The combination of warmed water and turbulent jets makes a spa the ultimate in luxurious relaxation. Just about every home can find the space for one.

A spa can be tailor-made, that is, built on-site from concrete or other masonry products to any size or shape, or bought "off the shelf" in a pre-moulded shell of fibreglass or acrylic. This gives the spa owner a wide range of choice in selecting from the many types offered by manufacturers. The size of a spa can vary from one large enough to accommodate up to 12 people, right down to the individual spa bath for one. It depends on how you intend to use your spa, the space you have available and, of course, your budget. Remember, the barrier requirements for pools also apply to spas.

How they work

In a spa, the water is drawn from the spa through a large outlet cover by a pump. It then passes through a filter and a heater. On its return to the spa, the water passes through a number of special jet nozzles under pressure. Turbulence is created by the nozzles, mixing water with air to produce an intermittent high-velocity jet. It's this jet, or jets, combined with the warm water, that gives the soothing, relaxing effect. Most spas also have an air-manifold system. A series of air jets, set into the seat or floor, provide thousands of bubbles all over to give a soft, sensuous hydro-massage. The jets in a spa are strategically placed for maximum hydro-massage to back and feet.

Enormous range

Because of their popularity, manufacturers have produced an almost bewildering range of pre-moulded spas to choose from. They vary not only in size, but shape, position of the jets, colours, patterns and designs. Some are so colourful, they're a fashion item. When looking at spa designs and shapes, keep in mind your particular use. There will be variations in the seating provisions. These will have a bearing on comfort levels for children and older people. Make sure the spa is easy to get into and out of for those who will be using it. Some have one entry step, others as many as three, which can be particularly suited to the elderly and partially disabled. There are also spas with provision for the installation of hand rails to make entry and exit easier.

When small is beautiful

There's also a large range of spa pools and spa baths to suit one or two people. Such a spa is a glorious step above the old bath tub which in itself has given relaxation to millions of people. With the addition of warm jets, the relaxation is increased many times and those who enjoy soaking in a tub wouldn't swap their spa bath for anything. As with spa pools, these units are available in a variety of shapes, colours and jet placement. Some have lumbar supports and most have no-skid bases.

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