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A hydrotherapy pool blends water and massaging jets to provide the ultimate well-being experience in spas, sport and wellness centers, as well as in hotels and resorts

The therapeutic and healing properties of water have been well known by a multitude of cultures across history. Harnessing the power of water and enhancing it through state-of-the-art technology, current hydrotherapy pool options have turned these aquatic facilities into the favorite spot for spa, wellness and sport users, as well as hotels and resorts.

What are the present-day possibilities in hydrotherapy pool design and the main benefits of incorporating one into a recreational and relaxing space? Keep reading to find out.

What is a hydrotherapy pool and types

Usually warm, soothing and invigorating at the same time, a hydrotherapy pool tends to become the heart of any thermal facilities and aquatic spaces. As a common feature in spas, wellness centers, sport clubs, hotels and resorts, they represent a highly appreciated pool for users.

There are various elements that differentiate hydrotherapy pools from other types of aquatic facilities: they are usually kept at a temperature of around 33ºC to 36ºC (warmer than a regular indoor swimming pool); additionally, they present built-in massaging jets and other water features to boost wellness and relaxation.

It’s important to comprehend ‘hydrotherapy’ as a holistic concept and treatment which is often recommended by doctors and other health professionals to provide aid for a range of conditions. In such a context, hydrotherapy refers to a series of activities and exercises undertaken in specially-designed pools that harness the therapeutic and healing properties of water to provide relief and health from an all-around perspective.

There are different types of hydrotherapy pools:

  • The most common is the so-called vitality pool, an aquatic installation that combines water effects (such as waterfalls or cervical massages) with air effects (such as hydromassage beds) providing a complete wellness experience.
  • Hot tubs and whirlpools are based around water movement and are usually shallower than standard swimming pools. In order to make the most of the healing properties of water, these installations use pumps and jets to make hot water circulate.
  • While hot water is the most commonly used in thermal wellness experiences, some hydrotherapy pools use cold water to provide temperature contrasts. This includes the well-known cold plunges, which provide numerous health benefits.
Hydrotherapy pools benefits

A hydrotherapy pool is largely targeted towards achieving therapeutic and health benefits. Through a combination of warm water and massaging jets, this aquatic facility provides the following advantages for the body and the mind:

  • Instant relief and soothing for aching muscles and joint pain. Hydrotherapy is a great choice for recovery processes after workout and sport sessions, providing the perfect ending by relieving stress and muscular tension. This is also the reason why hydrotherapy can be beneficial for patients suffering from arthritis.
  • Jets help stimulate the lymphatic system and assist in flushing out toxins.
  • They provide help with circulatory issues.
  • Chronic pain patients can also benefit from hydrotherapy sessions.
  • It can provide relief for headaches.
  • It’s often associated with improvements in mental health conditions such as stress and anxiety.
  • Guided hydrotherapy sessions are prescribed by both doctors and physiotherapists to improve mobility, function and strength recoveries. More specifically, they can help in rehabilitation processes for limb injuries, hip replacements, neurological conditions, and more advanced back problems, including ankylosing spondylitis. However, people suffering from these particular medical conditions should seek professional advice before using a hydrotherapy pool (or any spa facilities) so that any potentially risky situation is avoided.

As these benefits are increasingly recognised, different types of businesses see the positive outcomes of including a hydrotherapy pool in their facilities. From wellness centers to sport clubs, spas, hotels and resorts, a hydrotherapy pool provides a quick return on investment as this facility expands its offer and appeals to a wide and varied type of guests.

While leisure pools can be a crucial point of attraction for certain types of businesses (especially family-oriented ones), hydrotherapy installations contribute to a distinctive and more exclusive atmosphere that targets other types of public. Nonetheless, pool design developments today facilitate the design of child-friendly spas.

Furthermore, the possibility of choosing multiple alternatives in terms of size, shapes and colors in hydrotherapy pools can take branding options further for businesses, given that they may build a coherent mood that enhances users’ experiences as well as the company’s visual identity.

Additionally, with the development of automated systems based on remote control, these systems’ management is completely user-friendly, efficient and sustainable, which will provide savings to the operator.

