Full Circle: From Ancient Swedana to Modern Steam Showers

December 30th, 2011
Swedana

Swedana steam therapy

Steam therapy dates back thousands of years to numerous ancient cultures all over the world, among the oldest being India. Though we’ve made technological strides in the “steam” field, all the way up to the most modern steam showers designed and manufactured by companies like ThermaSol, it’s always fascinating to look back.

Swedana is an ancient Ayurvedic healing technique that was first mentioned in holy Indian texts. Still practiced today in India and spas all over the world, the treatment involves sitting in an enclosed, herbal-infused steam box or tent for around 30 minutes. The custom herbal preparations, created by an Ayurvedic physician, stimulate oxygen flow through the body as the steam opens up the pores and triggers the body’s natural sweating process.; once the pores are open, deep seated toxins can be released. Other immediate benefits of swedana include: enhanced skin, increased circulation, ease of muscle pain, and a state of relaxation. In Ayurveda, the larger purpose of swedana is to relieve excess doshas from the body – one of three bodily humors that make up one’s constitution – establishing a state of balance that promotes general health.

Building upon the knowledge of ancient cultures that utilized steam therapy on a regular basis, today we have modern steam shower manufacturers who bring a high level of design and technology into peoples’ homes with their products. ThermaSol, the leader in the steam shower industry, offers customers the only 100% digital networked steam systems in the world – the safest and most reliable technology. They go the extra mile, offering customers a combination of quality and value, with standard features like: FastStart™ Technology, providing steam in seconds; whisper quiet functionality; constant steam at a constant rate, meaning no interruptions in steam; all metal controls with advanced PVD lifetime finishes; superior style, including matching controls, remotes and steamheads in traditional and contemporary styles; a lifetime warranty; and all the green benefits of steam.

Modern steam shower by ThermaSol

Modern steam shower by ThermaSol

Steam therapy, in combination with an overall healthy lifestyle, is a method of achieving and maintaining a state of well being that has been proven over the course of thousands of years. With modern steam shower technology, it’s also a method that is easy to bring into the home bath environment.

Spa Fit for a Sultaness: Ananda Spa

December 9th, 2011
Ananda Spa

Ananda Spa

In Talk Spas’ “Spa Fit for a Sultaness” series, we profile the most luxurious and lavish spas in the world.

The profound allure of India is well known to many Westerners; with its exotic culture, deep spirituality, it’s yogic and Ayurvedic traditions and of course, its dynamic cuisine, it’s no surprise that so many want to experience the country. India is also notable for its spa traditions, many of which utilize the aforementioned Ayurvedic tradition as the basis for their healing treatments. Perhaps no spa in India embodies the healing properties of Ayurveda more than Ananda Spa.

Situated in close proximity to the mythological cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh, overlooking the flowing Ganges and surrounded by the Sal Forest, there could be no more an ideal location for Ananda Spa. The road to perfect health begins within the enchanted walls of Ananda, where lifestyle is redefined through the wellness regimes of Ayurveda; this is the ultimate place to bring about the union of the mind, body and soul. When staying at Ananda Spa, guests have a variety of choices in regards to accommodation including Deluxe rooms and suites, the Ananda Suite, the Viceregal Suite, and the Villas. The Villas are named after the great mountain ranges Himalay and Shivalik, as well as the river Ganga, which sustains the people of the Valley; all rooms at Ananda Spa offer a color scheme that echoes nature and enhances serenity. Undoubtedly, the Villas satisfy the needs of even the most discerning guests. The two bedroom villas and the one 1-bedroom villa are each elegantly appointed with a living room, a pantry for the butler, a dressing room and a huge bathroom featuring a private sauna and views of the swimming pool. Of course, it’s the “spa” in Ananda Spa that is the main draw and with 24,000 square feet of space and a spa menu that boasts over 79 body and beauty treatments, guests never want for anything here. Integrating Ayurvedic healing with a more modern Western spa approach, Ananda Spa strives to help clients achieve harmony between their physical and mental realms. For those individuals who are seeking to reduce and eliminate stress, cleanse and detoxify, lose weight, reverse aging, or simply to experience a deep state of relaxation, they could not choose more wisely than Ananda. Onsite Ayurvedic physicians and nutritionists guide each client through a thorough evaluation and treatments based on their wants and needs. The ultimate goal is to bring each client’s Vata, Pitta, and Kapha doshas – the three vital energies in the body – into balance. How is this achieved? A typical stay for a guest might include and Ayurvedic and Wellness Consultation to help understand their unique energy and current imbalances. Based on the physician’s findings, he will create a diet, yoga and treatment program to bring the client more balance and energy. Treatments may include: Sirodhara, where luke warm herbal oil is poured in an even stream on to the forehead to pacify and revitalize the mind and the body; Abhyanga, a traditional synchronized full body massage given by two experienced Ayurvedic therapists using sesame oil; Pizhichil, an indulgent, rejuvenating experience, during which lukewarm herbal oils anoint the entire body; and/or Choornaswedan, where therapeutic sweating is induced by the application of warmed herbal poultices. Whatever the treatment may be, it is certain to be custom designed to maximize the client’s needs.

