Archive for the ‘Home Spa’ Category

Steam Shower vs. Soaking Tubs

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Most of our Daily Basis Choices are pretty easy. Coffee or tea, subway or bus, sweater or jacket. You know, the “nice” decisions. And then, there are the Big Massive Home Choices. The ones we toss-and-turn over. Stainless steel or ceramic, wood or tile, EGGSHELL OR BUTTERCREAM??

(Sorry. We got a little out of control.)

Wouldn’t it be nice if some of those Big Massive Home Choices came with a little cheat sheet? Well, here you go: your insider’s guide to one of the biggest decisions about your bath – should I soak, or should I steam?

Steam showers and soaking tubs are two of the most popular bathroom upgrades, and with good reason. They both offer a luxurious spa experience from the comfort of one’s home, and can increase the value of one’s remodel. But which is the better investment? What nets you a better return? And which offers more utility?

First, what is a soaking tub, and what is a steam shower? Soaking tubs are deep bath basins – usually crafted in slightly different dimensions than traditional tubs (in addition to the greater depth, soaking tubs typically feature a narrow taper, and can come in an oval or circles shapes). Most often free-standing, so they’re rarely connected to a shower hookup. And they range from simple, basic varieties, sporting only a faucet and spigot, to more ooh-la-la versions, with tingly jets or built-in lighting. Available in a bevy of materials (from economical acrylic finishes to luxurious stone-crafted vessels), soaking tubs are beautiful, relaxing, and spa-esque, but don’t provide many more benefits (beyond that of size) than what you get out of your traditional bathtub.


Oh, did someone say benefits? Why yes, Steam Shower, over there, waiting to be defined, we DID say benefits. When it comes to health and wellness perks, steam showers rule. The unit itself consists of a generator (which can be housed either in your bathroom or, in certain cases, farther out for convenient installation, like ThermaSol’s generator units, which can live up to 50 feet beyond the bathroom) that delivers steam through your stall shower. Set your desired time and temperature, turn it on, and the generator delivers a luxurious stream of steam that envelops the stall, and invigorates your body. Steam showers are proven to have myriad medical benefits for your skin, your muscles, cellular recovery, and so much more.

So when it comes to a better investment for your body, steam showers have a significant edge. But let’s talk about that other kind of investment…the wallet sort. Like most things, soaking tubs and steam showers are available in a range of prices and qualities. Soaking tubs can be procured for as low as $500, and as high as $8,000, based on size and material. And while a soaking tub itself requires little maintenance, it can put a strain on two things: space and your water bill. Unlike a steam shower, which can be installed in a space as small as four feet by four feet, a soaking tub is an additional element in your bath. Which means that if you have the space, great – by all means, soak away. But if you’re lacking for room, wedging a soaking tub in a tiny bath not only limits utility (of the basin and the bathroom as a whole), it isn’t ideal for resale. And then, there’s the H20 factor. Because soaking tubs are deeper than traditional bathtub vessels, it’s very time-, energy-, and water-consuming to regularly fill a soaking tub…and your water bill will reflect this usage. (Plus, the million dollar, ahem, million gallon question…how often will you REALLY spend a half hour to fill and use your soaking tub?)

Steam showers are a different story when it comes to the quality of their investment. With a steam shower, your initial overhead is a little higher than that of a soaking tub. If your bath already has a stall shower, any modifications needed to make it steam shower-friendly are usually pretty minor. And the steam shower components – typically a generator and a controller – are available at a mid-point of around $3,500. So while you might spend more at the outset, post-installation, there are very few lingering costs. ThermaSol’s MicroTouch and Temp Touch technology, for example, has the power to generate heat and steam within seconds; and water usage for a 20 minute steam shower consists of a pretty memorable amount: ONE GALLON. Which all boils down to this: steam showers have a significantly lower impact on your water bill and your electric bill.

