Will 20 Minutes In My Spa Really Matter?

Will 20 Minutes In My Spa Really Matter?

We truly believe it will. At Caldera Spas, we believe it because we live it, and 20-minute renewal is part of our daily lives.

From personal experience, we believe that 20-minutes a day can help you release tension, relax muscles and let go of all the clutter in your head.

Science seems to concur. Recently, studies have emerged on the effects of spa use—also called warm water immersion—particularly in 20-minute intervals.

Two researchers—Dr. Bruce Becker of Washington State University and Dr. Doreen Stiskal of Seton Hall University—have focused studies around 20-minute sessions. According to Dr. Stiskal, “the body gains the maximum benefit of warm water therapy within 20 minutes.”

Dr. Becker has conducted many studies, all focusing on immersion of 20 – 24 minutes with a temperature range of 94°– 102°. His observations include the following:

  • The buoyancy of the water relieves gravity and takes pressure off joints, providing relief to arthritis sufferers.
  • Immersion in water makes the respiratory muscles work harder by 60{d08558500d8945c62f975d7fb1313ca24132852f79c1e304564c6cb4e5b45d98}, strengthening and building endurance in the muscles associated with breathing.
  • A 20 – 24 minute warm water immersion affects the nervous system in much the same way as meditation. Dr. Becker’s research points to 20 minutes as the ideal length of time spent immersed. Soaking longer is fine, but the benefits don’t increase after 20 minutes. As always, be sure to stay hydrated no matter how long you decide to stay in.

We suggest you try using your hot tub daily and consistently for a week or more and pay attention to how you feel, how you think, whether you feel more flexible and relaxed. After all, the results of your own personal investigation are what matter most.

Whether you pay attention to them or not…you’ve got about 600 muscles. They reward you when they are warm and nourished, and seem to punish you when they’re not. Bottom line, how you care for your muscles will likely determine how ‘young’ you live…or how old you act. Learn more with Scott Iverson.

To learn more, spend a little time looking at the resource links below:

Ask yourself these 3 questions…

  • Yes or no – do you think 20 minutes in a spa each day would relax and rejuvenate you?
  • Can you spare 20 minutes per day in your hot tub?
  • What daily activities do you perform just for you?

What Should I Do Before My Hot Tub Arrives?

What Should I Do Before My Hot Tub Arrives?

Once you’ve decided to buy a hot tub, there are quite a few jobs to complete to prepare for its arrival.


Your local Caldera Spas dealer can walk you through the process in a step-by-step way and provide detailed pre-delivery instructions that will make the task feel completely manageable. Our goal here is not to answer every detail down to the size of the pea gravel you might use as a base, but to outline the things that you may need to consider.

1. Where will I put my new hot tub?

Many people like the idea of locating their hot tub in a remote area of their property. Generally, though, easy, close access translates to more use. Running electrical wiring away from the house can also be more costly.

Once you’ve decided where to place your hot tub, measure and mark off the area so that you can visualize it there. Is there room to move around the hot tub? Is there easy access and adequate space for steps? It’s very important that there’s room to open and work around the hot tub’s access panel. If that side of the hot tub is placed against a structure, the hot tub’s components won’t be accessible for servicing. Also, consider the view; will you want a privacy fence?

Most of all, is there a wide enough delivery path from the road to the space you’ve chosen? Is there enough vertical clearance between the path and tree limbs or the eaves of the house? You’ll need adequate space for the hot tub to be wheeled in on its side. Remember to include the height of the dolly, too. It’s not unusual for installers to use a crane to put a hot tub into place. Your Caldera Spas dealer can help you connect to the right resources.

2. What’s needed to prepare the site? 

A hot tub can weigh from 2,000 to 8,000 pounds when filled (and even more when you add people), so it needs a suitable base. The area where it will be placed should be leveled and a foundation prepared. A hot tub should not be placed on soil. Instead, it will need a concrete base, a crushed stone or pea gravel base, pavers or a deck with adequate structural support. Again, your dealer can put you in contact with professionals who can do all the necessary site preparation.

3. What about electrical?

Most hot tubs run off 220 volts and will require electrical work by a licensed professional. Some hot tubs can run off of a standard 110 outlet, but in those cases, the heater and pumps cannot be used at the same time. It’s highly recommended that you have the electrical work done so that you can enjoy your hot tub to its full potential.

