Although people find many reasons to own a spa -- stress relief, health, hydrotherapy, backyard aesthetics, family time, recreation and even "heating up" a romance -- Top of Utah spa vendors say the No. 1 reason is hydrotherapy.
"The therapeutic benefits are huge," said Lauri Cragun of Larry's Pools and Spas. "Some people say that without having a spa to soak in every night, they couldn't get up and go to work each morning."
"Social aspects emotionally drive people to look at spas, but spas are used for legitimate therapy reasons. That usually helps people decide," said Shawn Maynard of Bullfrog Spas. "The full-on benefits of hydrotherapy help people sleep better and improve their overall health."
When Justin Johnson began working at All American Spas 18 years ago, he expected interest in spas to be more socially driven, so he was surprised when "most were for therapy reasons," he said.
The popularity of spas often outweighs that of pools, particularly because spas can be used year-round, Cragun said.
Although sales may not be consistent, interest in spas always is, Cragun said.
"People are always interested, always on the lookout for spas because of the health benefits," she said. "We get calls year-round."
Second to hydrotherapy is family time, particularly in an economy that has put a focus on "stay"cations.
"As the real estate market stables out, people are not traveling as much and investing in their backyards more," said John Brady with Leisure Pool & Spas.
"With a spa, you can create family time," Cragun said. And because electronic gadgets and water don't mix, spas often provide the perfect "face time" opportunity for families to communicate, she said.
"Spas are a retreat in our own backyard to get away from the hustle and bustle," Johnson said. "It lasts longer than Disneyland."
And he pointed out, parents particularly like their own backyard to be the gathering place, sometimes just so they can keep an eye on their teens.