Monday, October 7, 2013

Steamy Love Story

steam shower minneapolis
photo from: Menifee Body Shop Blog

I’m not a morning person. I’m not really an evening person either; truth be told there are only a handful of hours in a day that I’m firing on all cylinders. Like most other morning-challenged people, I have a switch that needs flipping before I’m able to reboot, allowing me to recognize myself in the mirror and acknowledge fellow beings stumbling through the morning ether. For some, that switch is coffee, others a brisk workout, for me it’s a hot shower that thaws the dormant neurons and gets the mind humming again.

Since I've been old enough to prepare myself for the day, a screaming hot shower has always been the cornerstone of my morning ritual. Stepping into a shower enclosure is entering a place of comfort and warmth, of solace and rejuvenation. We are ourselves in that space, liberated from the weight of existence (clothing too…), entering with the scent of decay and emerging fresh and revived. We belt out a tune, we have a eureka moment, we close our eyes and feel the comfort of our liquid cocoon.

Not all showers lend themselves to such shameless romanticism. I can remember a time back in the dorms in college, being forced to scrub down in drafty communal showers, flip-flop clad and shower basket in tow, or the days in my first apartment where the water pressure was so pathetic, the drooling showerhead was hardly capable of rinsing the shampoo suds from my hair. In fact, I’d say that I didn't truly understand the full potential of what a shower can do for the body and soul until I stepped into a steam shower for the very first time. Here's how the love affair began...

Having just endured an hour long deep tissue massage at a local spa, I made my way all jelly-legged to the shower room, where, waiting behind a single heavy glass door surrounded by tight fitting gaskets, an enigmatic, yet inviting mist loomed ready to engulf me.  I’d spent a fair amount of time detoxing in steam rooms in the past, so I wasn't anticipating anything beyond your run of the mill schvitz.  Once inside, that notion quickly passed as I was simultaneously greeted by two of life’s most delightful sensations. A soul sustaining stream of hot water rained down upon me, while eddies of minute water droplets whirled through the air, soothing my throat and opening my pores. As the warmth seeped from flesh to bones, so did the revelation that no other shower could offer me such holistic therapy. I knew I would never again be fully satisfied by my morning rinse until I possessed this pinnacle of indoor plumbing.

Fortunately, being in the glass industry, it didn't take long to make this dream a reality. Now I enjoy the benefits of my own steam shower:  melting away the coating of sleep each morning, helping me decompress after a vigorous workout, or unwinding the coil of a stressful workday. Its nurturing ways are always there for me when I need it most. There are times when I'm forced to slum, a quick scrub down in a second-rate motel bathroom or haphazardly washing off whatever is floating in the community pool, and I'm always left feeling sullen and unsatisfied. These transgressions only serve to reinforce my adoration for the elegant steam shower, queen of my clean and rejuvenated heart.