(ARA) - The humble bathroom has come a long way in recent years. Once considered a merely utilitarian space, the bathroom has evolved into a personal retreat that's bigger and more luxurious than ever.
Today's bathrooms provide a refuge from the stresses of daily life. As part of this trend, the demand for custom showering products has exploded over the past five years. More than simply getting clean, today's showers have become customized personal retreats to rejuvenate body, mind and spirit with the power of water.
According to Keith Kometer, marketing manager, North American faucets, for the Kohler Co., demand for showering products is soaring for two reasons: "First, consumers are looking for more therapy, more relaxation, a more versatile water experience; second, many consumers are interested in investing in something they use every day -- or even two or three times a day," he explains.
Among the options available to consumers are showers that deliver hydro-massage as well as showers that mimic the experience of a steam room at a health club or spa. In fact, that's the whole idea -- transforming a standard shower into one of life's indulgences, a retreat that offers physical and emotional wholeness and balance.
While in the past, most home showers wouldn't have been able to drive more than one showerhead, new technology can deliver and distribute water for a custom shower. For example, Kohler's WaterHaven consists of seven showerheads -- two telescoping arms with showerheads, four bodysprays and one handshower. Users can adjust water flow for a tropical downpour, a cascading massage or a gentle spring rain. The company's BodySpa provides the equivalent of a whirlpool standing up.
New shower designs address the fact that not everyone is the same size by making their components adjustable. On the WaterHaven, the showerheads are on telescoping arms that can be effortlessly adjusted up and down, and radially as well. Slide the arms up for a tall user or way down for a child. The adjustability can help in other ways, too: If you don't want your hair to get wet, just move the arm down.
"Custom showers provide many of the therapies and the rituals that used to be reserved for bathing," says Kometer. Kohler's studies show that both men and women are spending more time in a custom shower: Men spend three to five minutes per shower, while women take five to seven minutes. Many women use the handshower to rinse out long hair or to sit down to shave and rinse their legs. "Sitting in the shower is another trend," Kometer notes. "It combines the comfort of a bath with the versatility of the shower."
To complete the home spa experience, consider adding steam to your shower. Steam has a way of slowing you down, and it promotes breathing and relaxation. Kohler's new Steam Generator makes it easy and affordable to add steam. The system includes an aromatherapy well, so users can complete the experience by adding essential oils.
From practical to pampered, new shower innovations make it easier than ever to relax and unwind in the privacy of your own bathroom. For more information on Kohler products, visit the company's Web site at