Don’t be confused by all the names; Jacuzzis, whirlpool baths, spa baths, and hot tubs are almost the same thing. The differences are in size and application. Hot tubs, for instance, imply larger outdoor setups, and spas are often integrated into backyard pools. Regardless of what they're called though, all of these tubs are all essentially baths with air and water jets that massage the user and circulate the water.
Who invented the Jacuzzi?
'Jacuzzi' is actually a brand name. It's long been used as a generic term for these types of baths after Jacuzzi (the company) introduced them to the market in 1968. They began life as an adapted agricultural pump, designed to bring relief to one of the company founder’s sons who developed rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age. The treatment worked, and Jacuzzi began marketing the pump as a separate attachment until 1968, when it started selling its first integrated jet tub. After many celebrity endorsements, Jacuzzis became popular and were installed in huge numbers, leading to the beginning of the spa industry. These days the Jacuzzi name has become synonymous with high-end living and luxury.
How do Jacuzzis work?
The bath is set up with a screened intake valve and a heated pump which draws the water in. Pressure is built up inside the pump housing, and the water is expelled through the jets. The jets inside of the bath walls have air tubes in them, allowing them to push out a mixture of air and water which softens the force of the flow. Temperature and pressure controls on the bath allow you to make adjustments to suit your own preferences.
What types of jets are available?
Most whirlpool baths have a variety of jets; the eyeball jet, a small sphere often found in clusters which can be pointed in almost any direction; the whirlpool jet, a very powerful jet used for deep massage; and rotational jets which pulse around an area to provide relief. There are many other variations and new innovations are being introduced all the time, including moving massage jets, oval jets which oscillate horizontally or vertically. Jets can normally be adjusted to allow more or less air in, which in turn decreases and increases the force of the flow.
Depending on the size and location of your whirlpool bath, you may need to install some commonsense safety precautions too, including hand rails and non-slip flooring both inside and outside of the tub. Likewise, if it's outside you will also need pool fencing. Whirlpool baths require more maintenance than regular baths.