Health-Driven Design for All the Senses
Martha Orellana, MrSteam’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, is often fondly referred to as “Mrs. Steam.” In this article, Martha discusses designing your bathroom as a haven of wellness. It is the second in a series of MrSteam Team blog posts, in which we bring you first-hand knowledge you can use as you integrate steam into your home or commercial venue – from initial design through installation, use and maintenance.
Can Design Really Enhance Your Health?
When you’re ready to remodel or to build a new bathroom, you probably expect your designer to sit down with you and ask a series of aesthetic questions.
Questions such as: Do you like blue? Or are you more of an orange person? What about stainless-steel fixtures? Would you prefer a black finish?
But that approach is really just designing for the eye. These days, with a growing knowledge that our homes can be a much healthier place, savvy designers go farther, especially in the bathroom. They design to not only please your visual sense, but also to create a space in your home that can enhance your health and well-being while surrounding yourself with comfort.
Such forward-thinking designers start with one basic question: How do you live?
They want to discover what type of lifestyle you lead to focus on the elements of design that will transform you, alleviate stress, and foster well-being. This initial question generally then prompts other questions:
- Are you a busy mom, maybe even a single parent?
- Are you a Type A personality who never gets a chance to decompress?
- Do you drink a lot – and maybe exercise less than you should?
- Do you – like most people – spend 90% of your time indoors?
Adapting Indoor Spaces to Benefit Your Health
There’s a growing consensus that healthier indoor environments can have a positive impact on our health. So knowledgeable designers are changing the way they think about indoor spaces, tailoring them specifically to better benefit your health.
Armed with the knowledge they’ve learned from delving into your lifestyle choices and desires, they can consider innovative design answers to your personal needs. Did you know, for instance, that just by adjusting the light in the bathroom, you can enjoy a better morning “pick me up” than a cup of coffee? Or that if you’re having trouble breathing, specific attention to walls and ceilings can actually eliminate paint VOCs (volatile organic compounds)?
A Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and the Farnsworth Group study uncovered general health-related building concerns, including mold, odors, dampness, and toxic materials. This report claims that the three most popular healthy home products were nontoxic paints/finishes/adhesives (67%), non-toxic building materials, including cabinets and flooring (26%), and water filtration systems (21%).
Such proper design elements can help improve nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep patterns and performance. Some additional examples of the benefits in health that you can gain through health-focused design include:
- Air purification – reduces allergens, toxins, smoke and microbes from the air
- Aromatherapy – positively affects mood and provides many other potential benefits
- Circadian mood lighting – helps regulate sleep patterns
- Dawn simulation – gently awakens with gradually increasing levels of light and sound
- Various light options – including energizing light, long-wave night lighting, and lighting to combat Seasonal Affect Disorder
- Built in floor lighting – illuminates rooms for safe navigation while minimizing sleep disruption
- Water purification for drinking as well as chlorine filters in the shower – can improve skin and hair health
Health-Driven Design in Bathrooms
And, naturally, designers who understand designing for wellness introduce SteamTherapy into the bathroom. With so many research proven benefits of steam, there are bound to be many ways a steam shower can positively impact your family’s health.
SteamTherapy to Alleviate Stress
One thing that most of us experience is stress, that energy sucking byproduct of our busy lifestyles and multiple responsibilities. Stress causes chemical changes in the body that can raise blood pressure, heart rate, even blood sugar levels. It can also lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety, anger, or depression.
Long-term stress may lead to long-term mental and physical health problems. Therefore, reducing your stress levels is clearly critical to your on-going health.
So consider what stressors you face every day. Did someone cut you off in traffic? Are the kids whining again? Did your boss demand the impossible? Are you worried about a parent’s health? Planning a major event? Taking time for yourself and relaxing in steam is one clear answer to all of your built-up tension.
Picture this. You arrive home, hitting the mobile app on your phone the moment you walk through the door. So, by the time you’re ready, hot, relaxing steam has already filled your SteamShower and all you need to do is sit down, and take ten minutes of respite that makes all the difference in how you face the rest of the evening. Your new bathroom design will of course reflect your aesthetic preferences – whether you’ve chosen stone, tile, glass tile, or porcelain to complete your personal style – add steam and you will experience the bliss of being in a setting that soothes your soul.
Healing Therapies of Aroma, Music and Color Combined with Steam
Designers who integrate SteamTherapy into your bathroom design can bring you untold benefits, engaging all of your senses in a healthy bathroom environment. MrSteam has brought ancient therapies into the modern era, making them available at a swipe of a finger. Humankind has employed the therapies of color, sound, and scent since the ancient Greeks took time out in the afternoons to rejuvenate in the public baths, and every culture on earth has enjoyed some variety of steam and sauna since.
Today’s medical community is gradually recognizing the efficacy of these healing aids, as demonstrated in the increased number of scientific articles about aromatherapy, chromatherapy, music therapy and the benefits of steam posted on the National Institute of Health website. Homeowners appreciate the fact that these are natural, non-pharmacological ways to improve their health and well-being. And while each one offers unique benefits on their own, partaking of them in combination with steam can double and triple their healing effects.
(Check out Five Ways Steam Helps Boost Fitness and Wellness for references to those scientific articles.)
Take, for instance, bringing aromatherapy into the steam bath. Now you can infuse the steam you’re inhaling with aromatic eucalyptus, which can help you combat congestion and allergies. Or you might help promote a good night’s sleep with lavender scent, or attain some much-needed energy with energizing mint or the Red Vitality chakra essential oil. You can also restore mind and body balance by suffusing the steam shower with a spectrum of color, helping you attain specific moods.
And of course, we’ve all experienced the power of music in helping us change our mood, energizing or relaxing us. The idea of music as a healing influence is as old as the first cave dweller who picked up a stick and banged out a rhythm on a tree. Having the ability to listen to music in your steam shower engages that elemental sense of sound: relaxing, refreshing, and reinvigorating us.
Technology That Enhances Health-Driven Design
Living in the technology-driven modern day, of course, has given us the ability to not merely design our bath with these restorative therapies, but also to integrate them seamlessly into our lives, so that using programmable, connected devices becomes as simple as the touch of a fingertip.
Wireless, touch screen, intelligent controls, innovative steam dispersion, and precise temperature control – all of these modern conveniences are becoming ever more popular. An astute designer will work with you to include such technologies into your bathroom design, providing you with the ability to use smart controls and mobile devices to dial up a healthy retreat as an antidote to a stress-filled day.
Our increased focus on integrating health in all of our living spaces makes health-driven design a wonderful way to increase your sense of well-being. Selecting the right designer – someone who digs deep into your lifestyle – is the first step to imbuing your bathroom with transformative health benefits.