The ancient healing traditions of India offer an alternative to modern medicine; modern medicine can at times be hard on the body and administered in an impersonal way. Ananda Spa brings an unrivaled personal touch to their guests and anyone who pays a visit will undoubtedly leave with their body, mind and soul feeling refreshed and renewed.

Relaxation Quotations: Wise Words to Inspire Wellbeing & the Spa Lifestyle

December 7th, 2011
Massage

Spa Relaxation

There’s nothing like a good, solid quote to help inspire you to do good things; and if that quote happens to inspire you to rest, soak in a bath or relax at the spa, all the better.

American poet Sylvia Plath, known for works like Winter Trees and The Bell Jar, once said, “There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Undoubtedly, anyone who has spent a half hour soaking in a tub or relaxing in a steam shower knows the rejuvenating effects of a bath on the body and mind. In fact, Captain J. A. Hadfield, a writer who wrote The Psychology of Power, among other books, said, “This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men.” Now who of you out there couldn’t stand to engage in some restful activity, dismiss a little extra care and worry, and enhance your energy level? Especially those of you who feel extra work pressures? Dr. Joyce Brothers, a world-renowned psychologist and television personality, has said, “No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for at least five minutes every hour, you’d be more productive.” That means stepping outside, breathing some fresh air, massaging yourself or exchanging massages with a coworker, or a plethora of other relaxing activities to divert your attention from the stresses of your job to the betterment of yourself. Natalie Goldberg, an author on Zen practice, said, “Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.” Remember that the next time stress is telling you to work late rather than pay a relaxing visit to the spa.

Perhaps nobody extolled the virtues of relaxation better than physicist Fritjof Capra, who said, “During periods of relaxation after concentrated intellectual activity, the intuitive mind seems to take over and can produce the sudden clarifying insights which give so much joy and delight.” Could there be a better reason to draw a bath, turn on your steam shower, or make an appointment at your neighborhood spa today?

Steam Therapy: A Natural Way to Soothe a Nasty Cold or Flu

November 21st, 2011

sneezing man

‘Tis the season for many things; some good, some not so good. Of the latter, nasty, debilitating colds and flus that clog your sinuses and congest your chest are among the least desirable “gifts” of the season. For some, reaching for a few tablets of Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine, or other over-the-counter medication, is the first line of defense against unwanted cold or flu symptoms. However, in this day and age of progression towards more natural remedies, you always have the option of turning to the benefits of steam therapy to relieve the symptoms of your cold or flu.

Although steaming is a remedy that can be accomplished in the confines of a home bathroom steam shower, it is hardly a one that can be written off as an old wives tale. The benefits of a warm steam shower to someone who is suffering from a cold cannot be overstated; steam vapor that enters the lungs and the sinuses is the ultimate natural way to promote expectoration (coughing) and relax the breath. Congestion is caused by a combination of inflammation of the air passages in your lungs and build-up of phlegm in your chest. Steam relaxes and opens up these passages, allowing air to move more freely through them. Medical professionals typically recommend that you spend about 10 to 15 minutes in a steam shower, up to three times per day, when you have a cold or flu. Your children and toddlers with colds or flus can also benefit from a steam shower as long as you get into the steam shower with them to supervise. Additionally, both you and your children can benefit from aromatherapy essential oils introduced into the steam process; eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender and others specific oils can significantly help to boost the effectiveness of steam treatment. If you don’t have a steam shower in your home, you can try to steam in your regular shower, but unfortunately, a regular shower in lieu of a steam shower will not generate the same intensity of steam that a severe cold or flu requires. A company like ThermaSol, that’s been bringing steam showers into their customers’ homes for over 50 years, offers you leading steam technology and the only 100% digital networked steam systems in the world – the safest and most reliable steam technology. Boasting features like FastStart™ steam in seconds, and providing constant steam at a constant rate, a ThermaSol steam shower will provide you with a professional quality steam experience in the comfort of your own home.

Contracting a cold or flu can easily be the most dreadful experience you have all year. Incorporating steam therapy into your cold and flu relief regimen can go a long way towards helping you breathe easy and get well faster.