The spa-nalysis: in the short term and the long run, the better bang for your buck is a steam shower. The slightly-higher initial cost is well-worth what you get back. A steam shower is an upgrade that provides unique health and wellness benefits (versus a soaking tub, which has such limited advantages over your already-existing bathtub), a space-conscious luxury add-on – proven to be a hot resale amenity – an eco- and bill-friendly installation, and a piece of equipment that can be initiated with such speed and efficiency, you’ll actually use it. Our take: join Team Steam!

Spa Parties

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

If orange is the new black, then “girls’ night in” is most definitely the new “girls’ night out.” (Cue: tremendous sighs of relief from ladykind everywhere.) The Sex and the City days of high-cut dresses and higher heels have given way to a fantastic tradition known as the spa party, in which living rooms and master baths transform into havens of terrycloth and cucumber water, and friends leave bowled over instead of hungover. Ready to create a sparadise of your own? Here’s our guide to hosting your own day of Zen!

First step: plan your menu*. (*Which in spa-party-terms refers to both your menu of activities and your menu of eats!) Ever go to a spa and read over the list of services, only to say “Meh”? Or “If only I could get a facial with a mani instead of a massage and a scrub”? Good news: when you’re the spa, you’re in control! Decide on three to four “spa stations” to offer to your guests, which could range from a pedicure area to an aromatherapy setup to a relaxation station (think a quiet corner of a guest bedroom outfitted with vanilla candles and a stack of People magazines). And if you find yourself stuck -or overwhelmed – on what to offer, try to create “stops” that cater to different parts of the body and mind. So instead of a mani station and a pedi station and a foot scrub area (read: your extremities will be well-cared-for much to the chagrin of the rest of you), mix it up, and make one station for nails, one for hair care, and one for skin.

Activities: check! Next up: shopping! The best part about throwing a spa party is that you can give your guests an amazing experience without breaking the bank. First, make sure you have the basics: tea lights, flowers, lotions, and towels…even disposable flip-flops if you’re fancy. Pick up anything specific you need for your stations, like nail polish, aromatic oils, or face scrubs. Remember – “pampered” doesn’t have to mean “elaborate.” And in fact, with a spa party, sometimes, less is more! Pay attention to the little touches (relaxing lighting, calming music, comfy pillows for lounging) and don’t worry about going overboard. Your friends will still be blown away.

Alright, activities, done, supplies, done…ahem, we think it’s time to talk food. Light, delicious, refreshing food, aka, the perfect menu for your spa party. Like fresh fruits and veggies (grapes, watermelon, cherry tomatoes, zucchini spears…think bite-sized and portable), tiny tea sandwiches, grain salads (like quinoa!) made with fresh herbs (like basil!) and a light dressing (like a red wine vinaigrette!), and baked goods infused with healthy twists, like whole-wheat flour, oats, and honey. Keep the snacks on the lighter side nutritionally, aromatically (as in, that delicious, but ever-so-stinky gorgonzola will wreak havoc on your lavender essential oil station), and volumetrically. And no, we don’t mean quantity; we literally mean “volume.” As in, foods whose crunch factor is less than that of a baby carrot, because nothing says “ruined spa party” like a soundtrack of celery sticks.

And no spa spread is complete without hydration! Flavor-infused water is a must-have. Cucumber is a classic (and don’t forget to buy an extra one for the ever-essential slices you will be putting out for your guests to use on their eyes) but there will be nary a complaint if you mix things up, like rosemary-and-peach. Herbal iced tea also makes a lovely addition to your beverage menu, and we certainly won’t tell if you put out a carafe of rosé or a bottle of bubbly (as long as promise to invite us over).

With your menus locked and your supplies in hand, all that’s left is setting the stage! Pick a room with plenty of space to lounge in (and if this means nicely kicking the hubby/kids/dog/neighbor’s cat out for the afternoon, so be it!), plug in your iPod (and keep it simple – let Pandora/Spotify act as your DJ), and set up your spa stations, remembering the little accessories like a box of tissues by your mani station in case of smudges and a bowl of clean water by the facial scrub stop. And when the doorbell rings, there’s just one thing left to do: relax!

