The first whirlpool bath was invented by Roy Jacuzzi in 1968 and Jacuzzi has become a common word to use when referring to a jetted tub. The industry has grown tremendously since then and instead of whirlpools today we discuss “hydrotherapy” tubs. This makes sense because not all hydrotherapy tubs are whirlpools (nor are they all made by Jacuzzi).
Generally speaking the are three categories of hydrotherapy tubs: whirlpools, jetted tubs and air baths. These refer to different types of systems that will yield different results so it is important to understand what each of these types of tubs can offer before you make a selection.
A distinction can be made between whirlpools and jetted tubs based on the different action produced by the jets. Instead of directing jets straight at the body a true whirlpool moves that whole body of water in a circular motion which creates a relaxing, soothing massage style of overall therapy. Pearl Baths is a company known for their “true whirlpool” systems.
Jetted tubs use more jets and typically place those all around the tub so that the bather will experience the action of the jets directly in several places. These systems are good for someone looking for a more forceful and direct kind of massage therapy. Jacuzzi is the inventor of this type; others like Maax and Jason continue to offer quality options.
Air baths do not use jets in the manner of a jetted or whirlpool tub. Instead small jets inject heated air only into the tub through air holes located either around the perimeter of the tub or across the bottom of the tub. Air baths are typically more invigorating that a true whirlpool but less forceful that a jetted tub. BainUltra invented the airbath in 1977 and continues to be the leader.
Once you decide which type of system is right for you you’re about halfway down the road to selecting the right tub. You’ll still need to consider what kind of material you want (cast iron, acrylic, fiberglass), what type of control, type and location of jets and some other questions. I’ll start to cover more about those in my next post.