4. Can I put my hot tub on my existing deck? 

Before your hot tub is placed on a deck, you must make sure the deck is structurally able to support the weight of the filled hot tub and the maximum number of people that it holds. Consult a qualified, licensed professional who can assess your deck and add structural support if necessary. Caldera Spas dealers can refer you to contractors they’ve worked with before.

5. What if I’m adding a new deck? 

Make sure that the new deck plans include a load capacity that will support your spa. Your Caldera Spas dealer can provide you with weight specifications and scale renderings of our hot tubs in PDF and CAD formats to help you and your contractor or deck builder with planning and design.

Need help designing a deck? Caldera Spas also offers a 3D Deck Design Tool, an interactive deck planner that can help you design a deck in a step-by-step approach.

Preparing for the arrival of your hot tub may seem like a lot of work at first, but your Caldera Spas dealer will help you through every stage and provide you with the resources to make the process flow smoothly.

  • What’s your ideal location for a hot tub?
  • Are you comfortable designing your deck with help from online tools?
  • What preparation tips do you have?

What Is Hot Tub Circuit Therapy And How Does It Work?

What Is Hot Tub Circuit Therapy And How Does It Work?

A Caldera Spas Hot Tub serves many purposes, including enhancing family time and allowing you to relax both mind and body.

They also have a physically therapeutic benefit. Hot tubs are often used to release muscular tension or to help in the recovery of overworked muscles.


What Is Hot Tub Circuit Therapy?

A Caldera Spas hot tub takes the idea of actively treating muscles even further with seats and jets strategically placed to deliver whole-body, holistic treatment. We call it Hot Tub Circuit Therapy and it’s based on the approach used by personal trainers, moving you from station to station to help deliver a full-body workout and achieve a balanced fitness routine.

How Does Hot Tub Circuit Therapy Work?

Each seat or position in a Caldera Spas hot tub is intended to provide a deep massage to a different muscle group. As you move from seat to seat, jets focus on those muscle groups one at a time, including your neck and shoulders, the large muscles of your back, lower back, hamstrings, calves and feet.

Should You Follow A Prescribed Course Or Improvise?

Your approach is entirely up to you. You can follow our recommended course through your hot tub or focus on the areas that need the most help. You also have the flexibility to adjust the intensity of the jets in order to specify anything from a deep, penetrating massage to a soothing, relaxing touch. Stay at each station as long as you feel it’s necessary. You’re completely in charge.

What Are The Stages?

The arrangement of seats and jets in different models varies, so our trip through the spa won’t follow a specific map. In your model, you’ll be able to determine which seats focus on the appropriate muscle groups. Typical moves and treatments will include these stops.

  • Start with a massage to your neck, shoulders and middle back in the lounge seat. Two rows of jets work on both sides of your spine, focusing on the latissimus dorsi, the rhomboid muscles and the trapezius. Some Caldera Spas models have jets for your hands and your calves. While you’re in the lounge seat, Sole Soothers® jets massage the bottoms of your feet.
  • Selected models have independently controlled jets above the water level that massage downward, giving additional attention to tired neck muscles.
  • Move and work on the lumbar area of your lower back. A pair of larger jets focuses on the low part of your back where tension accumulates and where many lower back problems develop.
  • Move again and continue to focus on the back as a high-volume jet delivers a swirling effect.
  • Move to one of the other areas where jets focus on the long muscles on the back of the thigh. While jets work on your hamstrings, others are at work on your knees, calves and feet.

Once you’ve experienced the range of massage delivered in the seats throughout your Caldera Spas hot tub, you’ll begin to determine which order works best for you.

What Are The Benefits of Hot Tub Circuit Therapy?

In about 20 minutes every day, you can get a restorative massage that relaxes tense, tired muscles, increases circulation and reduces aches and pains. Try it several days in a row and note improvements in how you feel and move.

Have you tried Hot Tub Circuit Therapy?

In what order do you treat muscle groups?

What benefits did you see from using all stations in your Caldera Spas hot tub?

