Choosing the Best Hydrotherapy System

Choosing the right Hydrotherapy bath can be challenging, especially if you haven’t previously owned one. We’ve spent decades designing and manufacturing luxury jetted tubs so, in this section, we’ve listed what we believe are the most important factors to consider when making a selection. Taking the time to get it right is important; the best Hydrotherapy systems will deliver excellent value for money and years of trouble-free relaxation. In a relatively short time, they should also yield appreciable benefits to health.

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Key Features of the Best Hydrotherapy Baths

The single most important rule is to select a bath that has been designed from the outset to be fitted with a Hydrotherapy system. Such baths will invariably perform far better than baths that are merely good looking and to which a Hydrotherapy system might be fitted as an ‘afterthought’. All but five of our baths have been specifically designed to accommodate Hydrotherapy systems and their associated controls.

A bath tub designed with Hydrotherapy in mind will generally be narrower rather than wider – so as to place the bath bowl walls nearer the bather’s body. This reduces the distance between the jets and the target zones on the bather’s body. The best Hydrotherapy baths will also feature appropriate deck surfaces to accommodate the system controls, and an angled slope at the bather’s back – one that is comfortably supportive and requires no contortion on the bather’s part.

Photo showing six key pressure points on a bather's back.

The perfect Hydrotherapy system must be carefully tailored to the user’s physique.

Positioning of Jets

Since a jetted bath tub will only work effectively if it is designed to suit your personal needs and physical characteristics, the number and the placement of the jets should be agreed through detailed discussions. This will ensure that the jets can be accurately directed onto your target muscle groups, nerve centres and soft tissues.

Upper and lower back muscles, calves and thigh muscles, and the soles of the feet respond particularly well to massage as they contain important trigger points used in reflexology and acupuncture. An effective Hydrotherapy bathtub should, at the very least, have several well positioned water jets that target these areas.

Note that the number of jets can be varied between a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 32. The number is dependent upon the bath’s size and, of course, the user’s personal requirements.

Jets should never deliberately be directed onto bone as there could be a risk of bruising.

Where more than one person will be regularly using the Hydrotherapy system, we will be pleased to advise on the most effective location of the jets. How many are required and where they are placed will vary from individual to individual but our specialist designers will be able to propose solutions that work well for two regular users.

 

One size does not fit all: the number and position of hydrotherapy jets should be designed to suit the individual customer.

One size does not fit all: the number and position of Hydrotherapy jets should be designed to suit the individual customer.

 

The Interior of a Hydrotherapy bath, showing the popular 'six' pattern of jets for the back at the far end. This is sometimes increased to eight jets, as shown in the photograph below.

The Interior of a Hydrotherapy bath, showing the popular ‘six’ pattern of jets for the back at the far end. This is sometimes increased to eight jets, as shown in the photograph below.

 

Low-profile hydrotherapy jets set into a pattern that is custom-designed to target the bather’s upper and lower back and lower neck muscles.

Low-profile Hydrotherapy jets set into a pattern that is custom-designed to target the bather’s upper and lower back and lower neck muscles.

We believe in recommending only the minimum number of jets to do the intended job. There is no point in adding jets to just make ‘frothy’ water. Each jet should be placed according to its designated target on the body.

For further specific detail on the placement of jets for effective hydro-massage, please refer to the independent, introductory booklet entitled ‘The A-Z of Hydrotherapy’. (PDF format, 351kb.) This may be downloaded or viewed / printed online.

Jet Design

In addition to being placed where they are the most therapeutically effective for the user, Hydrotherapy jets should be set flush with the bathtub’s surface. A bath with many small protrusions is unlikely ever to be comfortable, so check before you buy. Likewise, look for Hydrotherapy baths that feature ‘eyeball’ style jets. The direction of each can be adjusted manually, without the need for tools, to aim the water’s pressure precisely where it’s needed.

Please note that jets must be fitted in pairs in order to balance the system and its effect on the bather.

 

A flush-fitting ‘eyeball’ style jet fitted by Cabuchon. Easily swivelled,  it will direct the water/air stream precisely where it is needed.

A flush-fitting ‘eyeball’ style jet fitted by Cabuchon. Easily swivelled through 45 degrees, it will direct the mixed water/air stream precisely where it is needed. Note that this is a side jet. The back jets, as shown in the pictures above, are smaller.

 

A flush-fitting hydrotherapy jet in action

The eyeball jets direct controllable streams of mixed water and air.

Cabuchon’s jets and controls can be produced in a choice of standard finishes: white, chrome or antique gold. Brushed nickel and other special finishes are available as bespoke options. They can all be positioned according to the customer’s wishes, provided that the location is consistent with good plumbing practices.

Controlling the Hydrotherapy Treatment

Make sure your intended Hydrotherapy bath tub allows you to vary and control the pressure of the water jets. It’s important that you should be able to use your bath to achieve a variety of effects – relaxing or invigorating the muscles according to your need. The best Hydrotherapy systems should be capable of delivering anything from a gentle massage to a vigorous toning effect. The option to adjust the pressure will allow you to use your bath for whichever effects you wish at any given time, so you won’t be limited to using one fixed setting that could quickly lose its novelty and appeal.

Electronic or Manual?

We offer a choice of electronic and manual Hydrotherapy systems. Both options include an integrated drainage sub-system which is unique to us. Both also feature low profile directional jets, rigid piping, near silent-running pumps, a buyer’s lifetime guarantee on piping and joints and, of course, a custom designed layout for its owner. Likewise, both types of systems are powered by pumps that are appropriate for the number of jets installed.

However, where budget permits, we would normally recommend the electronic systems. They are easier and more convenient to use and they offer a number of extra features that add greatly to the therapeutic value of the system. These include:

  • A simple 4-way electronic touchpad.
  • A level sensor. This prevents start-up if the water level is too low for the jets to operate effectively, and it automatically turns the system off if the water drops too low whilst the jets are operating.
  • A hot air booster. This offers a choice of seven levels of massage power, which can be raised or lowered according to need.
  • A hot air blow-dryer system which automatically switches on to dry the piping interior when the bath is drained.
  • An air zone diverter. Operated with a separate control, this gives the bather the opportunity to move a greater volume of air to one end or the other, or to keep the two ends in balance.
  • Greater power. Electronic systems are capable of delivering greater power to their jets and keep the bath water hot for longer.
  • The option of adding chromotherapy lighting.
Electronic hydrotherapy copntrols on the rim of a Cabuchon bath

Cabuchon luxury Hydrotherapy tubs come with a choice of electronic controls (above) or manual controls (below). Both controls are flush-fitting with the deck and control all the various Hydrotherapy functions.

Manual Hydrotherapy controls.

Manual Hydrotherapy controls.

As shown above, the manual systems have pneumatic on/off controls and two patented ‘silent’ adjustable air controls that vary the jet volume, each controlling one half of the tub.

Electronic controls include (left to right): a four-way hydrotherapy touch pad, a diverter and chromotherapy controls. (Not available on manual versions.)

Electronic controls include (left and centre): a four-way Hydrotherapy touch pad and an air diverter. Chromotherapy controls (right) are operated by a separate touch pad. (Chromotherapy is not available on manual versions.)

Each system is supplied fully fitted and plumbed to the bath. To operate, it then requires only connection to the water and to the electricity supply (via an RCD circuit breaker). Installation and operating instructions accompany each bath but, where required, we will happily send copies in advance.

Both electronic and manual systems can be fitted with an inline water heater, but only the electronic version can be used in conjunction with chromotherapy underwater lights. (See Enhancing the Hydrotherapy Experience.) They can both be installed with remote controls or with controls for a remote pump.

In short, the system can be made as simple or as sophisticated as personal needs, taste, budget and bathroom layout require.

Integrated Drainage and Hygiene

Some inferior types of whirlpool spa bath can leave water dribbling through their eyeball jet outlets when the system is switched off. Over time, this can lead to unsightly staining, particularly in ‘hard water’ areas. A high quality Hydrotherapy system should be designed so that when the system is switched off, all of the water remaining in it drains back through the pipework and out of the pump waste drain, rather than out into the bath tub itself. This prevents staining and the occurrence of unpleasant smells.

Hygiene

Importantly, good drainage is not merely a question of aesthetics; there are safety and hygiene considerations, too. Many cheaper systems use flexible piping, which may sag or leave low points where moisture or debris can accumulate. If the pipework remains wet between periods of use, there can be a risk of contamination by micro-organisms such as mould, algae and bacteria, which often thrive in warm, damp conditions. Cabuchon eliminates this problem by using only rigid piping and by fitting its own, specially designed drainage sub-system. This ensures that all water drains freely and completely through the pump waste. As a result, the system remains hygienic and the piping remains clear of residue.

 

A jetted bath tub being built in the Cabuchon factory. Note that all pipes are angled downwards to ensure the water drains freely to the pump. Please note, too, that the pump and all components are held within the bath rim perimeter and secured to a metal frame for easy transportation and installation.

A jetted bath tub being built in the Cabuchon factory. Note that all pipes are angled downwards to ensure the water drains freely to the pump. Please note, too, that the pump and all components are held within the bath rim perimeter and secured to a metal frame for easy transportation and installation.

For more information or advice about choosing the best Hydrotherapy system, please get in touch.

Quiet Operation

The relaxing effects of a Hydrotherapy system can be significantly undermined if the pump, pipes or jets are noisy when operating. Check that the system will operate quietly, without undue vibration or water noise in the pipes.

All Cabuchon Hydrotherapy baths incorporate a compact yet sturdy pump that will deliver all the power necessary with little more than a discreet hum. (The choice of pump varies according to the system’s size.) The jets are small, elegant and unobtrusive but, if you want it, they will typically deliver more force than any conventional spa tub.

The pumps used in Cabuchon’s luxury Hydrotherapy baths are noted for their quiet and efficient operation.

Noise and vibration can spoil a relaxing bath. Choose a hydrotherapy system that operates smoothly and quietly.

Noise and vibration can spoil a relaxing bath. Choose a Hydrotherapy system that operates smoothly and quietly.