Key elements to design a hydrotherapy pool

Designing a hydrotherapy pool must involve a number of processes and requirements in order to guarantee an optimal functioning while incorporating all current possibilities. The following elements are, indeed, crucial:

Pool size

The size of the pool is the first key thing that must be taken into consideration, as it firstly determines budget requirements and the number of additional elements that can be incorporated (from benches to water jets and hydromassage effects, among many others).

Typically, a hydrotherapy pool is between 1.2m and 1.5m deep. Width and length are variable and can adjust to each project and client’s needs.

Space for the technical room

At this point, pool designers must make sure there’s enough space for the required technical room and environmental controls, needed in every hydrotherapy pool for its correct management.

Usually, the size of the technical room is directly linked to the pool size – the bigger the pool, the bigger they are. Besides, this space will ideally be as close as possible to the pool. This makes servicing easier and enhances performance of elements such as pumps, shorter networks, and so on.

In-ground or above-ground locations

A hydrotherapy pool can be installed above ground, in-ground, or partially in-ground, being different in terms of comfort, accessibility and aesthetics. Additionally, for each of these options, separate design requirements must be considered.

For instance, pools that are installed completely flush with the ground normally take longer to be installed, and require a bigger hole to be dug out. On the contrary, if the pool is being installed above ground, less planning is needed.


Today, hydrotherapy pools can be made in a wide variety of materials, all of which translate into particular benefits and requirements in terms of construction times and preparation.

For instance, a tiled pool will mean a significantly longer construction time, because the concrete that is required extends installation times and also needs to be treated. On the other hand, some materials such as stainless steel tend to take longer in terms of manufacturing but are easily and quickly installed. The additional benefit of using custom-made stainless steel pieces should also be considered when it comes to picking materials for a hydrotherapy pool.

Additional features

Jet spas, access steps, lounging positions, and even built-in treadmills are some of the additional features that can be incorporated to make a hydrotherapy pool stand out. These possibilities must be thought of at the design stage, taking the pool’s additional value to the next level while also giving pool suppliers a more exact idea in terms of budget and the pool’s final look.

Water turnover

Water recirculation times may vary according to national regulations in the pool’s location, as well as the pool’s size and its projected use in terms of number of users, continuity and intensity, among other factors.

Water treatment

A perfect pool experience can only be guaranteed if the right water treatment systems are incorporated so that water is kept in optimal conditions, ensuring users’ comfort and health.

While traditional filtration systems have provided disinfection through conventional dosification systems with chlorine, more efficient and sustainable current systems such as Freepool2 or Neolysis use a combination of UV technology with low salinity electrolysis.


As hydrotherapy pools are usually installed indoors, efficient air treatment systems must be guaranteed for dehumidification, in order to avoid undesired humidity increase as a result of pool water evaporating.

A range between 55-65% in humidity levels is recommended for a pleasant and hygienic environment, thus reducing the proliferation of pathogens and maintaining the installation in adequate conditions for longer.

Heating and cooling

Swimming pool temperature is key for pool operators to guarantee pleasant experiences for their users as well as adequate safety, hygiene and efficiency. While there are multiple heating and cooling solutions that can provide the right swimming pool temperature, heat pumps (such as Zodiac’s Z950 and ProHeat II) provide an ideal solution in terms of energy efficiency and cost reduction.

Additional tips for hydrotherapy pool users
  • Just like other aquatic facilities, hydrotherapy pools should be avoided during digestive processes. It’s also not advisable to use hydro pools while drinking alcohol, which can cause risks such as dehydration.
  • Pregnant women should avoid hydrotherapy pools as they are based on heat, and also present additional risks such as water jets and slippery surfaces.
  • People with cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, respiratory infections or those who have undergone recent surgeries must consult their doctors before using hydrotherapy pools. For further prevention, they should also let pool staff know about their medical issues.
  • Drinking water and having food ready is advisable after a hydrotherapy session. The effect of hydrotherapy sessions may fluctuate between relaxing and invigorating, so that users may then turn to a successful gym visit or a relaxing time accompanied by a healthy meal.

All in all, taking a dip at a hydrotherapy pool provides a total body and mind experience focused on wellness and health. Installed in spas, wellness centers, recovery centers, sport clubs, hotels and resorts, this water facility will delight health-oriented users and become part of their routines in achieving an overall well-being.

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