Melt Away Stress: Great Ideas for Transforming Your Bath into a Day Spa

November 16th, 2011

According to the American Medical Association, 80 percent of all human illnesses are the result of stress. Yet, taking even one small step to reduce stress can have a hugely beneficial effect. Studies have found that altering the physical environment in your home can help improve emotional health. Few rooms offer the kind of opportunities to create a relaxing space than the master bath environment. The Talk Spas editorial team has come up with a few great ideas for transforming your bath environment into your own personal day spa, to help you go from stressed-out to stress-free.

1. “Naturalize” The Space – Wood and stone are the most prominent materials used in modern spa construction. Whether you choose a vanity made of wood, a countertop made of granite, or even porcelain made to mimic marble, such as Whitestone (RWS) tile from Hastings Tile & Bath, bringing natural materials indoors creates a sense of calm for the space.

Stone Look Tile

Whitestone (RWS) tile from Hastings Tile & Bath

2. Mood Lighting – Don’t be afraid to use lighting in unexpected ways in a spa bathroom. “Lighted wall panels built into the drywall, fiber optic lighting placed in the ceiling or flooring that gives the look of sparkling stars, and lighting that highlights or washes the wall are all great options,” says interior designer Jamie Beckwith. “Lighting can go from clean to sexy by the click of a switch, or preferably a dimmer.” CSL® (Creative Systems Lighting) offers several options for bath mood lighting: the concealed linear lighting of Invisizite Generation 2, LED Eco-Downlight, and Disc, with a double-LED lamp and wall/flush mount. Read the rest of this entry »

Home Steam: Wellness “Tourism” Without the High Prices

November 10th, 2011
thermasol-steam-shower

ThermaSol steam shower with light and music system

We hear a lot about wellness tourism these days and people opting out of typical city or beach breaks. They are instead spending their time at spas, yoga retreats, and other places where they can improve the state of their mind, body, and spirit. With personal wellness increasingly becoming an important factor for individuals who desire to take responsibility for their own health, the wellness industry is booming. One of the great benefits of wellness tourism is that it can give people the tools to continue a program of wellness at home after their trip, without paying the high prices it typically costs to attend a spa or retreat for a week or more. One of the major changes people can make at home, to bring wellness into their lives, is to install a steam shower.

Steam showers are a direct extension of wellness tourism, as you can find them in spas and resorts all over the world. They offer individuals a number of short term and long term health benefits – best of all they only need to be used for 15 to 20 minutes a day. Taking a steam shower has been proven to aid in restful sleep and increase the length of REM cycles. Doctors often prescribe steam therapy as an alternative to sleeping pills. Over the course of many centuries, steam therapy has been used for the purposes of relaxation and to create a sense of well being. For people with conditions like anxiety and stress, they can reap great benefits from taking a steam shower. Steam showers induce sweating and therefore aid in the process of detoxification. Steam showers are also excellent for alleviating symptoms of the common cold by clearing nasal passages and reducing congestion.

Modern steam shower remote by ThermaSol

Modern steam shower remote by ThermaSol

For those who desire a quality steam shower in their home, a company like ThermaSol who has been in the steam shower business for 50 years, offers an unparalleled level of quality and design. As the leader in the steam shower industry, they offer customers the only 100% digital networked steam systems in the world – the safest and most reliable technology. They go the extra mile, offering customers a combination of quality and value, with standard features like: FastStart™ Technology, providing steam in seconds; whisper quiet functionality; constant steam at a constant rate, meaning no interruptions in steam; all metal controls with advanced PVD lifetime finishes; superior style, including matching controls, remotes and steamheads in traditional and contemporary styles; a lifetime warranty; and all the green benefits of steam.

The trend of wellness tourism has directly resulted in individuals becoming more health conscious in their own homes. With modern steam shower technology, they can maintain and improve their health without paying the high prices of professional services.

Letting Off Steam: ThermaSol Heats Up DPHA Conference with Hotly Anticipated Booth

October 31st, 2011
Thermasol Letting Off Steam Lounge

ThermaSol's 'Letting Off Steam' Lounge at DPHA 2011

As you may already know from reading Talk Spas, ThermaSol is the creator of the first steam bath unit for the home and they’ve been designing and building the finest and most technologically savvy steam bath environments available since 1958. Today, ThermaSol is the only 100% CAN-Bus (Controller-Area Network) based steam system in the world and the go-to choice for everyone from home designers and architects to plumbers and homeowners. The Talk Spas editorial team is a big fan of ThermaSol and we were thrilled to hear about their recent showing at the Decorative Plumbing and Hardware Association (DPHA) conference, held on October 14-16 at the San Jose Marriott and Convention Center. In collaboration with Napoleon at Home Interior Design – designers of contemporary interiors that blend elegance with comfort – and artist Susan Marie Bacchi, ThermaSol unveiled its much anticipated “Letting Off Steam” booth to great fanfare. Read the rest of this entry »

Spa Fit for a Sultan: Nickel NYC Men’s Spa & Salon

October 19th, 2011

In Talk Spas’ “Spa Fit for a Sultan” series, we profile the most luxurious and lavish spas in the world.