How Can A Hot Tub Enhance My Fitness Routine? Part 2

How Can A Hot Tub Enhance My Fitness Routine? Part 2

This is the second post in a two part series on how a hot tub can improve your fitness routine. Read part one here.

A fully integrated workout strategy should go beyond the actual workout to include important essentials such as nutrition, rest and recovery time.

Can I Stretch In My Hot Tub?

Dynamic stretching is the preferred method of preparing for a workout. But in a hot tub, muscles relax and loosen, allowing for some light static stretching. While hot tubs are not designed as a stretching station, you can perform some gentle stretches and movements to help muscles loosen and elongate.

What Are The Mental Recovery Benefits?

Part of the recovery process involves managing stress and developing a proper mental state. Time in a hot tub can help you relax and clear your mind, allowing you to combat some of the stress factors common to athletes.

By relaxing and creating a positive attitude you’re likely to perform at a much higher level, according to Dr. Michael Roizen, Cleveland Clinic’s chief wellness officer and co-author with Dr. Mehmet Oz of the best-selling YOU series of books.

Time in a hot tub can also help improve sleep which is an essential part of the recovery process.

Do Hot Tubs Help Injury Recovery?

In general, a hot tub can help your body recover from injury in the same way it helps you recover from a workout. Increased circulation helps carry nutrients to an injured area to assist in the healing process. In many cases, alternating ice and heat can help even more.

However, every injury is different and may require a different recovery strategy. If you have an injury, check with a physician to find out how hot tub therapy can benefit your individual healing process.

Remember, a fitness strategy and routine involves far more than exercise. In fact, what you do when you’re not exercising can play a huge part in helping you progress and succeed. Time in a Caldera Spas hot tub can become an essential, daily routine to help you reach your goals, stay limber, avoid injuries and stay relaxed and focused.

Do you currently use your Caldera Spas® hot tub as part of your fitness routine and how does it help you?

How soon after a workout do you use your hot tub to massage tired muscles?

Does the mental relaxation you get from using your hot tub help your fitness routine?

How Can A Hot Tub Enhance My Fitness Routine? Part 1

How Can A Hot Tub Enhance My Fitness Routine? Part 1

A fully integrated workout strategy should go beyond the actual workout to include important essentials such as nutrition, rest and recovery time.

This is the first post in a two part series on how a hot tub can improve your fitness routine.


Recovery refers to techniques and actions taken to maximize your body’s ability to repair itself. There are many facets to recovery, including hydration, stretching, stress management and developing the proper mental state.

How Can A Hot Tub Help Physical Recovery?

Your Caldera Spas hot tub can assist recovery in a variety of ways. While ice baths can help relieve pain and inflammation from a difficult workout, heat is also an essential component in the recovery process. Full immersion in hot water, combined with targeted jets can massage, loosen and recharge fatigued muscles.

How? Time in a hot tub will raise your body temperature, which dilates blood vessels. This process results in increased circulation, purging toxins and supplying nutrients that help cells and tissues regenerate.

Many hot tub users also report that time spent in their hot tub helps relieve joint pain and increases flexibility.

How Does Massage Help?

Massage has always been a major component of athletic recovery, but not everyone has access to a daily masseuse. However, those with a Caldera Spas hot tub do. With more powerful motors and strategically placed jets, our hot tubs can deliver a targeted, deep tissue massage to release tension from overworked, tight muscles or knots, soothe muscle spasms and diminish aches and pains. Caldera Spas hot tubs are designed with the power to deliver the type of deep massage some muscles require.

For a full-body, holistic approach, our hot tubs are also strategically designed to deliver Hot Tub Circuit Therapy, a seat-to-seat approach that targets all major muscle groups in the same way personal trainers construct a full-body workout. As you move about your hot tub, you can spend a few minutes on neck and shoulders, central back muscles, lower back, calves and thighs and even the bottoms of your feet.

Control the intensity of your spa by adjusting the jets. Ranging from a deep forceful massage to a gentle, relaxing sensation, pick the perfect setting for you.

What Can I Do With My Hot Tub Water When It’s Time To Change It?

What Can I Do With My Hot Tub Water When It’s Time To Change It?

There’s a great deal of attention on water conservation and smart water use, especially in areas of the country where rain or snowfall are below normal levels.

