Health Spas, with their modern, utopian atmosphere using the latest technology to make you look and feel great may seem like they were only invented yesterday, Spas, in fact have been around for thousands of years. If you have ever visited a spa you will have been treated to a rejuvenating, restorative experience which no doubt made you look great and feel on top of the world and while the technology behind the mechanics of the spa is ever advancing, the concept is firmly rooted in ancient Greek and Roman times.
The word ‘Spa’ is believed to be derived from one of two sources, either the Latin ‘salus per aquae’ which means ‘health through water’ or the small Belgian town of Spa (which is now famous for hosting the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix) which was renowned in Roman times for its mineral baths, reputed to have healing powers. This notion of healing was the driving factor behind the widespread use of spas and is still the reason that many use Spas today, whether that healing be physical or mental.
Of course Spas were not only found in warm exotic climates, the UK has its very own spa in Bath, which was believed to be discovered by early Celtic Kings. Spas continued to be successful into Medieval times and were often associated with religious and hygiene rituals, bathers would stay in the water for periods of up to ten hours to cleanse the body of ‘poisons’. Sanitation became a problem however as spas were believed to be one of the reasons for the spread of certain diseases.
The health benefits of Spas were ultimately believed to outweigh the risks however and their use became more and more widespread in Europe. The U.S was also quick to catch onto the spa craze and had well established hot springs in Saratoga, New York and Arkansas. Today the spa is still going strong, particularly in Europe and Japan with their many dedicated spa hotels. Today’s increasing focus on health and wellness means spa treatments such as massage and deep exfoliation go hand in hand with practices such as exercise and nutrition. Long live the spa!