What is a Wetroom?

Friday, January 17th, 2014

(Image from

The home bathroom has been undergoing some extensive makeovers in recent years. As space becomes more important, bathrooms are transforming into multitasking rooms that go beyond their utilitarian purpose. A popular new take on this trend is getting rid of the bathroom altogether in favor of a wetroom.

While a traditional bathroom has a built-in, enclosed shower cubicle, the wetroom essentially serves as the enclosure. These waterproof rooms feature a drain in the middle of the floor, which has a subtle gradient so the water doesn’t spill out. Typically made of ceramic tile, these open spaces have no walls, doors or shower curbs to get in the way.

The benefits of the wetroom are varied. Wetrooms can eliminate moisture damage and prolong the life of tile grout. They are compatible with underfloor heating systems and can be easier to clean. And they are better for those with restricted mobility since there’s no shower curb to step over. However, if you’re concerned about getting water everywhere, a glass panel can be installed to contain the shower area while still keeping the room transparent and open.

Due to its space-saving practicality, the wetroom has taken off in Europe and is increasing in popularity stateside. Because a wetroom is smaller than a bathroom, it can also make for a more affordable remodel – particularly for those who prefer showering to bathing. However, removing a bathtub from your bathroom can affect resale value, and bathroom furniture and placement must be considered so towels don’t get wet.

From a design perspective, the barrier-free nature of wetrooms allows for more creative freedom in color, layout and style. A variety of looks can be achieved, from cool and modern to warm and natural – whatever is desired.

Would you install a wetroom in your home? Let us know!

Build the Perfect Home Spa Experience

Friday, September 27th, 2013

When it comes to creating the ultimate bathroom oasis, the home spa calls for an environment that’s peaceful, luxurious and stylish. While channeling peace and luxury may be a given, style is an element that’s just as important. A space that doesn’t suit your specifications is hardly conducive to relaxation. Along with your residential steam shower, the right mix of bathroom fixtures and furniture work together to produce a personal retreat that’s truly reflective of you. For those seeking stylish inspiration, here’s a look at some of our favorite designs for a traditional or modern home spa.


Stately and elegant, the traditional style represents luxury from a bygone era. Inspired by ancient Roman baths, Stone Forest’s Old World Bathtub is a stunningly-crafted testament to times past. Carved from a solid block of carrara marble, the bathtub features unique veining and natural coloring of the distinctive stone, which complements a rich, traditional aesthetic.

Distinguished by the sinuous, semi-circular projection of its basin, the Stone Forest Renaissance Console brings an“old world” feel to the bath. Also carved from honed carrara marble, this classic vanity sink combines the subtle detailing of the washbasin with traditional console legs in aged brass or polished nickel.

A stately sink requires a faucet just as luxe to match. With vintage styling, the Gramercy collection by Watermark Designs offers inspiration from one of Manhattan’s most historic and exclusive neighborhoods. Classic cross handles displaying timeless “hot” and “cold” labels, while the rest of the collection rounds out faucet, shower and tub filler fittings for your traditional bathroom.


Steam Showers vs. Whirlpool Tubs

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

With home renovations on the rise, keeping up with the latest bathroom trends is more important than ever. Bathroom renovations have surged in popularity as homeowners have embraced the bathroom as a relaxation destination. Creating the ultimate home spa isn’t just great for calming your nerves — it can increase your home’s resale value as well. While whirlpool tubs were once must-have features in luxury bathrooms, homeowners are increasingly choosing steam showers to create the spa experience. Let’s take a look at these two installations and see how they match up.

Whirlpool tubs create relaxation by propelling warm water through jets to soothe tired muscles, while steam showers create a steamy, relaxing atmosphere to detoxify the body and alleviate stress. Both provide similar relaxation benefits, but steam showers take up significantly less space. Whirlpool bathtubs can occupy more than 5 to 6 feet, while a steam shower allows owners to create airier, more spacious bathrooms.

