Hot tub technology is nothing like it used to be.

“A conventional hot tub that people think about is basically fill a tub, have big pumps, push a bunch of water around, and heat it,” says Michael Shaw, owner and president of AquaVision Pool & Spa on Lawndale Drive.

The hot tubs that Shaw sells — Sundance brand — are specifically for hydrotherapy needs.

“Sundance focuses on aches and pains, people’s arthritis,” and other illnesses, says Shaw.

The obvious similarity with standard tubs is the hot water, which offers “the benefits of putting heat on your muscles.”

But Sundance takes it to a new level. First, there are two types of massage: general and deep tissue.

“It’s almost like stretching before working out. You get the light massage to get your muscles loosened up so when the deep tissue massage goes, you’re not creating more problems,” Shaw says.

On top of that, there are “air blowers” called acupressure jets that put pressure on areas of the body that “need some sort of massage,” such as the hip flexors and palms of the hands, but not to the same extent as major muscle groups.

Finally, a scent-injecting system in the water provides an aromatherapy benefit.

Not only does each Sundance series differ in the number of people the tub can accommodate, they also differ in “the quality of the jets,” says Shaw. “The higher up in the series you go, the more targeted, in-depth massage you’ll get.”

Shaw’s sales staff can direct customers to specific models that aim at different pressure points. For instance, if you have lower back pain, they have a hot tub for that.

Prices range from $8,000 to $16,000 depending on the series, but Shaw assures customers that it’s worth it.

“What you’re buying is quality,” he says. “My tubs last 15 to 20 years, and Sundance is a company that’s been pioneering the industry for a while.”

From lighting within the tub to external grab rails to touch panels that control the jets, most of the features of a standard tub were originally created by Sundance.

In the long run, buying a tub is cheaper than a massage therapy membership, which usually gives you only one massage a month at a discounted price. A hot tub can be used as often as you’d like, and with AquaVision’s benefits for tub owners, it’s a logical financial decision.

“A computerized water analysis is free, and we give away balancing chemicals to spa owners for free for the life of the tub,” says Shaw. “We are a full-service company, so we can handle anything from weekly cleaning visits [and] motor replacements to liner replacements and full renovations.”

The company will also deliver the tub to your house, remove an old tub if one is there, and install the new one.

“We try to get the least amount of people in the customer’s backyard as possible,” Shaw says.

Most people buy a hot tub between the end of the summer and the middle of fall — “people getting ready for the cold weather,” he says. Shaw also recommends those seriously considering a purchase to go to the shop and try out the tubs.

“It’s like buying a car. I wouldn’t expect you to walk into a dealership and the salesman says, ‘This is the best car on the market. You should buy mine. Take my word for it.’”

Buyers can request a private or after-hours “wet test” so they know exactly which one fits their needs.

AquaVision also sells pool equipment and chemicals, even chlorine-free systems that are better for those with skin allergies or those who want an extended life to their pool liner. And they make house calls to service pools and hot tubs.

Formerly Caryl’s Pool & Spa, Shaw took over the business in November when the previous owner retired. Shaw has almost a decade of experience working in the industry, and he’s proud to be manning a company that Greensboro residents have relied on for almost 40 years.

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