In addition, walk in bathtubs have U or V-shaped doors that open and close. This makes it very easy for an elderly or disabled person who is not steady on their feet to stroll in. The bather won’t have to lift their legs over the 15″- 20″ edge (or higher) of a traditional tub. In fact, you can install some walk in tubs where the base of the door is level with the bathroom floor.
A huge benefit of walk in bathtubs is that it allows for full body submersion. So the elderly or disabled person can just lay back and enjoy a soothing bath. They might find it very difficult to do this in a traditional bathtub.
A walk in bathtub is not as long as a traditional tub, but it is about twice as deep. So the design not only allows the bather to get a nice deep soaking, but they have easy access to controls and fixtures to ajust the water level or to take a shower if that’s what they’re more in the mood for.
You might be surprised to know that walk in bathtubs have only been around for about 25 years or so. But their popularity is growing quickly. They’re no longer ugly and clunky behemoths that look like they should be hidden away. You can find them in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, types, and prices. Plus, you can get them with all kinds of cool features such as water jets. It wouldn’t surprise me if walk in bathtubs eventually become a highly desired item by those who don’t have any physical challenges.
As you perform your search for a walk in bathtub, you’ll find them referred to by several names. You’ll come across names such as elderly bathtubs, senior bathtubs, slide-in bathtubs, handicap bathtubs, safety bathtubs, stroll-in bathtubs, etc. This is partially due to the design of the door panel or styling, but more likely it is simply the manufacturer’s preference. As an example, someone who is confined to a wheelchair may prefer the design of a slide-in tub. These have wider door panels and the threshold (or step in) access will be a little higher than that of standard walk in bathtubs.
This bring me to my next point. When trying to decide on the “best” walk or step in bathtub to buy, you can narrow your choices by first knowing the physical and mobility limitations of the handicapped person. If the person only has minor mobility issues then they may enjoy a tub with high walls and the standard door, and with a normal step-in threshold.
But if their mobility is a bit more challenging, then perhaps they’ll need to tub where they don’t have to step up by more than an inch or two. Finally, someone who requires the assistance of a nurse or aide to take a bath may find that a tub with a wide door is the way to go. And if the doctor has suggested that the handicapped person could benefit from hydrotherapy treatment, the tub can be outfitted with water jets.
I’ve mentioned the door a couple of times because of it’s importance. When evaluating walk in bathtubs, make sure that the watertight door is configured for easy operation with one hand. The last thing you want to do is struggle with opening an closing the darn door. And regardless of whether the door opens inwardly or outwardly, many manufactures can install it so that it accommodates a left-handed or right-handed individual.
Therapeutic Benefits of Walk In Bathtubs
Whether recommended by a doctor or not, many people with handicaps or mobility issues can benefit from water therapy to improve circulation and certain illnesses. This is technically known as hydrotherapy and it’s been around for centuries. In the old days, such water treatments consisted of hot baths that contained healing oils and flowers.
Today, handicap bathtubs equipped with water or air jets and whirlpool features can provide hydrotherapy treatment. The jets are located in strategic spots throughout the tub. The swirling nature of the water helps to increase blood flow in the legs. This is important for disabled people who are prone to getting bed sores and chair sores on their backsides. Improving blood circulation will also reduce possible blood clotting that may occur over time. Of course, the beauty of it all is that the handicapped person can receive this treatment without leaving their home. No need to visit a hospital or treatment center.
But even if a doctor doesn’t prescribe hydrotherapy, you can still enjoy it’s benefits. Soaking in hot or warm circulating water will give you many of the same benefits that you would get from a massage. Your muscles will become more relaxed and the stress will melt away. And if you have arthritis, tendonitis, mutliple sclerosis, or any inflammation in your joints, you’ll be helped.
Similarly, if the handicapped person is recovering from a stroke, accident or other trauma, studies have shown that it works wonders. It can also reduce headaches, help you sleep better, detoxify your body and strengthen your immune system. Now that I’ve pronounced all these wonderful benefits, there are some people who just don’t feel comfortable in a whirlpool, even though they can adjust the force of the swirling water. So make sure you’re not one of these people because adding water jets to your walk in bathtub will increase it’s price tag by a nice chunk.
The theraputic benefits of walk in bathtubs don’t end with just hydrotherapy. There are some fun new options that manufacturers are offering. So if you want to go out all, you can add-on Aromatherapy and Chromatherapy features.
Aromatherapy uses the essential oils of plants to help improve a person’s mental state, mood, and health. It too is a form of alternative medicine that has been around for centuries. This is a treatment that you’ll commonly find in professional spas. While many people who practice aromatherapy swear they’ve seen it work, the scientific community has not studied it enough to render a firm judgement. For your walk in bathtub, the aromatherapy oil will be loaded into a diffuser that is placed in a slot on the tub. Heat from the tub will cause the oil to release pleasants scents into the air with the intent to sooth and heal your mind, body, and spirit.
Chromatherapy is another form of alternative medicine. It uses color and light. For example, the color blue is associated with the ears, throat, and mouth. The color green is associated with the heart and lungs. It was quite common for ancient Indian, Egyptian, and Chinese cultures to use chromatherapy for healing and mood alteration.
The scientific community is a bit skeptical about the benefits derived from this type of treatment. But again, there are practioners who say that it works. They say that color and light can bring a body part back into balance and heal what ails it. I don’t know if it works, but when I’m in a room that’s painted my favorite color or wear my favorite color shirt, I do seem to feel a little better. If you get this option for your walk in bathtub, it will consist of an LED lighting system that will illuminate your bath. You can set the system to show one color or to rotate through the entire spectrum of eight colors.
I’m sure you’re amazed at how far walk in bathtubs have come with their therapeutic options. But there’s something very important you should keep in mind. If you suffer from seizures, have a complicated health condition, or are pregnant don’t use the features in walk in bathtubs without first consulting a physician.