In addition, the headache of maintaining whirlpool tubs can far outweigh their relaxation benefits. Because water tends to sit in their internal network of pipes and jets, these tubs can be difficult to clean, which can result in algae growth. The steam shower company ThermaSol offers PowerFlush, a feature engineered to purge calcification build-up from the steam generator’s inner tank – making maintenance much easier.

Should mechanical problems occur, the maintenance costs that come with repairing the motors, pumps and other whirlpool tub parts can add up quickly. While whirlpool tubs usually offer limited warranties, ThermaSol offers lifetime warranties on select generators, meaning they will take care of any repairs should mechanical issues occur. This can be a huge relief and save a lot of stress in the long run.

Whirlpool tubs are often sought after for creating a calming or romantic atmosphere. However, their noisy pumps and motors don’t exactly create a quiet, meditative environment. ThermaSol’s Whisper Quiet technology prevents water hammer and noisy solenoid water valves from disturbing your steam session. With no distractions, you’re better able to relax and focus on increasing your overall well-being.

There’s also the environmental aspect. Whirlpool tubs require a lot of water, between 50 to 80 gallons worth to be exact. The amount of water needed to fill up the tub tends to drain traditional hot water tanks, which leads to higher energy costs. ThermaSol units typically use only one gallon of water to power a 20-minute steam shower session, quite a significant difference.

Because of these drawbacks, whirlpool tubs have declined in popularity and add little to a home’s resale value. Luxury bathrooms that offer increased sustainability, lower maintenance costs and technological advancements are now sought after by home buyers – making steam showers well-worth the investment.

The Importance of Investing In Your Bathroom

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

When it comes to making an investment in your home, installing a steam shower isn’t just good for your health—it can also increase your home’s value. According to the 2013 Houzz & Home survey, home renovations are on the rise. Next to kitchens, bathrooms are the second most popular room to remodel. As this surge in popularity continues, high end amenities for the bathroom are becoming an increasingly sought after request. For homeowners looking to sell, these aren’t just luxury items— they’re necessities for increasing your home’s value. Let’s take a look at some bathroom trends worth considering for your next remodel.

While once a primarily utilitarian space, bathrooms have gained status as “home spas”— bigger, more open spaces meant for private relaxation. Because space is more valuable, homeowners are replacing their bathtubs with more luxurious spa-style showers. As showers become more upscale and streamlined, it only makes sense to add extra features to help set them over the edge.

While a steam shower is one great way to set your shower apart, don’t overlook the technological features as well. As our lives become more intertwined with technology, homeowners are seeking out more futuristic advancements— Yes, even for the bathroom. Bathrooms that offer touch-free fixtures and the ability to connect to personal devices are increasingly in demand. ThermaSol’s Serenity and Light system allows homeowners to bring their iPhone or iPad in the shower with them to control its features.

Not ready to make a big change? According to Consumer Reports, five simple items can help make a big difference when it comes to bathroom remodeling: heated flooring, stain-resistant grout, skylights, framed mirrors and heated shower mirrors. The smaller amenities are just as important as the larger ones, which further help set your bathroom apart.

Remodels are necessary to keep up to date and offer amenities that no one else has. As the upswing in home renovations continues, the need for homeowners to stand out in the market is more important than ever. So when it comes time for your next bathroom remodel, know the investment is well-worth the effort.

The History of Steambathing: A 5,000 Year-Old Tradition

Friday, May 18th, 2012

History of Steambathing

Talk Spas recently stumbled upon an old ThermaSol steambath traveler’s guide from 1983. Besides the thrill of taking a trip down 1980s bathroom design memory lane, we were excited to come across an article about the history of steambathing detailing its orgins dating back to Ancient Greece. We thought it would be a fun piece to share with the Talk Spas readers. Below you will find the text of the article for your reading pleasure.

