Scent, colour and sound can add to soothing experience


Left, the Kathryn steam pivot shower door by Kohler; Right, a close-up view of a Kohler steam generator/steam head in action.


One of the biggest challenges during cold winter months is maintaining your body temperature once you’ve left the warmth of your bed.

Accomplishing this usually involves waiting for hot water to preheat the shower stall. If you have a steam shower, you can look forward to being even toastier.

A steam generator is nothing more than an overdeveloped electric tea kettle. Electricity turns water to steam, which is then sent through the wall via a short pipe or “spout” into your enclosed shower.

The shower has to be tiled everywhere, including the ceiling, and the opening over the shower door needs to be sealed with a piece of safety glass, which corrals the steam and keeps it within the enclosure where it can do the most good. You can take a steam shower and a regular shower all at the same time to get really clean.

Steam shower technology has improved over the past 10 years. Steam generators used to merely produce steam. Today they do much more.

Martha Orellana is the vice-president of Mr. Steam, one of the largest manufacturers of steam generators. Orellana, known by company employees as “Mrs. Steam,” offers an inside look at some pretty cool innovations in steam showers.

• Aromatherapy: Do you like the smell of eucalyptus, lavender or mint? How about during a shower?

Orellana says today’s steam generators can be fitted with a built-in automatic scented-oil dispenser that injects and blends aromatic oils directly into the steam. Folks have spent more money than makes good “scents” at fancy health spas for nothing more than these soothing whiffs. Orellana says it’s a calming therapy — even more so without the big spa bill.

• Chromatherapy:
“Like water and heat, light can affect how we feel,” Orellana says. If you don’t believe her, ask John Travolta how he felt in the ‘70s, dancing under a disco ball illuminated by coloured strobe lights.

Orellana says certain colours ranging from soothing shades of blue and green to sensual and energizing colours like red and orange can be selected to saturate the steam environment.

• Music Therapy:
Also known as Beatles-therapy or Bach-therapy. Speakers can whisper your favourite tune in the shower.

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