As we age, getting in and out of a bathtub can become a difficult task that can put us at risk of injury. For those that enjoy a warm bath after a long day but have trouble lowering themselves into a standard bathtub, a walk-in tub might be the perfect solution.
A walk-in bathtub features a water-tight door that swings either in or out, and a built-in seat that allows you to bathe in a seated position. This means you can avoid lowering yourself into a traditional bathtub.
Walk-in tubs can also provide an alternative to a roll-in shower for wheelchair users. When using a side-entry model (seen above), many wheelchair users can transfer from their wheelchair to a walk-in tub.
Other available options include:
- Whirlpool jets
- Lap and shoulder belts
- Chromatherapy lights
- Safety grab bars
- Seat cushions and pillows
- Fast fill and drain technology
While accessibility is the primary benefit of a walk-in tub for people with limited mobility, there are secondary therapeutic benefits that can help people with ailments such as arthritis, poor circulation, and anxiety feel better. Recent studies have also found that warm baths can reduce blood sugar levels and improve cardiovascular health.
The Arthritis Foundation has reported that warm water therapy is proven to help alleviate pain caused by musculoskeletal conditions, including fibromyalgia, arthritis and low back pain. To maximize the benefit of warm water therapy, researchers recommend that you:
- Soak for at least 20 minutes
- Drink water before and after to stay hydrated
- Use warm, not hot water - Ideal temperature range is 92 to 100 degrees
- Perform gentle stretching exercises while you soak
A recent study has found that warm baths can help to improve cardiovascular health. For those with heart issues, a warm bath can help by:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Increasing blood vessel dilation
- Decreasing arterial stiffness
Blood Sugar Level Reduction
For those with Type-2 diabetes, a warm bath may help reduce blood sugar levels. Researchers found that subjects in a study who took regular warm baths had reduced peak blood sugar levels by 10%, increased energy expenditure levels by 80% and burned an average of 126 calories per hour. While people with Type-2 Diabetes should continue to eat well and exercise, a warm bath could help reduce their blood sugar levels.
Stress and Anxiety
A warm bath has long been used to help people relax and relieve stress. An advancement in bathing called chromatherapy has taken the relaxing benefits of a warm bath to the next level. Chromatherapy is the use of colored lights to help enhance relaxation and reduce tension. Some walk-in tub models have optional chromatherapy lights that can increase the tension reducing benefits of a bath.
So as you can see, the therapeutic health benefits of bathing coupled with the accessibility of a walk-in bathtub make them an attractive bathing solution for those with limited mobility due to aging, illness, or disability.