In many cultures around the world and throughout history, bathing has been a ritualistic act. A bath cleanses impurities and calms the spirit. Immersing oneself in water can feel exhilarating beyond belief. In the twenty-first century, we have the technology to make our bathing experiences transcendent every time. Here is my recipe for a perfect bath that will make you feel rejuvenated, happy, and healthy.
Squeaky Clean Utilities
There’s nothing worse than getting ready to enjoy a nice hot bath and discovering a dirty bathtub. Okay, one thing is worse: turning on the jets once you’re in the bath, and having gunk come out. Yelch! Whirlpool bathtubs are notorious for being difficult to keep clean, but that’s a lot less true than it used to be. Many modern manufacturers have put a stronger emphasis on hygienic features, like including anti-return valves that keep bath oils and impurities from building bacteria up in the jets. Not only does this mean better peace of mind in the moment, but also a lot less maintenance in the long run – which makes it easier to use the tub more often.
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A lot of people love jets, but I personally find them noisy and irritating. When a jet blows full blast on part of my skin, the area will become red and itchy. Does anybody else have this problem? Anyway, not all “whirlpool” bathtubs are water-jet exclusive. Air-system and combo bathtubs incorporate gentler air-based massage features. These smaller, quieter jets distribute air bubbles throughout the bath evenly, resulting in a much more relaxing spa. Not sure what you like? Most combo tubs will let you adjust your experience, from gentle air bubbles to powerful air jets, or various combinations of the two that let you get the perfect bath for you.
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Early whirlpool tubs were bulky and came exclusively in drop-in varieties that had to be installed into a mount. But these days you can find freestanding jetted tubs, including the dream Roman tub that I’ve always wanted. I had a friend in New York who had a studio loft apartment and she had to share a public toilet with everyone on her floor. In her studio, between the kitchen and the ladder up to her loft she had a free standing tub. It was so adorable! At parties she would fill in up with ice and beer.
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How can you float away when the rim of the tub is jammed in the back of your neck? You can’t! And trust me – not all whirlpool bathtubs are created equal when it comes to the ergonomics of the interior curves and backrests. While you don’t necessarily need a vintage slipper-style bathtub, do keep an eye out for smooth lines, head rests, and arm rests that will accommodate the curves of your body. If the rim of the tub looks hard, steep, or uncomfortable, it probably will be. Be extra cautious if you aren’t able to try the tub out in person; inflatable bath pillows will only get you so far! Corner tubs with padded headrests and bowed sides are a little shorter in terms of full length, but offer more elbow room to settle in and get comfy.
Designate a special segment of time for bathing. Don’t allow pending obligations to weigh on your brain. Ask the kids to play a game together. The perfect bath is never complete without the sensation of letting go of the filth rinsing off your skin, the worries, the dissatisfaction, or the exhaustion. Let it wash away and go right down the drain. If you know bathing is difficult for you – for mobility reasons or otherwise – choose a tub that eases some of the burden of the task. Walk-in bathtubs make it easy to get in and out of the tub (and take a little less time to fill than standard whirlpools). Tubs with in-line heating will keep your water at a set temperature for as long as you want to soak, no top-off needed.
So these are the ingredients for the perfect bath. Don’t forget the occasional candles and glass of Merlot for extra alone time luxury. The mind needs meditation, and a bath every now and again gives us time to quiet our thoughts and remember how to relax.
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