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Jacuzzi and Whirlpool Bathtubs

A whirlpool bath can provide a welcome massage for sore muscles, refreshing stimulation for the skin, and soothing hydrotherapy for arthritis and other joint discomforts. Originally developed for health care in hospitals and beauty care in spas, these units have been available for home use for years. Sometimes you will hear whirlpool baths referred to as jacuzzis because of the original inventor and manufacturer.

A whirlpool bath is much like an ordinary bath tub with a series of water jets arranged around the inside of the tub. The jets direct streams of recirculated water to different parts of the body and create a swirling current that gently rubs as it flows over your skin. Some jets also combine air with the jet stream to create a gently pulsing force against your body. A spa bath differs from a whirlpool in not pumping water through the bath but in blowing air alone through holes or jets in the bottom and sides of the bath. When immersed in the bubbling water, you receive a massage all over. Many baths combine both water jets and air bubblers.

The most important feature of any whirlpool bath is the jets. The number and placement of the jets dictate where they act. Check that you can focus them where on your back, arms, legs, and feet you need it. Jets that combine water with air provide a more invigorating massage. Some units draw air into the water flow with an aeration device while other jetted baths force air into the water stream for a more invigorating effect.

The other important features of whirlpool baths are:

  • Size and Shape: Most whirlpool tubs are about the size and shape of ordinary bathtubs, but some units can be as large and as varied in shape as hot tubs. Consider an extra deep model if you prefer almost total immersion.
  • Heating: To keep the recirculating water in the bath at the right temperature, look for an in-line heater with temperature control. Without the heater, you have to adjust the water temperature when you fill the tub and make constant adjustments as the water cools.
  • Pump: The power and the noise of the pump can have a major effect on your experience. More powerful pumps will produce a more forceful massage; a loud pump will destroy the mood.

  • Controls: Look for digital controls to set the desired water temperature and at least two, if not three, speeds for the pump. Consider a (floating) remote control.
  • Warranty: The components prone to failure are the inline heaters and water pumps. Look for up to ten years protection.

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