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11. – 15.3.2019 (Monday – Friday), Frankfurt am Main

The health-promoting bathroom

Healthy showering (Source: VDS-Aqua Cultura)

Source: VDS-Aqua Cultura

For 84 percent of Germans, health counts as the most fundamental of all the things that contribute to quality of life. Such is the finding of a poll by the Bertelsmann Foundation. The desire for a healthy way of life has now led to a reconsideration of the natural healing power of water. 'Hydrotherapy' has been used since antiquity for the treatment of chronic pain, local inflammation and to improve the circulation. At the same time, it provides a natural way to reduce stress, one of the most common causes of the diseases of modern civilisation.

According to a poll conducted by a major German health insurance company, the Techniker Krankenkasse, in 2013, six out of every ten respondents were aware of being permanently tense. That represents a serious danger to health, for it frequently results in excessive production of adrenaline, increased levels of blood sugar and cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is, however, very difficult to make an impression on the vegetative nervous system, which is responsible for controlling the body's reactions to stress. Warm baths offer one possible therapeutic approach to reducing such reactions naturally. Their impact on blood pressure and individual overload is usually established by looking at heart-rate variability (HRV).

Bathtub (Source: Shutterstock_ESB Essentials)

Source: Shutterstock_ESB Essentials

Scientific proof: baths reduce stress!

The measurement of HRV, saliva and skin conductivity, as well as verbal reports of mental states were recently all used in a study by the Institute of Sports Medicine in the University of Hamburg. Commissioned by the Association of the German Sanitation Industry (Vereinigung Deutsche Sanitärwirtschaft - VDS) and the industrial forum, IFS, (IndustrieForum Sanitär), they were asked to investigate whether warm baths really could relieve the pressures of stress in everyday life. Following a series of different tests, it became possible, in the spring of 2016, to show scientifically that taking a bath can bring about recovery from an acutely stressful situation more quickly than simply lying down and relaxing.

What is more, in the informational brochure 'For heart and soul' (Für Herz und Seele), the VDS documents that water can be used as therapy for pain, cardiovascular problems, rheumatism and blood-pressure anomalies just as effectively as it can for varicose veins and swelling during pregnancy. Alongside the bathtub, showers of all types – rain, fountain, massage and steam – can also all transform the bathroom into a training area for vitality and fitness. With minimal investment of time, our metabolism and immune system can be stimulated into activity on a daily basis – and the spa in our own home is open 24/7.

Saune (Source: VDS-Aqua Cultura)

Source: VDS-Aqua Cultura

ISH 2017 brings a natural medicine cabinet into the home

Alongside relaxing bath tubs and hot / cold contrast showers, there is much to be said for saunas too. As research shows, regular sessions in a 'gentle sauna' can stabilise – even normalise – not only the immune system, but blood pressure too in a completely natural way. This is demonstrated in the findings of a study carried out by the Charité university hospital in Berlin. Doctors even advise people with low blood pressure to take regular saunas, in order to stabilise their blood pressure. To cool down, scientists recommend that patients with circulation problems use a rain shower with a temperature between 12 and 14 degrees centigrade.

A steam shower, as a gentler alternative to the 'sweat box' and with a temperature of between 45 and 60 degrees that stimulates the circulation, can even be used when you have a cold. Combined infra-red and steam showers open up the possibility of traditional light and heat treatment to complement the steam in therapeutic approaches to pain, colds, muscle tension and skin impurities.

Alongside its display of many different sorts and kinds of plumbing and sanitation products, ISH will be concerned with the topic of the 'Gesundbrunnen Bad' ('Health Fountain Bathroom'). Not least because of this, professionals in the field expect to find a host of new innovative products and ideas relating to wellness and well-being.

The ideal health-giving bathroom from a medical point of view

This really ought also to include the shower WC, whose expected further development is set to be very much influenced by medical consideration. The toilet with a built-in shower-function promises a high level of hygiene and, according to many doctors, helps to reduce infections and fungal diseases and offers significantly improved ways of treating haemorrhoidal problems.

To the question of what his own personal ideal bathroom for optimum preventive healthcare would look like, Hamburg Professor and author of numerous scientific publications on preventive healthcare, Dr. Klaus-Michael Braumann, responded: “As a passionate advocate of exercise, I know that you can only really 'recover' properly after you have exercised beforehand. So I would wish for more people to install a fitness-cum-wellness bathroom – perhaps in what was once the children's room. A bicycle ergometer next to the bathtub would be an ideal reflection of Yin and Yang. Energetic exercise followed by well-earned relaxation would be the best plan for maintaining health and, with it, quality of life.”

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