Warm up, re­lax in your own back­yard spa

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Homespot - Broward East - - LIVING G SPACES - By Kathryn We­ber

Tri­bune Con­tent Agency Say whatyou

want about the kitschy­ness of a hot tub, ski re­sorts know there’s no bet­ter way to warm up and soothe aching mus­cles af­ter a long day on the slopes. So, why not en­joy a dip in your own back­yard spa?

The ben­e­fits

Hot tubs are won­der­ful if you ex­er­cise fre­quently and they can be used into the sum­mer months. The warm wa­ter can ease sore­ness. In fact, people with arthri­tis of­ten re­port bet­ter re­lief from hot wa­ter than pain re­liev­ers. Al­most ev­ery­one agrees that re­lax­ing in a hot tub is a great way to wind down from a hec­tic day. Time in a hot tub can also in­sure bet­ter, more

rest­ful sleep.

In some states, your doc­tor can write a pre­scrip­tion for a hot tub to help you deal with cer­tain med­i­cal con­di­tions. In Texas, a pre­scrip­tion will ex­empt the hot tub from sales tax. Check with your health in­sur­ance car­rier for de­tails.

Hot tub or spa?

To the lay­man, spas are typ­i­cally called “hot tubs.” In the in­dus­try, though, hot tubs are called spas. Spas are a lot like cars; you can get them in mod­els rang­ing from the most ba­sic to mod­els with lights, stereo, and spe­cial mas­sag­ing seats. Once upon a time, hot tubs were time-con­sum­ing to keep and main­tain, but now re­quire min­i­mal main­te­nance.

Where to buy

Your lo­cal spa re­tailer should be your first stop. Of­ten, re­tail­ers can match prices of­fered on the In­ter­net, and if they can’t, see if they’ll ser­vice your spa if you have prob­lems. There are no bar­gains on the In­ter­net if you can’t find some­one to do re­pairs. Some hot tubs can be pur­chased, de­liv­ered and in­stalled; all you have to do is fill and plug in.

Make sure you un­der­stand ex­actly what the com­pany will and won’t pro­vide be­fore buy­ing a spa. It’s also es­sen­tial to buy a hot tub cover. Splurge and get the lift­ing mech­a­nism so re­mov­ing the cover is easy. An­other nice splurge: Light­ing. You’ll be able to en­joy a nighttime dip eas­ier, plus you’ll be able see bet­ter get­ting in or out of the spa.

If you plan to put a spa on your deck, dou­ble check be­fore buy­ing to make sure the unit you want is not too heavy. And think about how it will look. A hot tub doesn’t have to be a huge, bulky hunk of plas­tic plopped down in the mid­dle of the back yard. There are lots of ways to cus­tom­ize a spa to make it more at­trac­tive. Sur­rounded by land­scap­ing or built into the deck, your hot tub can be­come a fo­cal point. Con­sider adding a fire pit or fire­place nearby to cre­ate a cozy win­ter re­treat.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Kathryn We­ber through her Web site, www.red­lo­tuslet­ter.com.

(c) 2013 Kathryn We­ber. Dis­trib­uted by Tri­buneCon­tent Agency, LLC.

Re­lax­ing in a hot tub is a great way to wind down year-round, and even can pro­mote bet­ter, more rest­ful, sleep.

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