Here are some tips to using your old spa water wisely.


The water in your hot tub can be recycled for use around your home, decreasing the amount of fresh water you need.

Here are answers to some common questions when it comes to recycling spa water:

Is Recycled Hot Tub Water Considered the Same As Water from a Tap?

No. Spa water is classified as “gray water,” similar to water from baths, showers and bathroom sinks.

Using gray water serves two purposes:

  1. It can the reduce amount of fresh water needed for some household tasks.
  2. It lessens the amount of water entering the waste treatment system.

Can Water From All Hot Tubs Be Recycled?

Some hot tub brands use salt water systems that may damage lawns or shrubs, so it’s not recommended for use on plants.

Does the Water Need to Be Treated in Any Way Before It’s Used?

Most sources recommend waiting for three days after chemicals were last added to your hot tub, turning off the spa and allowing the water to cool. Chlorine should dissipate quickly, especially if you leave the cover off. After three days, test the water to make sure that the chlorine level is at zero. The pH should be between 7 and 8 to be safe for plants.

How Do I Get The Water From My Hot Tub To Where It’s Needed?

Most portable hot tubs drain by gravity from a valve at the bottom of the spa that can connect to a garden hose. Using the hose, you can apply the water where it’s needed. However, it only works if you’re level with the hot tub or downhill from it. You can always collect water to be recycled in buckets that are easily moved to areas of use.

You can also purchase an inexpensive submersible pump for $50 to $100 (make sure it connects to a garden hose where the water comes out or has an adapter). With it, you can pump water into storage barrels or apply it directly to the task at hand.

What Are Some of the Best Uses for Recycled Hot Tub Water?

Recycled hot tub water can be used in a variety of creative ways, such as…

  • Water the lawn, shrubs, ornamentals, flowers and trees. It’s best to use it on well-established plants. Do not use it on edible plants.
  • Wash your car.
  • Wash your patio furniture, grill, lawn mower and other outdoor equipment.
  • Wash out your garbage cans.
  • Rinse down the patio and driveway.
  • Use it to flush toilets, pouring it directly into the bowl rather than the tank.
  • Store it for later use in barrels or clean trash cans.

Is It Safe to Use Recycled Spa Water on Vegetables and Other Edible Plants?

We do not recommend using your old spa water on your vegetable garden.

Are There Restrictions Governing How I Recycle Water?

Potentially, yes. All recycled water uses are ultimately governed by local jurisdictions, and those take precedence over any of the above suggestions.

After using your spa’s water for months to treat tired muscles, relieve pain and help you rejuvenate, you can potentially get even more use from that water. And that makes your hot tub one the most efficient water users in your home.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

As we learn more and more about water conservation efforts, we’d like to hear how you’re taking action. Are you already conserving or recycling water in your home? Would you make the effort to use recycled hot tub water for decorative plants that aren’t getting enough moisture?

We’re also very interested in what other uses you can think of for your recycled spa water. Please leave us a comment so others can take advantage of your ideas. Thank you! 

Interested in pricing information? Click here!

Would you like to download a free Caldera brochure? Click here!

Is A Test Soak Helpful Before Buying A Hot Tub?

Is A Test Soak Helpful Before Buying A Hot Tub?

At first, it seems a little odd – you narrow down the list of hot tubs you’re interested in, then go to the dealer, slip into your swimsuit and climb into a hot tub, right there on the showroom floor.

If your dealer offers a test soak, take advantage of it. It’s a great way to understand what you’re buying and to compare models you’re considering.

Of course, there are many factors to consider when learning about hot tub options, including brand reputation, quality, energy efficiency, customer service, warranty and projected daily operating costs. However, some impressions are best realized through experience.

OK, I’m in. It Feels Great. Now What?

Sure, enjoy the sensation and see how it feels to relax deeply. But you’re here to learn far more than that.

