There are a lot of great things about hot tubs, the buoyancy helps to open up joints and the heat dilates your capillaries, and together that helps flush toxins from your joints and muscles. The hot water helps release the body's natural endorphins and that helps relieve pain and studies show regular immersion in hot water can even extend your life!
Or how about the entertainment and fun of hanging out with friends and family in a mass of swirling hot water! Then there is the relaxation side where the combined benefits of the hot water and peace & quiet can mean a big reduction in stress levels... assuming the tub build quality is good and not creating stress with constant faults and repair bills!
There are a ton of great reasons to spend some of your recreation dollars on a hot tub but what about the Massage value?
Whilst almost any well-built hot tub will supply the other benefits, there are very few hot tubs that really kick-ass and offer a really high-end therapy massage experience! The marketing would have you believe it's the number of pumps! or the number of jets! or the contour of the seating, or some special jet that only they can give you, or individual seat controls, or sequencers... But the reality is none of these things are any more than sidetrack issues when it comes to finding a really top-end therapy massage spa!
So what do you look for in a hot tub if you specifically want a great massage?
Well, it turns out what you don't need is the bullshit marketing, the fancy proprietary jets, or a massive number of pumps... Oh and the used car salesman type who gets you to hold your hand in front of the tiny little low flow jets so you can feel the pressure, is lying to you :-)
When it comes to High-end Therapy massage it's the size of the jet that matters!!!
Those cheap little jets that feel like they are going to be good are not, they are high pressure but super low flow rates, in other words, the amount of water coming out is tiny and it's like being poked by a pencil! so when you hold your hand in front of it it "feels powerful" but the reality is it's not flowing enough water to move the whole muscle mass and that means for long-term muscle tension it's going to do very little...
So here is the Truth!
Those dinky little jets you see in most tubs are useless and cheap - they cost like $10 and although they feel powerful because they are high pressure, they are super low flow... so there is just a pencil-sized stream of water, which means you don't need big pumps or flow control systems to power them. In other words, it's a cheap way to make a tub look and even feel like a good therapy massage spa.
Now when you start to see the larger 3.5" and the big 5" jets you are getting into real expensive high flow therapy massage jets and the more of these larger jets you see means that not only is the price a lot higher but the quality of massage is as well :-) Especially for big muscle masses like neck and shoulders or for really tough old bits like yer feet! If the hot tub you are looking at has a "foot jet system" and there are just some little low-flow jets forget it... if your "neck jet system" is 3 or 4 of the small jets forget it!!! Those tubs are not going to give you any decent long-term muscle tension relief! In other words, they are not going to give you a therapeutic massage!
So what does all this mean? It's simple!!!! look at the overhead picture and count the jets, big = good massage, if there are a lot of big then you need flow control (diverter valves) on big pumps NOT MORE PUMPS! Big pumps are more efficient and that means more water flow, fewer large pumps also mean you can divert a whole big pump to the seat!!! If you have 3 or 4 pumps those are going to be smaller pumps and will really limit the amount of water you can flow through a seat...
So here we go!!!
The Top 5 Therapy massage spas in the world in my opinion are: