The term hot tub originally referred to the wooden, barrel-shaped tubs, which became popular in the late 1960’s and early 1970s. Based on ancient roman and Asian hot water bathing ideas, early hot tubs were made from redwood or cedar.
These types of hot tubs were often very deep, and similar in style to a wine barrel, with steel hoops holding the boards in place. They used wood-fired heaters to varying degrees of success, and as they lacked a filtration system they were not very sanitary – but that didn’t seem to dampen people’s enthusiasm for them!
Add a Filter, Jets, Pumps & a Heater
When the industry began building hot tubs of molded fiberglass shells in the late 70’s they also added filters, jets, pumps, and heaters which heralded the birth of the modern-day “Spa”, “Portable Spa” & “Hydrotherapy Spa”.
The name change was partly to differentiate the new product from its wooden predecessors, and partly to emphasize the vast differences between an old-fashioned hot tub and a new Portable Spa. With the addition of a filtration system, the water was a lot cleaner and safer to soak in than ever before. Built-in heaters kept the water warm for longer periods of time so you could use the spa more. The inclusion of pumps and jets added a massage element to your hot water soak which helps with muscle and joint discomfort.
The word spa is often associated with a health resort or day spa which are commercial establishments where customers receive aesthetic services, like deep-tissue massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, body wraps, salt glows, and other pampering treatments. We at The Sundance Spa Store have received several phone calls over the years from people hoping to book a nail appointment with us, as they have mistaken the Spa Store for a day spa!
The term hot tub is therefore used to describe a spa tub with many strategically placed hydrotherapy jets to distinguish it from a day spa.
Many Different Brand Names
The rise in popularity and affordability of hot tubs has lead to a huge number of manufacturers to produce portable hydrotherapy spas. From single person operations based in a garage to massive multi-national corporations, there are hundreds of companies out there making spas around the world.
In 1979, the spa and hot tub industry changed forever when three young men developed an innovative spa that delivered superior quality and performance – and Sundance Spas was born.
Since then Sundance Spas has been setting the industry standard for quality, safety and durability, and they have grown to be the largest manufacturer of acrylic spas in the world, with models such as the best selling Optima, Consumer’s Digest Best Buy recipient the Cameo and Adex Design & Technology award winner the Peyton.
So, hot tubs, spas and whirlpool are terms that are often used interchangeably to describe the same thing, and Sundance Spas is the world’s leading brand, with 26 different models in a variety of shapes and sizes.