minute warm water immersion effects the nervous system in much the same way as meditation.
Dr. Becker’s research points to the fact that 20 minutes is the sweet spot. It’s the perfect length of time to reap the maximum of the benefits he observed. Of course, staying in longer is fine—it’s wonderful—but the benefits don’t increase after 20 minutes. As always, be sure to stay hydrated no matter how long you decide to stay in.
The physical effects of warm water immersion are still being studied, but here’s what we do know: A 20 minute relaxation session works best for me, and according to Dr. Stiskal and Dr. Becker, I’m not the only one. If you would like to learn more, here is a video of one of Dr. Becker’s talks, and all of our resources are listed below.
What benefits or improvements have you noticed after 20 minutes in your Caldera spa? Share them in the comments, we‘d love to hear about them.