Archive for the ‘Sauna’ Category

Skin & Steam

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Seeking comfort and an array of medical benefits, people have been drawn to steam since the sprawling bath complexes of the ancient Roman and Greek empires were built upon natural hot springs. While many of us use a steam shower or steam room simply to unwind, evidence suggests that our skin stands to gain much from regular exposure to steam.


Author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, Dr. Andrew Weil explains that the heat of steam activates sweat glands and our pores open to release the resulting perspiration. As sweat rises through our pores, it has the effect of flushing out toxins that have built up in the skin, an excellent treatment to combat acne. Weil calls sweating “one of our most important mechanisms of natural healing, since it allows the body to rid itself of unwanted materials.”

TLC
 reports that a common treatment for mild acne and blemishes is to expose the skin to steam by draping a towel over your head and leaning over boiling water. As pores open, accumulated dirt and oil is released and whatever you want to put on your face is able to penetrate deeper, making it an effective part of a facial regimen. In hopes of improving their complexion, many sweat-seekers visit dry saunas which heat up air, rather than water. Due to the lack of humidity, saunas typically must be much warmer, at 160-200 degrees, than steam rooms and showers at 110-120 degrees, which can irritate nasal passages. As such, saunas are not ideal for those who suffer from allergy, sinus, or other respiratory problems. Conversely, the condensed moisture of steam works to relieve these ailments. Steam causes us to sweat sooner and at a much lower temperature due to the high humidity. Daily Glow notes that “just as steam does wonders for cleaning surfaces in your home, the steam can help dislodge built-up dirt and grime in your pores, allowing you to simply rinse them away.”

People have been known to venture to the extremes in a vanity-powered search for clear skin, from Cleopatra’s olive oil facials to modern laser treatment. Through this evolution, the skin benefits of steam have remained consistent and accessible. Investing in a steam shower or time at the spa is certain to remain an increasingly popular choice for people, even if alternative and increasingly technological advances are made to do the same thing as simple water vapor.

 

Mod Squad: Modular Home Saunas

Friday, October 15th, 2010
Modular Sauna Room

ThermaSol Modular Sauna Room

There’s a reason every woman loves a little black dress. Because no matter what the occasion, all it takes are a few accessories to completely transform a look – no assembly required. So wouldn’t it be nice if we could do the same thing with our bathrooms?

Turns out, modular is in. And bath companies are quickly rising to the challenge, providing spa fixtures for the home that can be implemented with little disruption, and can turn your bath into an entirely new environment within hours. Steam showers and saunas have cemented themselves as the standard fixture in the new modular bath – simple to install, easily customizable, and an addition that provides luxury and comfort by enhancing your existing bath.

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Wet Heat vs. Dry Heat

Monday, September 13th, 2010

For as long as man has roamed the earth, we’ve contended with substantial debates. Chocolate vs. vanilla, toilet paper rolled in vs. out…and, of most significance in the spa world – wet heat vs. dry heat. The battle between the sauna and the steam shower is strong, with powerful arguments advocating both sides. So who’s the winner? Let’s take a look…

Steam Shower

Steam Shower

There’s no one who will disagree with the fact that heat is good for the body. So whether you opt for dry heat or wet heat, you and your skin will benefit from the effects of increased temperature. And for many, these high temperatures are precisely why some opt for a sauna over a steam shower, as the thermostat of a dry heat sauna can be set to extraordinarily high temperatures, sometimes exceeding 150 degrees Fahrenheit. But apart from being able to push the temperature to such extremes, saunas offer few other benefits that differentiate them from steam showers. For those who use heat for respiratory relief, steam showers take the cake. Dry heat can irritate the membranes of the nose and lungs, actually making breathing more difficult, when compared to the soothing moisture generated by a steam shower. Skin also loves the magic of wet heat over the draining effects of a sauna. Steam showers infuse our skin with the moisture it craves, and encourages perspiration – great for health and the health of your skin. The low humidity of a sauna might seem more soothing, but the lack of moisture siphons essential water from the skin, and prevents pores from opening as readily as in a wet heat environment.

Of course, the decision to “steam” or to “bake” is a personal choice. But if you’re hoping to get the most out of your spa session (and want to take advantage of the health benefits of heat), I call this debate in favor of Wet Heat…and your skin will too!

State of the Spa Address

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Rejuvinating in the Spa

Rejuvenating in the Spa

To all our Talk Spas readers; we are here today to address the spa fanatics, members of the spa industry as well as the home spa enthusiasts of the world to let you know that the spa is here to stay. In the past year we may have not seen the spa industry or the number of home spa projects grow in number, but we did see the diversity in services and product offerings expand to a new high. Out of nowhere new markets have become much larger than before for the spa industry, including Medical Spas, Pet Spas, Teen Spas and even Baby Spas. In the past year, outrageous, amazing and extremely expensive spa treatments had their day in the limelight, while more custom, personal and home based spa services have continued to increase in popularity.

Las Vegas continues to be a hotbed for amazing new spas and more and more people are now using the quality of the spa amenities to choose their next resort or cruise vacation. While destination spas are still very popular, the home spa and more specifically the inclusion of a luxury steam shower with advanced technological systems continue to increase home values in these tough times.

