Showers of Delight

Photo: Efi Kalaitzidis/Flickr

Until recently, “enjoy” was not a word most people associated with showers. Enjoyment meant long soaks in the bathtub. Showering was a utilitarian experience, used to rinse off the effects of a virtuous exercise session or a not-so-virtuous night on the town. That is changing, however, as more folks opt to spray, rather than soak, themselves clean. Here’s how to make your daily cleanse an individual, green and luxurious experience.


Standing under running water improves the human singing voice. The gurgling and gushing sounds that emanate from the plumbing seem to muffle the gurgling and gushing from your vocal cords, providing the perfect opportunity to practice for your future career as an opera star or heavy metal vocalist. Meanwhile, the steam lubricates your larynx and helps you keep your vocal cords strong.

Some Like It Hot

Standing in a flow of sultry water has a number of health benefits. Relax stiff joints and sore muscles with a steamy spray. Open your sinuses when you suffer from cold or allergy symptoms. And if you’re preparing for a heavy water has been shown to raise levels of oxytocin, aka the love hormone.

Some Like It Cold

Cold shower fans deserve equal time. Frigid water hydrates hair and skin, imparting a healthy glow. It also washes away fatigue and increases alertness. Studies show that cool showers once or twice daily can relieve depression.

Better Than Bathtime

When you contemplate making the switch from tub baths to showers, consider the following factoids. In general, showers get you cleaner using less water. If you have a good water heater, the water won’t cool off as it does in a bath. Shower stalls, especially the new curbless type, are easier to get in and out of than tubs, making them more accessible to those with limited mobility. Minimal floor space is needed to install a shower -- great if you want to upgrade a small powder room. And it’s usually simpler to repair a shower head than to replace a tub.

Green Clean

Reduce your ecological footprint when you step into the shower, saving on both water and utility bills. Low-tech suggestions include shortening your splash time, turning down the temperature to lower water heating costs, collecting runoff to water your garden or flush your toilet, and purchasing a “green” shower curtain or door made from chloride-free and/or recycled materials. To go higher tech, hire a plumber to install an environmentally friendly shower system, with features like an aerated or other low-flow showerhead (handheld or fixed mount or, even better, one of each), flow regulator, or pause function for lathering up or shaving breaks.

Designer Delight

New standards of comfort for your home’s most essential area, the bathroom, seem likely to permanently put to rest the Spartan mindset associated with the shower. Designer showers resemble five-star spas, emphasizing luxury, esthetics and relaxation. The shower itself often encompasses ingenious features such as multi-jets, rain effects, steam or double showerheads, and more amazing showerhead options.

Accessories range from the sublime -- a built-in footbath -- to the ridiculous but fun -- a waterproof radio or shower curtain custom-printed with your choice of photo. Strikingly attractive shower area design details include arched entryways; natural stone, mosaic or glass Houston tile shower enclosures; built-in lounge chairs; and skylights or plate glass windows to show off a view...often with foggable glass so you don’t become the view. The latest trend is colored LED shower sprays. Rinse yourself in glowing red, green or purple, for the ultimate shower experience.

Laura Firszt writes for

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