A new industry-sponsored research study is under way to determine the health benefits of soaking in warm water.

Dr. Bruce Becker and his team at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., recently were awarded a $322,000 grant from the National Swimming Pool Foundation and 12 industry manufacturers. The research will focus on the physiological effects of immersion in hot water.

Some scientific reports already suggest that water immersion may benefit cardiac, respiratory and circulatory systems while aiding in stress reduction. With this study, researchers hope to explore what significant differences or additional benefits might exist for warm water.

?If more people know that hot tubs can contribute to a healthier and longer life, then the people who build and supply those products will have a more prosperous future,? said Thomas Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of NSPF in Colorado Springs, Colo. ?Working with industry members to fund this type of research is clearly the right way to go.?

The study is set to begin in 2007, with some results expected toward the end of the year. A dozen companies pledged a total of $80,500 annually for two years. NSPF agreed to match that amount for a total of $322,000.

This September, Becker will join Michael Beach, Ph.D., in Austin at NSPF?s World Aquatic Health Conference as keynote speakers. Becker will discuss current medical knowledge that explains physiological effects of water pressure. In addition, a representative from the New York Department of Health will speak at a seminar about the cryptosporidium outbreak that left nearly 4,000 sick. Other seminars will discuss biofilm issues, chloramines, suction entrapment, aquatic therapy, facility programming and drowning topics.