Here’s what to look for as you test a hot tub:

  1. How powerful are the jets? You may not always want a deep tissue massage, but when you do, you need powerful motors to deliver it.
  2. How easy is it to adjust the massage jets? Can you easily dial in the massage you want at that moment from gentle and soothing to one that works a muscle deeply?
  3. Are the seats comfortable and do they fit your body type?
  4. Can you sit stationary in the seat as you relax, are there foot ridges, or do you tend to float out of it (which causes you to constantly engage muscles rather than relaxing them)?
  5. Are there options for different types of massage in different seats for different parts of the body?
  6. Do the jets massage major muscle groups? Are they directionally adjustable so that you can customize the massage to your needs?
  7. Are the controls within easy reach and easy to adjust? Test any features the model has or any optional features you’re considering.
  8. What’s your most likely massage need? Yes, look for a model that can work all parts of your body, but if you have a problem area, make sure the spa will deliver.

What Else Should I Know?

  1. Test more than one spa! Every spa will probably feel great at first, but there are huge differences that you won’t notice until you experience a spa in action and then compare. If possible, test your options on the same day so that the experience and memory are fresh.
  2. Don’t be seduced by appearance. Just because a spa has dozens and dozens of shiny jets doesn’t mean it will perform well. If it doesn’t have a powerful enough motor to deliver a deep massage, you’ll eventually be disappointed. Remember, you can always get a gentle massage from powerful jets. But you’ll never get a powerful massage from underperforming motors.

Caldera Spas dealers nationwide will help you at every stage of the shopping and preparation process. To find a Caldera Spas hot tub dealer visit http://www.calderaspas.com/shopping-tools/find-dealer. Once you’ve found one near you, don’t forget the test soak.

What Do You Think?

We’ve outlined some reasons taking a test soak is a great idea. So would you? How comfortable are you testing out a hot tub in a dealer’s showroom? Would you prefer to take the soak with someone, and if so, who? A family member? A friend? And when you take a soak, which features are the most important to you?

We’d love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment and tell us how you might approach a test soak. Thank you!

Interested in pricing information? Click here!

Would you like to download a free Caldera brochure? Click here!

Invest In Your Wellness Success –20-Minutes at a Time

Invest In Your Wellness Success –20-Minutes at a Time

When life gets busy—and it always does—it’s easy to let our wellness routines become anything but routine.

And while taking some time for ourselves can be a challenge, it doesn’t have to become an afterthought.  Activities like exercise, meditation and personal reflection may very well be the missing ingredient to jump-starting productivity and regaining a positive outlook on our day-to-day lives.

The next time your schedule has you feeling out-of-sorts or maybe just a little overwhelmed, remember to carve out some time for you. Try challenging yourself to one of the activities below – they’re only 20-minutes and the benefits will truly start to add up. These quick breaks are perfect for weaving into a busy schedule and will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever life has in store.   Give it a try. Whether you make time for one or time for four, the important thing is you’re taking control by making time for what’s important. You.

Here are a few ideas to start with, but remember to choose what makes you feel the best.

20-Minute Spa Session

Give your body the renewal it craves.

  •    Release muscle tension and relieve joint pain
  •    Improve circulation by 102{d08558500d8945c62f975d7fb1313ca24132852f79c1e304564c6cb4e5b45d98}
  •    Flush toxins out of the body

http://www.calderaspas.com/health-wellness/20-minute-renewal/power-water-top-5-benefits-water-immersion

http://www.calderaspas.com/health-wellness/power-warm-water

http://www.calderaspas.com/health-wellness/20-minute-renewal/live-dry-recover-wet-magic-hot-tub-hydrotherapy

http://www.calderaspas.com/health-wellness/20-minute-renewal/live-dry-recover-wet-magic-hot-tub-hydrotherapy

20-Minute Walk, Hike or Run

Get out there and soak in the sun.

  • Burn 75 calories by walking just 2 mph
  • Reduce stress and improve your mood with the release of endorphins
  • Improve bone health with Vitamin D from the sun

http://www.calderaspas.com/health-wellness/20-minute-renewal/walk-little-faster-burn-lot-more-calories

http://www.tescoliving.com/health-and-wellbeing/fitness/2013/october/top-10-health-benefits-of-walking-everyday

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php

20-Minute Meditation

Find a little inner peace.

  • Manage stress and reduce blood pressure
  • Improve focus throughout the day
  • Sleep deeper and go to sleep faster

http://www.calderaspas.com/health-wellness/20-minute-renewal/need-relax-take-deep-breath-or-several

http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/meditation/objectives.aspx

http://www.project-meditation.org/a_wim1/statistics_on_people_who_meditate.html

http://blog.bufferapp.com/how-meditation-affects-your-brain

20-Minute Yoga Session

Get in shape and loosen up those muscles.

