Bathrooms have come a long way since their birth which dates back to as far as 3000 B.C. At this time hygiene wasn’t the reason for the baths; water had religious value. Water was seen as a purifying element for the body and soul therefore people would cleanse themselves before entering a sacred area. Communal baths became very common in villages but not all ancient baths were in the style of large pools. The first surviving bathtub that was recovered from the Palace of Knossos dates back to 1700 B.C. Not only was the tub similar to that of today’s tubs put also contained an extensive plumbing system as well. As time and people evolved baths which were typically public became favored as private spaces throughout the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries in the west.
Today, bathrooms are becoming at-home spas and retreats for people. It is a way for people to experience total relaxation within the comforts of their own home. As lives become more hectic; people want a way to escape from reality for a little while and relax and this is what the new bathrooms are doing for people. Steam showers, chromotherapy, aromatherapy, and music therapy systems are being incorporated into these spaces. These spa-like environments are meant to aid in a better lifestyle, body and soul. Each therapy component does something for the body, mind and soul. People are beginning to explore these different therapies within the bathroom environments; sometimes just using one while others may use a combination or all components for the ultimate spa experience within their home. The three therapies listed (chroma, aroma and music) are gaining more and more popularity in our culture and individuals are seeing the benefits of the therapies.
Chromotherapy or color therapy is an alternative medicine method. It is said that color and light can be used in order to balance energy wherever one is lacking power. Certain colors are meant to empower certain parts of the body and harness certain emotions (creativity, harmony, bliss, energy, relaxation etc.). Color therapy is deeply rooted within an ancient form of medicine used in India for thousands of years. It is also linked to Chinese and Egyptian culture as well. Health is dependent upon the balance of your physical and emotional needs. In India, a group of healers associate colors with seven main chakras which are spiritual centers in our bodies located along the spine. The seven chakras are associated with a particular organ or system within the body. Each chakra has a dominant color but can become unbalanced. If the colors become imbalanced disease and other bodily ailments can emerge. By balancing the chakra colors illnesses can be remedied. Below is a graph showing where each chakra is and what each color represents:
Color therapy can be very powerful for some people but is not to be confused with light therapy which is a therapy proven to relieve major depression disorders. Color is all around us and can greatly influence one’s mood. Within the shower environment you can experience chromotherapy with different systems that offer this. Color therapy can be more archaic than having a light show within you shower and be simplified into the paint, fabric and finish colors chosen within your space. This too can have an effect on your body and mind.
Aromatherapy is another form of alternative medicine being used within spa environments. Aromatherapy uses essential plant oils and other organic aromatic compounds from plants in order to affect a person’s mood and/or health. This practice is deeply rooted in various traditions that utilize these essential oils in combination with other alternative medicines and spiritual practices. Aroma has an influence on the brain especially the limbic system which is the area of the brain that supports emotion, behavior, long term memory and smell. When used on the skin essential oils activate thermal receptors and also kill microbes and fungi. Internal used of these oils may help stimulate the immune system. Some popular uses within aromatherapy of different plants are listed below:
- Basil: used to sharpen concentration, uplifting effect on depression, relieve headaches and migraines
- Black Pepper: stimulating circulation, muscular aches and pains, useful for bruises when applying to the skin
- Eucalyptus: provide relief for the airways in case of cold or flu
- Jasmine: aphrodisiac
- Lavender Oil: to calm and relax, soothe minor cuts and burns, ease headaches and migraines
- Lemon Oil: uplifting and anti-stress
- Sandalwood oil: aphrodisiac
- Bergamot: helpful for both urinary tract and digestive tract, useful for skin conditions linked to stress
Aromas are often used as massaging oils, medicine or topical uses. Outside of the west aromatic compounds are used within medical treatment. This can also be a very powerful therapy method for some people. Aromatherapy systems can be designed into your shower environment for your senses by used essential oils that are dripped into a small reservoir and dispersed into the air emerging you in a aroma-filled environment.
Music therapy is yet another technique used to improve or maintain ones health. Music can alter multiple facets of people including: physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual areas of one’s personality. Music is an extremely powerful instrument and is also utilized with helping to treat an array of conditions such as: psychiatric conditions, physical handicaps, substance abuse, aging are some. Improving learning, building self-esteem, reducing stress, supporting physical exercise and many other activities use music for its therapeutic and motivational attributes. Music can alter someone’s mood almost instantly. Below is a video excerpt from the movie, The Soloist. Based on a true story; showing the struggle between a man and his overwhelming genius that has disabled him from connecting with others around him. A reporter named Steve Lopez is drawn to Nathaniel and decides to write about him. After the article is read by a retired cellist, she decides to send it to the reporter to be given to Nathaniel. This clip shows how Nathaniel’s mood swings from a frantic mad man to a calm and focused person once given a cello to play on:
You see this change within Nathaniel’s mood change drastically just from being given an instrument to create a beautiful music on. You see Nathaniel become a part of the music; this is how powerful music can be for some. Incorporating music within your at home retreat can give you that much more relaxation and/or motivation. Some people have even piped music throughout their whole house. This is just one instance showing how important music is within one’s life.
Each of these components can be utilized within your spaces whether it is the whole house or your own personal retreat and oasis which are commonly the bedroom and bathroom. By harnessing the strengths and benefits of these therapies you can alter your way of life as little or as drastically as you want. The point is that color, aroma and music are all around us every day and whether we realize it or not they do have an effect on each individual. Color is something we react to very frequently whether it is subconscious or conscious. People are drawn to color; it catches our attention and at times aids in our reaction to certain things and stimulates the sensory receptors within the brain. Aroma is yet another everyday encounter. Smell is an incredible sense that we have and can alert us to pleasure or displeasure, danger or calm. Aroma is a way to treat one of your five senses. Finally, music, it is as deeply rooted within us as our genetics. Music is an expression of the soul and a true release for some. Take a look sometime when you are stuck in traffic or at a red light and look at the person behind you in their car. You can catch some at times singing along and tapping their fingers in the steering wheel or completely rocking out to their music they have one. You see one of their true sides that is often kept dormant. Music evokes something from within us and can truly express our personality or mood that’s why it is so powerful. All three are connected to us in one or all forms.