Make no doubt that times are still tough for the spa industry as we have seen many close their doors and go bankrupt, but be clear that the surviving day spas, spa product manufacturers and resorts will come out of this downturn stronger than ever before. People across the world are beginning to re-discover how and why it is so important to treat your mind and body to spa treatments that provide relaxation that ultimately improves your overall health and well being. We can assure you that even if the tough times are not yet behind us, the light is visible at the end of the tunnel, and the light will please your senses and rejuvenate your body and soul.

Related Posts:

Spa Trends to Look for in 2010

SpaFinder’s Top 10 Spa Trends in the Past Decade

If You Can Dream It

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

This post provided by ThermaSol Steam Showers –ThermaSol.com

When it comes to your home spa, the best thing about it is that there’s no one “best thing.” There are about a million! The convenience, the comfort, the value, the privacy…I dare you to find a downside.

But for me, the ultimate best thing about having a home spa is what I consider the most important quality of any big investment: customization. And there’s nothing more perfect to make your own than your home spa. You want to be surrounded by elements that fit into the unique shape and design of your home, not everyone else’s.

ThermaSol’s steamshowers (http://www.thermasol.com) are about as custom as you can get in your home spa. Entering your home spa’s dimensions in their “Build Your Own Steamshower” online tool generates a base product recommendation for a steamshower unit. From there, the rest is up to you. And I’m not just talking about colors, either! (Although with 14 different finishes available on their control systems, from Polished Chrome to Black Nickel, they pretty much run the gamut of metallic and matte options.) From the light & music packages (all of which incorporate their signature No-Touch In-Shower steamhead and aromatherapy oils) to the temperature control units, the steamshower that you dream of is the steamshower you can have.

Steam Shower

Steam Shower

Already have the steamshower and want to turn up the heat? ThermaSol also offers a line of custom cut saunas, featuring their exclusive Finnish heater and western red cedar fit to order. All you provide is the floor! And like their steamshowers, ThermaSol’s saunas are designed to fit into any specific space. (All I hear is “So long basement game room…”)

Your home spa is all about you – and it should only include elements designed for your space. Whether structural or aesthetic, it’s the custom touches that will make your home spa experience all the most amazing.

The Evolution of the Spa

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

 

Antient Bath House

Ancient Bath House

Circa 1700 B.C. – The first mention of a bath dates all the way back to the time of Greek mythology, when the King of Crete built his exquisite palace of Knossos. In this palace, large bathtubs were built, and are the first we see of the tub in history. The bath then became famous due to this myth because it is said that it ended up being the place where the King was killed when the daughter of Cocalus, king of Agrigentum, poured boiling water over him while he was taking a bath.

836 B.C. – A spring is said to be discovered by the British king Bladud in Bath, England. It is often thought that this is the first use of the word “Bath” and is most likely the first indication of a hot spring bath in history. The Roman Baths themselves are below the modern street level.  The story of these baths was embellished to say that the spring had cured Bladud and his herd of pigs of leprosy through wallowing in the warm mud.

Circa 400 B.C. – It was during this time that in ancient Greece, a little city existed named Epidaurus. It was here that Asclepius, the most important healer god of antiquity, brought prosperity to the city, and with this prosperity large public baths were constructed, among other public monuments.

25 B.C – Emperor Agrippa opened  the first imperial thermae in Rome, with pools, steam rooms, grand halls and libraries.

737 A.D. – Japan’s first onsen (hot spring) complex opens near Izumo. It took centuries before this concept was combined with Japanese traditional inns called ryokan. Today there are more than 2,500 onsen sites that offer their visitors an escape from the daily stresses of life.

1000 A.D. – This was the first appearance of the Finnish Sauna, with saunas appearing along the Baltic, where it was said that pin tar, wine and saunas could cure any illness. Even today many Finns still subscribe to some version of this prescription.

1350 A.D. – It was during the bubonic plague that public baths were shut down throughout Europe to prevent spread of the plague.

 

Interior of the Cagaloglu Hamami, Istanbul

Interior of the Cagaloglu Hamami, Istanbul

1556 A.D. – The baths of Roxelana, the grandest of the Ottoman Empire, open a Hammam near the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The Hammam contained huge domed steam rooms, private washing alcoves and a central massage platform, similar to a Roman bath, but designed to shut out the outside world. Photo Credit: http://www.cagalogluhamami.com.tr

1700’s – During the 1700’s Bath, England became “the premier resort of frivolity and fashion”. It was during the medieval times that Bath fell into disrepair, but during this time period the architect John Woods and his son completely made over the town as a grand Georgian showcase.

1830’s- 1950 – During the Victorian Age Saratoga Springs, New York uses their natural, carbonated mineral waters and luxe hotels to attract luminaries such as Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe and President William Taft. Horse racing and gambling also arrive in Saratoga, and then in the early 1900’s the invention of the automobile allows the wealthy to venture to Saratoga to enjoy the spa town.

1910 – In the 10’s the concept of the day spa was introduced to American women by Elizabeth Arden when she unveiled the Red Door Salon on Fifth Avenue.

