SHOWER POWER

N o one seems to have time for a leisurely bath these days. Instead, it is hop in the shower and hop out. Everyone has someplace to go and something to do and a shower reflects the modern world of fast food and instant messaging.

ThermaSol has taken notice and is turning the shower into a luxurious steam shower that includes chromatherapy, hydrotherapy and aromatherapy. A quick 10-minute shower is now a 10-minute steam and shower that relaxes muscles, clears allergies and helps with arthritis.

Say goodbye to rubber ducky bubble baths.

Jari Ristola, president of ThermaSol, said baths will always be there, but vertical bathing is the current trend with body sprays, rain heads, multiple heads and steam units.

“No one wants to get rid of bathtubs,” Ristola said. “You need them to bathe children and they are important for the resale of a home. No bathroom is a full bathroom without a tub and that becomes important when listing a home for sale. However, we are seeing homeowners completely remodeling their bathrooms with the focus on steam showers or designing them into the blueprints of a new home.”

This isn’t a new idea. For centuries, societies have resorted to the restorative power of water to soothe pain and remedy illness.

“If you go back in time, even thousands of years ago, whether it be Indians with their hot tents or Fins with saunas, or anywhere else in the world, there has always been some type of heat therapy,” said Ristola. “Every civilization has had some form of hot therapy and in the U.S., it is a steam bath. Not only is it relaxing but is recommended for removing body toxins, is good for the respiratory system and everyone knows about athletes using it for sore or aching muscles.”

My grandfather always did say “there’s nothing like a good schwitz.”

Ristola said ThermaSol units begin for less than $2,500 and move up in price depending on added features such as built-in FM receiver and two additional input sources (portable MP3 player, CDs, DVDs, television), iPod connection, high-performance speaker set, full-spectrum LED-type light system and other technologies. He said the price isn’t extravagant when people are spending thousands just on sinks and faucets.

Part of the initial cost of the shower can be made up in less water usage. The average American shower is eight minutes and even with a low-flow showerhead (about 2 gallons a minute), at least 16 gallons of water are used per shower. A 10-minute steam uses 2 quarts. Add several gallons for a short rinse following the steam and as many as 10 gallons can be saved per steam shower. Other statistics show that people who steam before their regular shower take shorter showers.

So what about chromatherapy, hydrotherapy and aromatherapy?

Hyrdrotherapy uses steam and vapor to promote relaxation. It stimulates circulation, tones body tissues, alleviates pain and relax nerves.

Chromatherapy is an alternative healing method that uses color and light to balance energy wherever it is lacking in the body. The underlying principle is that certain colors, or the absence of them, affect body and mood. Therefore, colors that evoke specific emotions (blue to relieve headaches and stomach pains, orange for depression and violet to relax muscles) can become part of the bathing session.

Aromatherapy is the use of oils from aromatic plants and flowers to stimulate the sense of smell and be absorbed through the skin. Rejuvenating scents are believed to improve mood, promote wellness and calm the body and mind. For example, French rosemary would be used to calm nerves and improve memory; Egyptian geranium to relieve anxiety and fatigue; and Indian jasmine to ease irritability and worry.

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