Arts & culture

Bubbling Over


We’re getting all steamed up for this year’s hottest accessory for the home


The benefits of spa bathing have been celebrated for many years – it was the Victorians that developed the notion of natural spa baths as a rejuvenating and revitalising experience. Relaxing in warm, bubbling water is an unrivalled way of unwinding and chasing away the stresses of daily life, and being the owner of a hot tub or swim spa promises a number of health benefits:

*  The warm water and bubbles reduce the gravitational pull of your body, dilating the blood vessels which means less pressure on your heart, helping you cope with stress and anxiety and giving your body and mind time to relax.

* The temperature of the water also induces perspiration which helps your body get rid of impurities and any water retention – a great way to detox your body.

* The hot tub jets can help with aching muscles and back pain. A hot tub is especially effective for people who suffer from muscle or poor joint conditions, as you can move more freely and pain-free in the water.

* People with arthritis find this kind of hydrotherapy especially effective, as the warm water helps with blood circulation.

Hot tubs and swim spas – the low-down

 The term ‘spa’ is derived from the word for a curative spring or well and came to be used for locations where these were found. It is now used to describe any premises where treatment using heated water and jets is provided. By extension, the word has now become loosely used for any body of heated water with jets for sitting in but not swimming, whether portable or not, and is often used as another name for hot tubs.

 * Hot tubs are self-contained, portable units, requiring only filling with treated water and connection to an electricity supply. They have been adapted to cater for most living spaces and can hold varying numbers of people, depending on your needs and the purpose of the tub. You can decide whether you want your new hot tub indoors or outside in the garden.

 * Swim spas can combine a swim area and a hot tub in one unit. They can also provide the experience of swimming the English Channel in an area no bigger than 8’ x 6’! Swimming against the current offers all the benefits of a full exercise swim without moving an inch. Swim spas provide the whole range of aqua aerobics activities, from swimming to weight resistance training, to water jogging, making it the ideal therapeutic tool for tired bodies and those recuperating from sports injuries.

Make a splash

A hot tub is a great place to spend time with friends or family. You can choose the size of your hot tub from two or up to ten people. A hot tub can be enjoyed in all seasons: from a summer BBQ party to a winter get together, being enveloped in the hot water against the cold winter is an excellent feeling. With the rush of modern life, the hot tub can also become a place for families to catch up and unwind after a long day at work. With extras such as lights, sound systems and other gadgets that could be installed along with your hot tub, you could lead the way in social interaction amongst your friends.


Prices for a hot tub can range from around £3,000 to over £15,000. Swim spas can cost up to £25,000. Running costs for hot tubs are typically between £1 – £1.50 a day, depending on a number of factors, including the ambient temperature, water temperature and usage of the hot tub. An above-ground 14’ x 7′ exercise pool will cost around £17,500 + the costs of a solid base and installation. Your dealer will advise on this installation and also any surrounding decking and landscaping costs.

Be safe

Consult a BISHTA supplier for advice concerning filtration and chemicals. Change the water at least every 12 weeks, although every four weeks may be better, or as advised by the manufacturer. A hot tub also brings water and electricity into close proximity, so wiring in a hot tub is a job for a qualified electrician.


BISHTA is the trade association representing the British and Irish hot tub and swim spa industry, promoting high standards of spa and hot tub safety and trading practices. Go to to find out about registered suppliers of spas, hot tubs, accessories and water purification products.