A Vichy shower is a horizontal series of showerheads forming a “rain bar” over a waterproof, cushioned table that features drainage on the side for all the excess water. This is a therapist-controlled water massage designed to increase blood circulation, hydrate the skin and soothe/relax muscles.
Salt Room Salt rooms have steadily grown in popularity – however, it should be noted that an aesthetically-pleasing “salt wall” on its own will not provide the benefits the bather seeks. Instead, these rooms require copious amounts of salt on the floor, walls and ceiling and many believe that the only way to truly benefit from salt inhalation is through the introduction of finely powdered salt into the air via a halo generator or by nebulizing brine vapor into the space. Salt treatments are believed to relieve asthma, improve circulation and lower blood pressure.
Mud bathing originated thousands of years ago as a medicinal and beautifying ritual—depending on the minerals inherent in the mud, these baths can cleanse, exfoliate, absorb toxins, increase circulation and soften the skin. The bather can either be fully immersed in mud, or the mud can be applied by a therapist or a bathing partner.
Kneipp therapy was founded in the 19th century by Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian parish priest, who was ill with tuberculosis and developed this “water cure” to heal himself. Kneipp therapy does not always take place in a pool—in fact hot and cold compresses can be used—but, pools are most common. The Kneipp walk uses a mix of hot- and cold-water actions (stepping through the water) to stimulate the circulation of blood. Pebbles on the bottom of the stream/walkway massage the feet, and the alternation of hot and cold baths stimulate circulation of all parts of the body. There are two walks used—the bather begins by stepping in hot water and then moves to cold water.
The foot spa is traditionally an area where warm ceramic or mosaic benches offer a place to relax and be comfortable, while bathing the feet in cool or warm (never hot) water. Feet are especially important in the heating and cooling process of a hydrothermal journey because the small amount of flesh and fat on them, combined with the large number of blood vessels, allow this cooling or warming effect to be conveyed through the body via the heated or cooled bloodstream.
Individual hydrotherapy tubs deliver a unique sensation of heat, buoyancy and hydro-massage. Jets can be positioned to stimulate and relax trigger points in the body. High-quality units will massage body zones, beginning at the feet and going towards the upper part of the body, and will have automatic programs with different focuses and varying pressures. Aromatherapy oil can be added to the baths to intensify the bather’s relaxation and engage the other senses. Soothing skin products are often used. The natural healing power of mineral water or seawater can increase their effectiveness.
A floatation pool or tank is usually enclosed and typically encloses the whole body (an experience that could be likened to going back to the womb). The water in the tank is is kept at body temperature and the most important element is magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) that is dissolved in the tank to create a weightless “float.” As opposed to a swimming pool where there is a sense of weightlessness, gravity in a floatation tank is completely nullified by the buoyancy of the dissolved Epsom salt. An enclosed floatation tank creates sensory deprivation, restricting stimulation – something that experts say can change the way the brain works by increasing theta waves in the brain - the waves that are activated by meditation and active during REM sleep.
Experience or Deluge Showers
There are a huge variety of showers—cold waterfalls, mists, body jets and dramatic “experience showers”—offering multi-sensory experiences that incorporate smells, sound and visual effects that help take the bather to another world. A deluge shower takes things a bit more back to basics by delivering a huge dump of cold water on bathers so they can adequately cool between heat treatments.
To gain a better understanding of some of the more common/popular hydrothermal experiences found in today’s spas and in-home wellness suites, check out DFL’s recent blog posts: