At the 2012 EuroCucina Fair in Milan, Italy, this shower system was presented in an installation where the person reclined on a horizontal bench. A soft, warm bench would be ideal for such positioning because this type of shower is much like a French “Vichy shower.” This is a unique aquatic therapy inspired by treatments used in the French city of Vichy. The shower experience is enjoyed lying on a comfortable surface while the entire body experiences a sense of warm, nourishing rain cascading over the bather’s skin.
Practical, ergonomically user-friendly, simple water experience variations for a single showerhead are also available today. For example, Moen’s Twist Handle Shower allows the user to switch between the shower’s four spray patterns with one hand, by swiveling the showerhead around the hand with the push of a soft grip, non-slip thumb pad. The sprays include immerse (a full-coverage spray); soothe (a heavy mist spray); drench (a soft, yet heavy rinse spray); and, shine (a strong, focused spray). Note how the manufacturer describes the water spray design by how it “feels,” not how it works.
Another newly engineered shower system is Delta Faucet Co.’s In2ition two-in-one showerhead/hand-held unit. The head control is separate from the control on the wand, providing a variety of water experiences.
Because of the growing importance of the master bathroom as an adult retreat as much as a place to get clean, clients today expect us to guide them through the selection process with a detailed understanding of wellness therapies.
Following is a brief review of the therapies often requested by clients interested in such wellness treatments.
Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile liquid plant materials, known as essential oils (EOs), and other scented compounds from plants for the purpose of affecting a person’s mood or health.
Aromatherapy is the supposed treatment or prevention of disease by use of essential oils. Two basic mechanisms are offered to explain the purported effects. One is the influence of aroma on the brain, especially the limbic system through the olfactory system. The other is the direct pharmacological effects of the essential oils. At the scent level, they activate the limbic system and emotional centers of the brain. When applied to the skin, they activate thermal receptors, and kill microbes and fungi.
While the efficacy of aromatherapy remains to be proven, some preliminary clinical studies show positive effects.
In the bathroom, some manufacturers have added a diffuser to the fixture, where the user places a few drops of oil mixed with water. A small pump brings air to the receptacle, which sends the aroma of the oil into the air.
Chromatherapy, sometimes called color therapy or colorology, is an alternative medicine method. Therapists trained in chromatherapy believe the use of color and light can balance energy wherever our bodies are lacking, be it physical, emotional, spiritual or mental.
Chromatherapy uses the visible color spectrum (therapists consider this to be the cosmic electromagnetic energy spectrum). These visual colors, with their unique wavelength and oscillations, are selectively applied to impaired organs or life systems with a light source to provide healing energy. Trained technicians believe colors generate electrical impulses and magnetic currents or fields of energy that are prime activators of the biochemical and hormonal processes in the human body.
In the bathroom, two or more underwater lamps (LED) let the bather enjoy the full rainbow of colors, or select one to set a mood. Alternatively, overhead chromatherapy lights can be included in the showerhead itself, or installed as a recessed ceiling fixture. Each LED light color enhances the bather’s experience in a different way, from calming blue to energizing red to detoxifying purple.
Since the ancient Greeks, people have found natural healing powers in bubbling pools of hot water. The heat, buoyancy and massage found in the warm, soothing waters of a jetted tub experience are both relaxing and rejuvenating. And, new shower systems offer a similar hydrotherapy experience.
Both bathing and showering hydrotherapy systems relieve stress. Stress has more adverse effects on health than many people realize. Some researchers estimate that nearly 80% of all diseases are stress related. Stress makes the heart work harder, breathing becomes more rapid and shallow and digestion slows.