In British and European cultures the bathroom is know as the loo or the WC, meaning water closet, but Americans always refer to anything resembling a toilet and/or wash area as a bathroom. This is mainly because, unlike many households across the seas, our toilet and bath facilities are in the same room. In England the toilet was placed in a booth with a door called a water closet because the water tank was on the wall overhead and a gravity-power stream of water operated the toilet, much like it does today.
The bathroom of today has evolved so rapidly from 30 years ago that the new advancements need extra space much extra space! In fact the modern bathroom now can be as large as some living rooms. This is due partly to the new showers and tubs but also to the new reality in the bathroom. It is becoming a leisure center for the mind and body much liken the multi-media room is for entertainment. But bathroom makeovers on a budget usually do not include these high-end fixtures!
The Soaker Tub
Like the name implies, the bathroom is a place where most of us take our baths. However, the new bath is a far cry from the porcelain-baked, metal shells of the past. Taking a page from the Japanese art of bathing the new tubs are not rectangular tanks which fire blasts of water from a dozen high-powered jets. Instead they can be equated to small, swimming pools which have a multitude of features which not only assist in bathing but are a treat for the senses.
Air-Massage: Instead of blasting jets warm air is forced through small holes (from 50 to as many as 125 in some models) to create a rolling massage from the thousands of warm air bubbles. The strength of the cloud of bubbles is decided by the user with an easy-accessible control.
Air Jet Therapy: Another system utilizing hot air this action has a massaging effect quite different from a traditional whirlpool in that all the areas of the body are massaged with hot air blasts which are more soothing than water jets. In addition, because hot air systems are not power by recirculating water the bather can use oils, salts and other therapeutic. In addition, hot air systems do not leave water in the pipes which can attract mold if not used often. The air pipes are self-cleaning with air blasts. The best thing about air massage tubs is that they can be cheaper than regular water-jet ones because there are no pipes and pumps.
Rain Forest Shower: This unique feature is installed on the ceiling and provides a light stream of directed water drops to the surface of the soaker tub. This can be narrowed to a stream much like one which would emanate from a waterfall.
Chromatherapeutic Lights: For the ambiance of a relaxing bath there are preprogrammed light sequences for LED lights in the tub. During the soak these lights change scenes adding another dimension to experience.
Showers used to be called stalls but now they are bona fide, waterproof cabinets where the showering experience can be elevated with a few new techniques. The first change is that the person who enters the cabinet can sit down on one of two small cedar seats and have the option of water or steam showering.
Steam Jets: This form of showering has powerful therapeutic benefits, the first being increasing the circulation. The moist heat also aids in ridding the body of wastes hidden deep in the pores, more than mere washing can get out. It is also relaxing for the muscles and breathing in mild steam is great for colds and other ailments.
Rain Shower: Getting caught in a warm summer summer rain is not a totally unpleasant situation. This is recreated in the steam shower cabinet with water pouring from a 12 shower head with hundreds of minute holes.
Other perks: Chroma therapeutic lights, a smart showering control to adjust the shower jets, a flat-screen TV and an audio system round off a great shower. Many showers also have a built-in jet-tub so that the unit can be a multi-purpose bath and shower unit.
Drying and Lounging Area
Very little attention is usually paid to the apres-bath time when the bather dries off. But here are a few new creations:
Dryer: A dozen drying jets in the wall and ceiling give a wonderful three-dimensional drying-off experience.
Massage Table: Only the very wealthy can afford a personal masseuse but new powered tables can give an amazing workout.
Lounge: A reading area equipped with a flat-screen TV and sound system make the bather want to stay and enjoy this personal time.
Lighting in the new bathrooms comes in layers. There are the business lights for close-in work on the face: shaving, make-up, etc. Then sconces provide the ambiance or mid-lighting and then soft overhead lights fill the room. All the lighting is adjustable and can be preprogrammed.
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