  • Release muscle tension.
  • Build strength and gain flexibility
  • Reduce cytokine by 41{d08558500d8945c62f975d7fb1313ca24132852f79c1e304564c6cb4e5b45d98} to energize and boost mood

http://blogs.yogajournal.com/goodlife/archives/2011/07/5-surprising-benefits-of-yoga.html

http://www.self.com/body/fitness/2012/03/benefits-of-yoga-slideshow/7

20-Minute Mind Challenge

Sharpen your mind with brain-teasers and logic puzzles.

  • Improve your memory.
  • Develop your logic and reasoning skills
  • Increase focus and strengthen concentration

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/16/improve-memory-tricks_n_3922173.html

http://www.savingadvice.com/articles/2012/05/02/1010311_11-reasons-to-do-jigsaw-puzzle.html

 

20-Minute Reflection

Write a story, poem, or journal entry about your day.

  • Enhance your memory with expressive writing
  • Get a handle on stress by venting your emotions
  • Enjoy the benefits of having a record of your life

http://lifehacker.com/why-you-should-keep-a-journal-and-how-to-start-yours-1547057185

http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/reduce-stress-through-journaling/

http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/11/5/338.full

Share these wellness challenges with your friends and family – just use the sharing icons below. What challenges will you take on? Tell us in the comments below.

To Stay Connected, Try Being Less “Connected”

To Stay Connected, Try Being Less “Connected”

When people talk about staying connected to one another these days, we tend to think first of social media.

With Facebook and Twitter, we can stay connected all day, every day. In fact, you’ll learn what people are having for breakfast, where they’re “checking in” and see adorable photos of their pets drinking from the toilet. And after a while, a gnawing realization begins to sink in.

Ready for it?

Having information about someone is NOT the same as being connected to them. Getting together and looking in someone’s face for even a few minutes trumps months of social media. That’s not to say social media is bad. But it should be put aside for the real thing now and then.

Toyota did an ad for its Venza a while back that is the prefect embodiment of that idea. A young woman complains that her parents only have 19 friends on Facebook, while she has 687. As she sits alone in front of her laptop, she says in a monotone voice, “This is living.” Meanwhile, the ad cuts to scenes of her parents mountain biking with just a few of their living, breathing friends.

If you really want to stay connected, realize that it takes some time and effort. After all, this person is your friend, right? Remember, a Facebook “friend” is not the same as a friend.

Here are a couple ideas, most of which used to be painfully obvious.

Resist the urge to text

Pick up the phone and call when you have time and when you’re not on the run. Don’t try to catch up while you’re driving the kids to soccer (for everyone’s benefit). Do it when you can concentrate only on that conversation. Speak with and listen to and honest-to-goodness human voice.

Write a letter

Not a wall posting. Not a tweet. Not an email. While an old-school email is better than the first two, why not go older school? When’s the last time you got a letter in the mail? These days, it can be an amazing personal gesture.

Keep a calendar with birthdays, just like mom used to do

Or at the very least, keep birthdays on your electronic calendar and have it alert you several days ahead of time. Send a printed birthday card with a handwritten note. A small, inexpensive gift is also a good way to let someone know they’re important to you. Compare that to posting “Happy BD!” on their wall with the other 686 friends.

Go have coffee at a coffee shop

Yes it takes time, and yes, you have to fit it into your schedule, and yes, it’s hard to find that time to fit it into your schedule. THAT’S THE POINT!

Many people connect to old friends through LinkedIn

It’s a fantastic way to break through the ice formed over many years. But aren’t you disappointed when you receive the auto-invite from them? Personally, I find it insulting, lazy and insincere. Really, how genuine can you possibly be when you push a button that immediately produces the line “.… I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” Oh, please. Yes, you can write your own personal invitation, and no, it’s not difficult to figure out how. After you’ve connected, take the opportunity to continue communicating.

Execute a drive-by baking

Or as Betty used to say, “Bake Someone Happy.” Four cupcakes and a note left on the front porch can make someone’s day. Put the treat in a container to keep from feeding the neighbor’s cat. You’ll have to get your container back later. By the way, that’s a positive, not a negative.

