Getting Organized

By Linda Pescatore

June 20, 2008 5 min read

BATHED IN LIGHT

Soak in mood-changing color with chromatherapy systems

By Linda Pescatore

Copley News Service

Don't be fooled. The alluringly colorful liquid coming out of the latest faucets and filling the latest bathtubs is not tinted by bath oil or dye, it's actually clear water illuminated by lamps imbedded in the plumbing.

It's part of a technology called chromatherapy, from the Greek words for color and healing. Back in the day, Greek healers like Hippocrates believed that bathing a patient in a specific shade of the spectrum would aid in their recovery and they had separate treatment rooms painted for each type of ailment.

Although they borrowed the word from the ancients, modern manufacturers aren't claiming that your plumbing is any kind of substitute for a physician's care. Instead, these companies tout the effects that color has on your mood, whether invigorating reds, oranges and yellows, or calming blues, greens and violets.

Mr. Steam, a New York manufacturer of steam baths and steam showers, offers a chromatherapy light that colors the water vapor to envelop you in an otherworldly radiance as you shower. Since there's no tub to fill, it's perfect for the person on the go.

"We don't recommend they stay there longer than 10 or 15 minutes, but that's all that we have time for these days," said Martha Orellana, Mr. Steam's vice president of sales and marketing. "You take a nice shower and that's all (the time) you've got for yourself, so we're saying, 'Why not make it count?' Treat yourself - those are your 10 minutes."

This light can also be used independently, along with some other options, such as an aromatherapy system.

"You can have the chromalight going any time you want, you can have the steam going at any time and you can have the aromatherapy with the steam - because the aromatherapy actually mixes with the steam," Orellana said. "We also have speakers, which we call music therapy."

The suggested list price for the Mr. Steam chromatherapy light is about $400. The steam generator ranges from $1,800 up to $4,000 for a complete system that includes the chromatherapy light, the music therapy speakers and the aromatherapy injector pump system. Visit www.mrsteam.com for more information.

Hansa offers chromatherapy in their Colourshower and Hansaclear Lux line of showerheads, hand showers and faucets, according to Jeff Boardman, divisional sales manager for KWC America, which is owned by the Hansa Group, based in Stuttgart, Germany. These futuristic transparent fixtures glow with the aura of one of six preset colors, each chosen for its specific mood-changing properties.

"If you wake up in the morning and you really want to recharge your battery, you would turn the Hansa Colourshower on a red or an orange color pattern to act as a stimulant to wake you up, as opposed to maybe you got home late from work and you want to take a shower before you go to bed, you might use the green or the blue color spectrums to have more of a calming or peaceful effect," Boardman said.

Like most modern systems, Hansa's uses light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. These solid-state systems last far longer than incandescents.

"It's ultralow voltage," Boardman said, adding they require no special cleaning or maintenance. "The LEDs, if you were to run them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, they would last 11 years before they'd begin to fail. They have ultralong life spans."

The Hansa Colourshower retails for $1,791, and the Hansaclear Lux retails for $420. Find more details at www.hansa.us.com.

Another manufacturer of chromatherapy products is plumbing powerhouse Kohler. Its Vibracoustic bathtub is a multisensory environment of light, sounds and soft vibrations.

The goal is "entrainment," or the connection of internal body rhythms with external influences, according to Ann Roever, business director for Kohler bathing products. When you achieve deep, slowed breathing, relaxation is inevitable, the company says.

Four so-called experiences are programmed in. Each serves a distinct combination of sound and vibration to lull your stress away. Four chromatherapy lights can each create eight colors, and they blend for myriad color combinations and patterns. A color dial lets you choose a particular hue of each color. The lights synchronize with the four experiences and can also regulate themselves with the rhythm of your own favorite music. No dye can do that! Visit www.kohler.com for more information and pricing.

? Copley News Service

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