In American culture, the bathroom is a fairly utilitarian space: take a quick shower in the morning, brush your teeth, do your business, rinse, repeat. This is starting to chage somewhat with the growing popularity of luxury bathrooms, but even so-called spa bathrooms are mostly seen as a place to unwind and get a little R&R. But luxury bathroom design offers a wealth of opportunities to create a space that’s not just good for encouraging peace of mind, but actually promotes good health. To get the most of a major bathroom remodel, here are a few features and fixtures to consider.
Whirlpool bathtubs are a mainstay of luxury bathroom design, but in addition to being a go-to marker of style, they’re also good for your health. These high-capacity water and air-jetted tubs are similar to ones used by professional athletes and physical therapists to help ease tense and sore muscles, improve blood flow, and enhance physical mobility. For someone with back or joint problems, spending time in a hydrotherapy whirlpool tub can genuinely improve your day to day comfort levels and even your mobility.
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Of course, not everyone has time to fill a hundred gallon tub full of water and soak in it. But while soaking can help take some of the pressure off sore joints, a hydrotherapy shower built with multiple shower heads and body sprays can help relieve muscle pain by creating a deep, all-over massage. Hydrotherapy showers also have the added benefit of steam (even if they aren’t true steam showers) which can help relieve sinus pressure. Hydrotherapy showers can be anything from a fully designed 360 degree custom shower to a simple shower panel, so long as the water sprays reach a majority of your body.
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Science has shown that various colors have an effect on mood – blue is calming, yellow is energizing, and so on. Chromotherapy uses this effect to enhance the relaxing and revitalizing aspects of your bath or shower. Now, chromotherapy is rarely used on its own – that is, there aren’t a whole lot of luxury bathrooms soley lit by color-changing LED lights. But they are frequently included in other luxury bathroom fixtures, like whirlpool tubs, steam showers, and even designer shower heads. Because of the way light interacts with water, when the LEDs are on, all the water is illuminated, producing a relaxing glow in the color of your choice.
Of all the health beneficial luxury bathroom features mentioned here, aromatherapy is probably the most familiar. If you’ve ever used a bath bomb or scented bath salts to help unwind, the basic principle is there: like color, various scents can have a powerful effect on mood. Lavender is relaxing and citrus energizing, while other scents have physical effects, like eucalyptus, which can help open the sinuses, peppermint, which can enhance memory and alertness, and jasmine, which can reduce stress and anxiety. Both steam baths and many towel warmers incorporate essential oil aromatherapy into their design, allowing you to fill your shower or bathroom with mood, mind, and body-enhancing scents.
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Steam Or Heat Therapy
Both steam and heat therapy have been used around the world for thousands of years, from the Roman baths to Nordic saunas to Native American sweat lodges. Each uses a combination of heat and steam to promote circulation, clear the sinuses, and remove toxins from the body. Standalone saunas and shower-integrated steam baths both offer myriad health benefits, and are rapidly gaining popularity in North American home design. Combined with chromotherapy and aromatherapy (and even hydrotherapy, in a steam shower), a steam bath or sauna can give you the intense relaxation of a spa right in your own home.
This might seem a strange addition to this list, especially to American readers, but bidets are starting to gain acceptance in high end luxury bathrooms in the States. In other parts of the world, they’re much more commonplace, and there are more than a few arguments to be made in their favor. Bidets (or high tech toilet seats attached to regular toilet) provide a more thorough and gentler cleaning without the irritation associated with rough toilet paper. For anyone with bowel problems, bidets can provide immediate relief; for those with limited mobility, they can provide a degree of independence in terms of personal hygiene that regular toilets simply can’t offer. And because bidets are completely hands-free in operation, they can even help prevent the spread of bacteria. Plus, you’ll never have to buy toilet paper again.
What luxury bathroom features are you looking for? And how do you like to pamper yourself?