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Q: Hi Ed, we’re replacing the original standard bathtub in our home and want to upgrade with a little luxury. We’re going with an air bath-style fixture and aside from the bubbles, what other options

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Q: Hi Ed: We’re getting rid of the old, boring bathtub and installing a brand new, luxurious one instead. We’ve decided on an air bath-like fixture; what other features are there to consider when shopping for a bubble massage tub?

The Terry, Kansas

A: To compare a whirlpool jet tub to a bubble massage air bath would be a misnomer. The primary distinction is that genuine bubble massage tubs lack water jets. A soft full-body massage is provided not by powerful jets but by thousands of tiny rising bubbles. Due to its low impact on the body while still providing a soothing spa-like experience, this massage style is a favorite among aging-in-place renovation projects.

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Air baths have a number of customizable features beyond the obvious “bubbles,” such as rounded surfaces, armrests, and lumbar support for added comfort, a lower step-over height with a thin slotted overflow drain to allow for deep soaking, built-in surface heaters for soothing warmth during soaking, purge cycles to clear water out of air channels when not in use, textured bottom surfaces, and variable heating and bubble settings.

When you add up the cost of installing a fully-featured air bath, the level of indulgence can be staggering.