Hot Tub Health - Natural Cures for Diabetes

Spas and hot tubs really are great for some ailments and not recommended at all for others. Have you heard about the great news that soaking in a hot tub cures diabetes. However, before you trash your diet and leave your refill at the pharmacy, check out what that "recent" study really had to say.

The often quoted report on hot tubs and diabetes dates back to 1999. Dr. Philip L. Hooper of McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colorado, conducted a limited study of eight diabetic patients. Over a period of three weeks, they sat once a day, six days a week, for about thirty minutes a time, in a hot tub. During that time, various vital signs were recorded and blood sugar levels were checked.

One patient noted an eighteen per cent reduction in his required insulin intake. Other improvements included blood pressure reduction, improved blood sugar, some weight loss, improved well-being and easier sleep at night. Improvements waned over the three weeks following the treatment returning patients to their previous states. Dr. Hooper concluded that the results warranted further study.

After a letter about the study, but not the study itself, was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the findings received wide attention, especially among those who make and sell hot tubs and spas. In fact, you will find mention of this "recent" - read seven years old - study on almost every sales site for the equipment.

In various versions, you will find that the study showed "marked" or "dramatic" improvements in blood pressure. One says that using a hot tub reduces insulin use overall by 18%. Another says that hot tubs are good for diabetics who cannot exercise to enable them to lose weight. Still another suggested that using a hot tub could eliminate other diabetic control measures.

To be fair, several sites mentioning this study did so in a much more understated way and even went so far as to recommend that patients talk to their doctors before investing in a hot tub.

There is no doubt that hot tubs supplement treatment of some conditions. The National Arthritis Foundation recommends hot tub use for alleviating symptoms of Arthritis but no such advice will be found on the web sites devoted to Diabetes.

The follow up studies Dr. Hooper wanted were apparently followed through on so there is no hard evidence that diabetes is treatable with warm hydrotherapy afforded by hot tubs. It has also been suggested that the improvements noted had to do with known factors.

For instance, stress management also has similar effects on blood sugar, blood pressure, well being and sleep. As a method of stress management, use of the hot tub is understandable, but there are other effective methods, too. The weight loss may have been related to heat treatment which often known as "water loss".

Dr. Hooper is right that more needs to be known. What is known are the dangers of any heat treatment for those with diabetes. Loss of sensation in the feet may make hot tub "sitting" dangerous as does the dangers of dehydration and skin infection.

There may be measures for these dangers. But, unless under the direct supervision of a doctor and onsite assistance, folks with diabetes need to think more than twice before entering a hot tub or spa. Certainly, stay on your diet and take your medications.