Steambathing goes back over 5,000 years to the time of ancient Greece. Back then, the leisure class traveled days and weeks to hot springs and spas where geothermal underground waterways created their own natural “steambaths.” Like the Romans, and American Indians who followed, these ancient aristocrats went to great lengths to find these wonders of nature. Why? Because it was well worth the effort! For one thing, the gentle, moist steam vapors relaxed them in a way that no libation or physical stimulation could. The steam seemed to penetrate their very souls, and gave them both instantaneous and long-lasting relief and comfort. But in addition to merely feeling good, even the early Greeks were quick to notice that steambathing seemed to have tangible physical and therapeutic advantages as well: muscular aches and pains as well as symptoms of respiratory ailments such as deep coughing and congestion were relieved, if not actually cured. Indeed, before long going to the steambaths literally became known as “taking the cure.”

As word of steambathing spread through the Empire, so did its popularity. And so an indulgence that was once reserved only for the aristocracy became sought after by the common man as well.

Now, 5,000 years later, the benefits of steambathing are still in high demand. Health spas throughout the world tout steambathing as a key…and often central…part of their programs. Why? Because what was true 5,000 years ago still holds true today…steambathing is the ultimate indulgence, in both physical and psychological terms.

Today, steambathing is recognized for many specific physical benefits. It deep cleanses the pores and rids the skin of embedded dirt, thus aiding the treatment of acne. It penetrates the respiratory system to relieve hacking coughs and croup. (If you’re a smoker…or prone to frequent chest colds…you’ll immediately appreciate this benefit. And if you have children, you know that doctors frequently recommend “steaming” as a way to break up congestion. You’ll doubly appreciate our recessed steam heads which are specially made to receive medicated scents which aid bronchial congestion.) Steam also dilates the blood vessels to help relieve headaches and hangovers. It warms and soothes aching muscles, joints and tendons. And it helps restore a healthy glow to sallow complexions. But most of all, a personal steambath just plain feels terrific!

Of course, Thermasol wasn’t around 5,000 years ago, but we are the world’s oldest and largest manufacturer of personal steambaths. In fact, Thermasol literally invented the category of personal steambathing in 1958 when David Altman, the President and Founder of Thermasol, was commissioned to create a personal steambath for a private residence on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. In 1971, after 13 successful years of supplying homeowners and health clubs with the world’s finest steambath equipment, Thermasol decided to install steambaths in hotels. Not surprisingly, the idea caught on immediately: travel weary guests started insisting on Thermasol-equipped rooms when they made reservations, and hotel owners responded by offering more and more Thermasol units in their rooms. In fact, hotels and motels are converting to Thermasol at such a fast rate that it is impossible for us to keep this traveler’s guide up-to-the-minute…always ask for Thermasol when you check in, even if your destination isn’t listed in the guide. Truly, Thermasol is “changing the way the world bathes!”

Now that we’ve explained how and why steambathing got so popular, we hope you’ll enjoy your Thermasol room even more. If your room isn’t equipped with Thermasol, we suggest that you call the front desk and ask if any Thermasol rooms are available.

Some more pages taken from the traveler’s guide (click on image to enlarge):

thermasol fits every lifestyle

If you cant set a timer, you can operate a Thermasol Ultima Spa.

Our whirlpool works wonders too!

The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your Doctor. Please click here to read the Disclaimer. ©2012 Talk Spas

Product Watch: ThermaSol Residential Steam Shower System

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Residential steam showers are the essential home upgrade, and bring new meaning to the term “a day at the spa.” Therefore, ThermaSol has developed a line of steam shower products sure to help people create the ultimate home spa/relaxation experience.

2012 Controls

Thermasol 2012 Steam Controls

Controls are “the brains” of home steam shower systems. ThermaSol® introduced three new styles of controls and steamheads in 2012 – Regency, Deco and Icon. Regency takes cues from neo-classical style, with its beveled edges that add elegance and lightness of touch to the bath. Deco echoes the linear symmetry of early twentieth century style. And Icon is inspired my tech legends of our time, featuring rounded corners and a minimal design that pushes the aesthetic edge for steam showers.

