Can a Walk-in Tub Really Make a Difference?

Where did hydrotherapy come from?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact time when people started to use hydrotherapy, or the use of both hot and cold water to ease health concerns, but the earliest documented use of hydrotherapy was in Ancient Greece. Ancient Romans, Chinese, and Egyptians also recorded using fully immersive baths (such as public bathhouses and hot springs) to treat a variety of ailments.

How are walk-in tubs different than standard tubs?

Walk-in tubs and standard tubs obviously share a common goal of cleaning the body, but there are some distinct differences.

 Walk-in TubStandard Tub
Threshold ClearanceTwo to five inches15 to 20 inches
Safety FeaturesHand bar, textured floor, seatNone come standard
Height from Floor to Top of TubAround 40 inches15 to 20 inches
Gallons to Fill40 to 80 gallons30 to 50 gallons
CostStarting at $1,500 + installStarting at $200 + install

The main difference between the two tubs is that you can fully submerge in the walk-in tub when you’re in the sitting position. Standard tubs usually leave at least some of the body exposed to the air in the bathroom, which can be uncomfortable at best.

How do they work?

Depending on your fixtures, you may be able to take a bath or a shower in your walk-in tub. If you only have a bath faucet, it isn’t very difficult to add an additional showerhead fixture, and then you’ll have the flexibility of taking a shower or bath depending on your needs. Some walk-in tubs even come with water jets to further relax your body as you soak in the hot water.

A walk-in tub is a little different than a traditional tub because you can’t step into the water once the tub is filled. You will need to walk into the tub, close the door, and either sit down or stand until the water is the level you want it to be. Then, once you’re done with your soak, you will need to wait for the tub to completely drain before getting out of the tub.

Are they easy to install?

Though you can install a walk-in tub yourself, if you’re not experienced with plumbing, it might be a better idea to have a licensed plumber or tub installer do the work. First, you have to remove the old tub and get rid of all remaining residue. Then you need to exchange the fixtures for ones that work with a walk-in and set the new tub. Walk-in tubs are less wide, so you’ll need to install blocking to fill up the space and then waterproof the area. Finally, you’ll need to caulk and adjust the fixtures. Since this installation involves changing the plumbing, there is potential for a lot of damage if there is even a small leak inside the tub area. Be sure to take your time during installation so that you can avoid costly problems in the future.

It’s also important to note that walk-in tubs hold more water than standard tubs, so you will need to be sure that your flooring can accommodate the additional weight.

Are walk-in tubs worth it?

Walk-in tubs are geared toward people with disabilities and the elderly, but they are beneficial for everyone who uses them. As part of a holistic approach, walk-in tubs have shown some positive results for all parts of the body.

Brain and Nervous System

Walk-in tubs are great for helping to heal or ease the discomfort that accompanies Alzheimer’s disease as well as sleep disorders and chronic stress. People who have Alzheimer’s disease often become scared and disoriented during bath time, but a walk-in bath provides safety, security, and dignity during the bathing process.

People with sleep disorders also find that they get to sleep faster and stay asleep better when they use a walk-in tub at least an hour before bedtime. The warm, total-body immersion in the water relaxes the body and the mind enough to facilitate a restful night’s sleep.

Who do you know that doesn’t deal with stress on a daily basis? I’m not sure that I can list even one person who fits that bill, which just shows that walk-in tubs help everyone. The warm water completely relaxes the body and can help your muscles release pent up stress.

Musculoskeletal System

If you or a loved one suffers from arthritis, you know how painful day-to-day activities can be. Walk-in tubs can help alleviate some of the pain by providing a warm, buoyant environment. The heat relaxes the muscles and can help reduce inflammation, while being completely submerged takes pressure off of the joints. The warm water also gets the blood flowing, which can help heal sore muscles and joints.

Endocrine System

Full-body immersion is also helpful in lowering high blood sugar in people living with diabetes.

Walk-in tubs are an excellent investment if you plan on aging in place by living in your home past retirement age. They can also help people with a variety of ailments and disabilities live with dignity and manage symptoms while alleviating pain.