If you’re a man and you’ve never been to a spa that is dedicated exclusively to the pampering and grooming of men, then you’re missing out. If you make the decision to go to one, perhaps you should consider Nickel NYC Men’s Spa & Salon. A relaxed masculine environment well versed in the spa arts, you couldn’t hope to receive better care and treatment anywhere else.

Nickel Spa

Nickel Spa for Men in New York City

Situated in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, Nickel was founded in 1996 when it dawned on the owners that men needed their own spa in which to retreat and rejuvenate. At the time, masculine beauty was somewhat uncharted territory and the opening of Nickel was rather groundbreaking. Nickel created a comfortable environment for men and helped make it socially acceptable for them to treat themselves to facials, massages, manicures, pedicures and host of other pampering services. Furthermore, they made it so that a trip to the spa was as easy as a trip to the barber. Nickel also pioneered a men’s, no nonsense, high performance skincare range, often marketed with a sense of funkiness and whimsy; for example, their famed Morning After Rescue Gel was sold as the ultimate hangover product to restore beauty to the hair. Today, their products can be found on Amazon and in stores all over the world. Nickel’s hair salon offers men a full service experience including cut, color, highlight and free touch ups within two weeks of a hair cut. Nickel’s spa offers the ultimate range of treatments for men. Specialty massages include: the Destress Muscle Release, a deeply restorative treatment specifically designed for tight, stressed and aching muscles, which incorporates Swedish and cross muscle fiber massage techniques (60 minutes – $115); the Jet-Lag Treatment, an enlivening and rejuvenating massage using physical manipulation to transport you quickly into the right time zone and get your body back in business (60 minutes – $110); and the Aromatherapy Experience, combining the power of pure essential oils with a specialized massage drawn from the traditions of both East and West, concentrating on the back, scalp, face, neck, shoulders and feet (60 minutes – $110). Nickel addresses men’s unique skin care needs with treatments including: the Complete Facial, which deeply cleanses and exfoliates your specific skin type (60 minutes – $110
); the Super Moisturizing Facial, designed for skin experiencing a pre-mature aged look from sun exposure, city pollution, poor diet or even from a little too much partying (60 minutes – $115); and the Touch of Youth Facial, a complete facial plus 50% more treatments that include an anti-aging mask to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (90 minutes – $130). Nickel also offers men a full range of “man-scaping” services including waxing and body trim.

Undoubtedly, Nickel is one of the very best spas in the United States for men. Additionally, Nickel has spas in Paris, on Rue Francs Bourgeois, and in London’s Covent Garden. For those of you men who want to up the level of care you provide yourself, you can hardly go wrong with Nickel.

Top 3 Differences Between Steam Showers & Saunas

October 4th, 2011

With regards to misconceptions in the bath and shower industry, the one where people think that steam showers and saunas are essentially, or even exactly the same thing is one of the biggest. The fact is steam showers and saunas have distinctions in areas including health benefits, heat emission and construction; distinctions to which you should pay close attention if you are considering adding either to your home bath environment. To help you better navigate the two products, the Talk Spas editorial team has put together the following list of the top 3 differences between steam showers and saunas:

3) Materials & Construction

One of the primary differences between steam showers and saunas is the materials utilized to construct them. Steam showers typically utilize a steam generator, like one made by ThermaSol, to pump moisture into an airtight enclosure often made of ceramic tile and glass. Since the moisture is intentionally trapped in the enclosure, typically the ceiling will be slanted to allow condensation to run down the side rather than drip directly down on you. Saunas on the other hand utilize stones placed under a heater to generate heat. The heat rises into a room, often made of wood and well insulated to trap the heat, where the occupant sits on a bench to enjoy the benefits of the heat.

A ThermaSol Steam Shower

A ThermaSol Steam Shower.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spa Gear: 8 Things to Consider When Buying Bath Towels

September 29th, 2011

So you want the quality spa experience at home, but your cheap, thin bath towels that refuse to absorb the water off your body just aren’t cutting it? You’ve come to the right place. The crack editorial team at Talk Spas has spent countless man and woman hours wiping ourselves dry after dips in the sauna and sweats in the steam bath. Based on our hands-on research, we’ve formulated a list of eight considerations when buying bath towels, in order to ensure you get the best quality bath towel at the price point you can afford.

8) Consider the Purpose: Ask yourself, what am I going to be using these towels for? Are they really for your luxury home, or are they heading to your kid’s college dorm, or worse, going to be used to towel off the dog? If you’ve decided they’re for your home spa, use them exclusively in that environment to help them maintain their integrity.

Know Your Fabric.

Know Your Fabric.

Read the rest of this entry »


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