Bluetooth® enabled Serenity Light & Music System

Bluetooth steam shower system

ThermaSol’s Serenity Light & Music Systems are self-contained, shower proof, 10-inch modules that produce high intensity full spectrum light and sound. All of the systems are now Bluetooth®-enabled, which makes it easier to create a personalized light, music and steam experience. The technology allows users to wirelessly control audio selections in their steam shower from anywhere in the bathroom. With use of a waterproof case, mobile devices can also be brought directly into the steam shower. (more…)

ThermaSol Debuts Three New Styles of Steam Shower Controls and Steam Heads for 2012

Monday, April 16th, 2012
ThermaSol Regency Controls

ThermaSol Regency Series - New for 2012

ThermaSol®, the industry leader in steam bath products, is proud to announce the introduction of three new styles of steam shower controls and steam heads for 2012. The new Regency, Deco and Icon series are designed with the highest level of quality and functionality in mind, and complement existing trim and fixture designs offered by most bath manufacturers.

“ThermaSol is known for offering the most advanced, and stylish, steam shower systems in the industry,” said ThermaSol CEO Mitch Altman. “The Regency, Deco and Icon series are no exception. They look great, perform great and add to ThermaSol’s robust selection of controls and steam heads. Our goal is to help people bring an ever increasing level of personalization to the home spa experience. ”

ThermaSol Deco Series - New for 2012

ThermaSol Deco Series - New for 2012

The Regency Series takes cues from neo-classical style with beautifully beveled edges that add elegance and lightness of touch to the bath. The Deco Series echoes linear symmetry of early twentieth century style. And Icon, inspired by tech legends of our time, features rounded corners and minimal design for a look that re-defines style in the steam shower space. New designs are available for ThermaSol’s Signature Series Kit, Temp-Touch Plus Kit, Easy Start Control, Serenity Light & Music System and hand-held remote control.

ThermaSol Icon Series - New for 2012

ThermaSol Icon Series - New for 2012

Signature Series and Temp-Touch Plus controls serve as mini command centers inside steam showers, enabling users to perform time/temperature maintenance, operate the Auto PowerFlush and operate the Serenity Light & Music System. Signature Series controls also include two preset memories and day clock. All of ThermaSol’s retractable NoTouch steam heads come with whisper-quiet functionality and integral well for aromatherapy oils.

Spa Bath for the Senses

Monday, March 5th, 2012

The beauty of crystal, Zen of aromatherapy, and harmony of music – when our senses are at peace, our lives are at peace. Indulge in tranquility with a spa bath for the senses. Luxuriate in a world like no other, a rejuvenating affair of sight, sound, touch, and scent. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of items to help you create the ultimate home spa experience.

ThermaSol – Serenity Light & Music System (Bluetooth Enabled)

thermasol light and music

Music is a powerful tool; It can transport us, inspire us, and calm us. And now, music in the spa has never been more accessible, with ThermaSol’s Serenity Light & Music System. Cutting edge Bluetooth technology allows users to wirelessly control the audio in their steam shower from anywhere in the bathroom. Or, bring your own playlist to the bath, thanks to ThermaSol’s convenient waterproof case for mobile devices, and treat your sense of hearing to a personalized soundtrack. Relax your body – from ear to ear – with one of the most powerful and convenient spa bath music systems available.

ThermaSol – Aromatherapy Steam Head

thermasol steamhead

Lavender, eucalyptus, bergamot – the words alone evoke a sense of calm. This is why ThermaSol’s Aromatherapy Steam Head incorporates these scents, and many more, to create a tranquil spa bath experience. Beautiful, sculpted steamheads, in both traditional and contemporary designs, deliver invigorating essential oils via ThermaSol’s innovative No Touch Steamhead Reservoir. Imagine being surrounded by aromatherapy-infused steam and experiencing restorative bliss with every breath.

aromatherapy oils (more…)

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