Appliances: Soul Showers
If “fitness” was the mantra of the ’90s, “wellness” is stealing its thunder as we settle into the hectic pace of the 21st century. Many health club members, particularly men, now gravitate toward the spa as a post-workout perk. “People no longer see spas as pampering but as a prerequisite to staying healthy,” says Lynne Walker McNees, executive director of the International Spa Association.
As a result, residential bathrooms are morphing into mini-spa environments that address more than the obvious physical needs. BainUltra, which makes the luxurious ThermoMasseur air tub and was one of the first companies to incorporate such health-oriented concepts as aromatherapy and chromatherapy into its tubs, intends to provide a haven for well-being and relaxation with its most recent creation: the Temazkal therapeutic space.
Inspired by the temazcalli, or sweat baths, of the ancient Aztecs, BainUltra’s new-age version combines the restorative qualities of saunalike dry heat (thermotherapy), full-spectrum light (luminotherapy), and essential oils (aromatherapy) to ease or energize the body and spirit. Each therapy can be used singly or in tandem with the others. Additionally, the Temazkal—made of pristine white Lucite with a handsome Cabreuva wood seat and floor—accepts any number of showerheads and body jets to transform it into the ultimate therapy center.
Equally inviting, the Evolution Oval shower by Teuco, an Italian producer of cutting-edge bath fixtures, is spare and uncomplicated in form yet packed with the latest technological trappings. Available through Hastings Tile & Il Bagno, Evolution’s crystal-clear tempered-glass enclosure and quartz-based floor house a battery of Dornbracht fittings for two, adjustable seats, mood-enhancing “cromoexperience” lamps, a steam inlet with an aromatic herb dispenser, and audio system—centrally controlled from an electronic panel.
Of course, the therapeutic benefits of water are at the core of any spa experience. “When your body is heated to a certain temperature, the pores open and absorb minerals from the water,” explains Jean Kolb, director of the wellness business and product development at Kohler’s headquarters in Wisconsin, where the aptly named Waters Spa is renowned for its aquatic tune-up.
In response to the popularity of hydrotherapy treatments, Kohler developed the BodySpa for residential use. Similar to a whirlpool—only vertical—this 6-, 8-, or 10-jet wall unit, complete with dousing waterfall, recirculates its 37 gallons of heated water at a forceful 80 gallons per minute. A wood seat, chromatherapy lights, variable speeds to control flow intensity, and a footbath maximize the comfort level.
“We have the BodySpa in two of our treatment rooms,” says Kolb. “Anytime we can show our clients how to experience water in a unique way, we incorporate it.” Kohler, which is constantly updating its equipment, now offers visitors a preview of the latest in hydrotherapy.