Warm, soothing and invigorating, it’s no wonder that hydrotherapy pools are one of the most popular thermal facilities on offer at many of our fabulous spas. In this guide, we answer all the questions you may have about hydrotherapy pools and tell you what you need to know before and after your session. We also highlight a few of our favourite spas that feature a hydrotherapy pool, so you can try one for yourself.
What is a hydrotherapy pool?
Hydrotherapy pools are kept at a temperature of around 33C to 36C, which is warmer than a swimming pool. They also have built-in massaging jets and water features that are designed to boost wellness. It is important to appreciate that the word ‘hydrotherapy’ can be used in different ways. Hydrotherapy as a treatment can be recommended by doctors and other health professionals to aid a range of conditions, which we discuss in more detail below. In this context, hydrotherapy refers to a set of activities and exercises undertaken in a special pool. However, in a spa setting, hydrotherapy can refer more widely to facilities that harness the properties of water. A hydrotherapy pool is one such example. You will also find reference to Jacuzzis, hot tubs and whirlpools, all of which use pumps and jets to circulate the warm water. With all of these, you can simply relax and let the water work its magic. The main difference with hydrotherapy (or simply hydro) pools is that they are designed for movement but are usually shallower than a swimming pool.
What are the benefits?
Hydrotherapy pools offer numerous benefits for the body. The combination of the warm water and the massaging jets work to soothe aching muscles and ease any joint pain. This makes them a great choice for recovering from a workout or sports session, or for anyone storing stresses and tensions in their body. In addition, the jets are good for stimulating the lymphatic system and flushing out nasty toxins. Hydro pools can also help with the following ailments and conditions:
- Circulatory issues
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety and stress
Guided hydrotherapy sessions are also recommended by doctors and physiotherapists to improve mobility, function and strength. Specifically, they can help with recovery from limb injury, hip replacements, neurological conditions, and more advanced back problems, including ankylosing spondylitis. If you have any medical conditions, we would strongly recommend seeking professional advice before using a hydro pool (or any spa facilities) to avoid doing more harm than good.
What to know before you go
Before you take the plunge, there are a few things to bear in mind. Hydrotherapy pools and full stomachs don’t mix, so be sure to wait until after your dip before sitting down to that big meal. Also, it is wise to avoid drinking alcohol before dipping a toe in a hydro pool, or using any thermal facilities, due to the risks of dehydration (and falling asleep).
While hydro pools offer lots of benefits, they are not suitable for everyone. One such group is pregnant women, who are generally advised to avoid heat-based facilities, vigorous water jets, and slippery poolside areas. If you have other conditions, such as (but not limited to) cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and respiratory infections, it is important to check with your doctor before your spa visit. You should also let the spa know ahead of time if you have any medical issues and/or have had recent surgery.
What to expect afterwards
Straight after your hydro pool session, be aware that you might feel hungry. It is also important to rehydrate and flush out the toxins from your body, so drink plenty of water. Given the dual relaxing/invigorating nature of hydrotherapy pools, you might feel energised or sleepy. So, you may want to hit the gym, head to the relaxation area, or enjoy a leisurely meal. With one of our fab spa packages, the choice is yours!
Five spas with hydrotherapy pools
The Shrigley Hall Hotel in Macclesfield, Cheshire: One of our superb luxury spas, Shrigley Hall boasts a beautiful location on the edge of the spectacular Peak District National Park. The listed Georgian building is set amid 262 acres, providing a serene backdrop to a spa day or spa break. The hotel’s sumptuous Bazaar Spa offers luxurious treatments and a range of fabulous indoor and outdoor thermal facilities, including a relaxing outdoor heated hydro pool.
Macdonald Berystede Hotel & Spa in Ascot, Berkshire: Part of the family of popular Macdonald hotels, this excellent manor house property offers everything you need for a tranquil escape, all within easy reach of London, Ascot racecourse and some great golf courses. We offer a wide range of packages at this property, each of which offers access to the impressive spa with its extensive leisure facilities, which feature a glorious outdoor hydrotherapy pool.
Moddershall Oaks Health Spa in Stone, Staffordshire: Another of our exclusive luxury spas, the five-star Moddershall Oaks enjoys a lovely rural location, offering the perfect backdrop against which to unwind in style. Stroll in 72 acres of beautiful parkland and enjoy the luxurious treatments and facilities available at the first-rate spa. Let your stresses melt away in the temperature-controlled hydrotherapy pool, which forms part of the serene indoor spa area.
Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa in Bicester, Oxfordshire: Set in 130 acres of lovely countryside, Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa offers a wonderful rural getaway. Enjoy all the great amenities, including tennis, fitness equipment, and a challenging golf course. The pampering spa offers a wide range of treatments, and heat-based and water-based facilities, including open-water swimming in the 200-metre performance lake. You can also relax in the welcoming indoor hydrotherapy pool.
Royal Marine Hotel in Dublin, Ireland: We head overseas to the Republic of Ireland for our final choice. Located in the Dublin suburb of Dún Laoghaire, the Royal Marine Hotel boasts a wonderful waterside location within a short drive of the city centre. We offer overnight packages at this hotel, so you can combine your time here with some spa pampering. The spa offers luxurious treatments and a fantastic thermal suite that includes a relaxing hydrotherapy chamber.