1918 – Budapest’s Gellert Baths open and the city becomes Europe’s spa capital. Though Budapest has more than 100 baths and pools, Gellert with it’s amazing Art Nouveau architecture and Turkish inspired thermal pools becomes the place to go.

 

Two Bunch Palms

Two Bunch Palms

1940 – It was around 1940 that destination spas begin to open up in part because of the opening of Rancho La Puerta by Deborah Szekely in Baja California, Mexico. In 1958 Szekely unveiled her Japanese inspired Golden Door Spa in California, which had a more personalized approach to weight loss and fitness, later introducing Jane Fonda to aerobics.

1940’s – The hot springs in the desert of Two Bunch Palms, California becomes a popular hangout for Al Capone who built a hideout here in the 1920’s.  The restaurant and spa become a front for a casino and brothel, and in the 60’s the spa becomes legitimate and lures in Hollywood types. Picture of Palm Springs present day. Photo credit from http://www.twobunchpalms.com/

1957 – Vitabath introduces Original Spring Green Gelee as the first premium, luxury product for the bath and shower.

1958 – In 1958 David Altman designed, built and installed the first minielectric steam bath for home use. The word spread slowly amongst the affluent about this new home amenity. ThermaSol, the company that was founded by David Altman is now the leading manufacturer of Steam Showers.

1970 – The Home Spa becomes more and more popular as Roy Jacuzzi builds on the success of his indoor Jacuzzi bath by unveiling his Whirlpool Spa.

1974 – The fitness spa becomes more popular as the Ashram, in the Santa Monica mountains becomes the first fitness spa designed to provide extremely strenuous exercise with yoga sessions and vegetarian cuisine.

1986 – Spafinder begins as a small travel agency specializing in booking spa vacations, which at the time was a small niche for a travel agency.

1995 – High-end hotels answer the call to add spas to their list of amenities.

 

Medical Spa

Medical Spa

1996 – Bliss helps the day spa phenomenon hit a peak, combining details like turkey feathers and Mongolia lamb’s wool ottomans with their excellent treatments.

1997 – As plastic surgery and botox becomes more popular, dermatologists, surgeons and facial specialists join up to provide Medical Spas.

1999 – This was the first year that the spa industry overtook the amount earned by the ski industry with $5.3 billion in spa services.

2000 – Simultaneous treatments are added to many spa menus so spa-goers can receive a facial and a pedicure/manicure at the same time to save time.

2001 – Interiors of spas become calm and soothing with minimalist designs. Spas begin to hide product, increase privacy and provide private showers.

Future of Spa – The future of spas is uncertain, but it appears that as home spas become more and more popular, the service of having the spas come to you will be the next big step in spas. Soon spas will come directly to your house, as we are seeing with more and more spas offering a “Home Spa Party” package, or in-house treatments. Another example of this can be seen in the plans by the Porta-Spa company, which builds spas for their clientele. Soon Porta-Spa will be offering a Roman decadenza, Japanese grotto or a prefab spa which will be delivered to your home, complete with an aesthetian who will provide your treatments for the day when you purchase a spa.

Floating Saunas

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Kaluga Floating Sauna

Kaluga Floating Sauna

I don’t know where, how or why this new phenomenon began, but it seems like the Floating Sauna just might be the next big trend in spa culture ;-) . Here’s the research that supports my hypothesis:

1) The Kaluga Floating Sauna: This sauna was designed by Finnish architecture firm Rintala Eggertsson for the festival of landscape objects, held in Russia in July 2008. The theme behind the festival was houses built on water. Their floating sauna, they said, could provide shelter for up to six people for several days. The Kaluga did make it down the Ugra river in Russia and later made it into a permanent Museum exhibit, before it reached its final state as a guest house.

SS Silla

SS Silla

2) SS Silla: This impressive floating sauna scored the title of World’s Fastest Floating Sauna at 18 MPH at Match Cup Sweden.

Chunky Monkey

Chunky Monkey

3) Floating Sauna Company: A Canadian based family company that introduced the Chunky Monkey using two surplus fuel tanks from an F-18 fighter for flotation back in 1997. Although Company Owner Don Toporowski’s Floating Saunas have evolved, he still uses the Chunky Monkey. He says, “there is nothing better than taking a hot sauna session and then jumping off the rooftop diving platform into the cool lake water.”

The Biggest Sauna in the World

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

The Biggest Sauna in the World: Therme Erding

Ouside view of Largest Sauna in the World

Ouside view of Largest Sauna in the World

Therme Erding, just north of Munich, was voted Germany’s best sauna in the online sauna guide. This unique spa features 18 saunas with different themes and temperatures spanning from 95 degrees Fahrenheit to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. They offer a rose sauna and citrus scented sauna for aromatherapy as well as a mediation sauna. There is even a Finnish log cabin sauna with kelo wood walls and a fireplace. Plenty of showers and cold bathtubs help to cool visitors off after all the heat and steam treatments. One shower is in the shape of a 15 foot tall bundle of calla lilies and spouts 80 gallons of water.

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