Food is the original social medium

Sure, you already have people over for dinner, so mix it up a bit.  Why not a few friends for a laid-back, participatory dinner. A taco bar, for example. Or hoagie bar or a pizza bar (personal pizzas made on the grill). Open cold beverages and get caught up. No sweat.

Movie night

Invite a friend over for a movie. If you can borrow a digital projector from work and show a movie on the wall, that can make the event feel unique.

Go for a walk

If you live near your friend (which certainly doesn’t imply staying connected any more), go for a walk. You’ll get some exercise while you get caught up.

Once you get rolling, you’ll have your own ideas. Still, the essential point is to show you’ve taken the effort to connect, one friend to one friend. Whether it’s through a gesture or a personal get-together, you’ll have broken through and re-energized a friendship and reminded one another why you became friends in the first place.

Family Fun: Connection & Conversation in the Hot Tub

Family Fun: Connection & Conversation in the Hot Tub

In this day and age of texting, Facebook, smartphones and the Internet, it becomes harder to unplug and spend quality time with people you love.

Or at least it is for me. Anyone else? Various studies (a few which are outlined in this Forbes article) describe how being constantly “plugged in” takes a toll on us physically, emotionally, and relationally, which can make it hard to connect in person, even with those living in the same house!

One way to recharge relations is spending quality time together in a spa. Caldera spa owners have shared that their hot tub inevitability becomes a family gathering place and conduit for conversation. Sans devices, the warm water becomes a safe haven for honesty and bonding. Caldera owners can hardly believe the positive effects a hot tub naturally has in bringing their own families together (see below).

“Another great benefit was getting the family unplugged and all together, just to talk and hear about their day as we soak in the spa. Every family needs some time like that and this product helped bring us together.”
– JM13 from New Hampshire

“This was a great choice for my family of 5. We use it 3-4 days a week. Gives us time to have family time.”
-Fdkfenn from Connecticut

Once a routine focused around meeting in your hot tub is established, conversation will spark naturally. To maximize the time together as a couple or a family, we’ve listed a few of our favorite communication tools from various experts.

Group Reflection

As an evening ritual, gather everyone in the hot tub, and ask them to share the highlight of their day, as well as a low point or challenge. Then, invite each family member to share if they need help accomplishing a goal. This could be anything from making lunches for the next day, to picking up supplies for a science project, or reading a bedtime story. Communication rituals that focus on each member of the family cultivate connection and bring everyone closer together, according to Barbara Fiese, PhD., Chair of Psychology Department at the University of Syracuse.

Ask Feeling Questions

Instead of just asking questions about school, friends or events, ask how that experience made them feel. Kids want to feel that their voices, opinions and feelings matter. By asking “how did you feel about that” you will likely get the answer you are really interested in, and your children will share more than you ever expected.

Communicate Respect in Times of Conflict

Hot tub time is an opportunity to model appropriate behavior when it comes to having a different opinion. When disagreements arise, institute a rule that responses must be communicated in the following way: “While I respect your opinion that [summarize the opposing view], in my experience [communicate perspective].” Sara Gable, a specialist in Human Development indicates that maintaining this respect, will allow you to also maintain your relationship with your child, especially through their teenage years.

Communicate by Listening

Remember being a teenager and ranting about your parents not listening or understanding your viewpoints? The one and only perspective that mattered was yours. Although your role in the situation has changed now, your teenager’s need to be heard has not. Instead of interrupting with your opinions, answers or solutions, listen. Family counselor, Carol Maxym, PhD, recommends a “50{d08558500d8945c62f975d7fb1313ca24132852f79c1e304564c6cb4e5b45d98} rule” where parents limit what they would normally say by 50{d08558500d8945c62f975d7fb1313ca24132852f79c1e304564c6cb4e5b45d98}. By focusing on listening to how a child describes their day and their feelings, you have the opportunity to better acknowledge their experience.

With these tips in mind, implement a schedule and aim for at least a few 20-minute sessions in the hot tub with your family each week with no technology. Have you seen communication thrive during your time in a hot tub? We’d love to hear your story in the comments below!