Spa

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The medicinal spa of Harkany is supplied by thermal wells that produce high sulphide content chloride water containing sodium-, calcium- and hydrogen carbonate. Medicinal spa of Harkany.jpg
The medicinal spa of Harkány is supplied by thermal wells that produce high sulphide content chloride water containing sodium-, calcium- and hydrogen carbonate.

A spa is a location where mineral-rich spring water (and sometimes seawater) is used to give medicinal baths. Spa towns or spa resorts (including hot springs resorts) typically offer various health treatments, which are also known as balneotherapy. The belief in the curative powers of mineral waters goes back to prehistoric times. Such practices have been popular worldwide, but are especially widespread in Europe and Japan. Day spas are also quite popular and offer various personal care treatments.

Contents

Origins of the term

The term is derived from the name of the town of Spa, Belgium, whose name is known back from Roman times, when the location was called Aquae Spadanae, [1] sometimes incorrectly connected to the Latin word spargere meaning to scatter, sprinkle or moisten. [2]

Since medieval times, illnesses caused by iron deficiency were treated by drinking chalybeate (iron-bearing) spring water (in 1326, the iron-master Collin le Loup claimed a cure, [3] when the spring was called Espa, a Walloon word for "fountain" [3] ).

In 16th-century England, the old Roman ideas of medicinal bathing were revived at towns like Bath (not the source of the word bath), and in 1596 William Slingsby who had been to the Belgian town (which he called Spaw) discovered a chalybeate spring in Yorkshire. He built an enclosed well at what became known as Harrogate, the first resort in England for drinking medicinal waters, then in 1596 Dr. Timothy Bright after discovering a second well called the resort The English Spaw, beginning the use of the word Spa as a generic description.

It is commonly claimed, in a commercial context, that the word is an acronym of various Latin phrases, such as salus per aquam or sanitas per aquam, meaning "health through water". [4] This is very unlikely: the derivation does not appear before the early 21st century and is probably a backronym as there is no evidence of acronyms passing into the language before the 20th century; [5] nor does it match the known Roman name for the location. [6]

History

Ancient Roman Baths in Bath, England Roman Baths in Bath Spa, England - July 2006.jpg
Ancient Roman Baths in Bath, England
Byzantine Bath in Thessaloniki. Solun - bizantsko kupaliste.jpg
Byzantine Bath in Thessaloniki.
The Slatina Spa in the Republic of Srpska, BiH Banja Slatina ljeto.jpg
The Slatina Spa in the Republic of Srpska, BiH

Spa therapies have existed since the classical times when taking bath with water was considered as a popular means to treat illnesses. [7] The practice of traveling to hot or cold springs in hopes of effecting a cure of some ailment dates back to prehistoric times. Archaeological investigations near hot springs in France and Czech Republic revealed Bronze Age weapons and offerings. In Great Britain, ancient legend credited early Celtic kings with the discovery of the hot springs in Bath, England.

Many people around the world believed that bathing in a particular spring, well, or river resulted in physical and spiritual purification. Forms of ritual purification existed among the Native Americans, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Today, ritual purification through water can be found in the religious ceremonies of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus. These ceremonies reflect the ancient belief in the healing and purifying properties of water. Complex bathing rituals were also practiced in ancient Egypt, in prehistoric cities of the Indus Valley, and in Aegean civilizations. Most often these ancient people did little building construction around the water, and what they did construct was very temporary in nature. [8]

Bathing in Greek and Roman times

The spa town of Hisarya in Bulgaria. An ancient Roman city was built in the 1st century AD because of the mineral springs in the vicinity. Diocletianopolis The Southern Gate at Night.jpg
The spa town of Hisarya in Bulgaria. An ancient Roman city was built in the 1st century AD because of the mineral springs in the vicinity.
Coriovallum Roman baths in Heerlen, The Netherlands (reconstructed) 2006-05 Archeon binnenhof badhuis-2.JPG
Coriovallum Roman baths in Heerlen, The Netherlands (reconstructed)
Roman Baths of Alange, Extremadura, Spain Banos de Alange.jpg
Roman Baths of Alange, Extremadura, Spain

Some of the earliest descriptions of western bathing practices came from Greece. The Greeks began bathing regimens that formed the foundation for modern spa procedures. These Aegean people utilized small bathtubs, wash basins, and foot baths for personal cleanliness. The earliest such findings are the baths in the palace complex at Knossos, Crete, and the luxurious alabaster bathtubs excavated in Akrotiri, Santorini; both date from the mid-2nd millennium BC. They established public baths and showers within their gymnasium complexes for relaxation and personal hygiene. Greek mythology specified that certain natural springs or tidal pools were blessed by the gods to cure disease. Around these sacred pools, Greeks established bathing facilities for those desiring healing. Supplicants left offerings to the gods for healing at these sites and bathed themselves in hopes of a cure. The Spartans developed a primitive vapor bath. At Serangeum, an early Greek balneum (bathhouse, loosely translated), bathing chambers were cut into the hillside from which the hot springs issued. A series of niches cut into the rock above the chambers held bathers' clothing. One of the bathing chambers had a decorative mosaic floor depicting a driver and chariot pulled by four horses, a woman followed by two dogs, and a dolphin below. Thus, the early Greeks used the natural features, but expanded them and added their own amenities, such as decorations and shelves. During later Greek civilization, bathhouses were often built in conjunction with athletic fields. [8]

The Romans emulated many of the Greek bathing practices. Romans surpassed the Greeks in the size and complexity of their baths. This came about by many factors: the larger size and population of Roman cities, the availability of running water following the building of aqueducts, and the invention of cement, which made building large edifices easier, safer, and cheaper. As in Greece, the Roman bath became a focal center for social and recreational activity. As the Roman Empire expanded, the idea of the public bath spread to all parts of the Mediterranean and into regions of Europe and North Africa. With the construction of the aqueducts, the Romans had enough water not only for domestic, agricultural, and industrial uses, but also for their leisurely pursuits. The aqueducts provided water that was later heated for use in the baths. Today, the extent of the Roman bath is revealed at ruins and in archaeological excavations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. [8]

The Romans also developed baths in their colonies, taking advantage of the natural hot springs occurring in Europe to construct baths at Aix and Vichy in France, Bath and Buxton in England, Aachen and Wiesbaden in Germany, Baden, Austria, and Aquincum in Hungary, among other locations. These baths became centers for recreational and social activities in Roman communities. Libraries, lecture halls, gymnasiums, and formal gardens became part of some bath complexes. In addition, the Romans used the hot thermal waters to relieve their suffering from rheumatism, arthritis, and overindulgence in food and drink. The decline of the Roman Empire in the west, beginning in AD 337 after the death of Emperor Constantine, resulted in Roman legions abandoning their outlying provinces and leaving the baths to be taken over by the local population or destroyed. [8]

Thus, the Romans elevated bathing to a fine art, and their bathhouses physically reflected these advancements. The Roman bath, for instance, included a far more complex ritual than a simple immersion or sweating procedure. The various parts of the bathing ritual — undressing, bathing, sweating, receiving a massage, and resting — required separated rooms which the Romans built to accommodate those functions. The segregation of the sexes and the additions of diversions not directly related to bathing also had direct impacts on the shape and form of bathhouses. The elaborate Roman bathing ritual and its resultant architecture served as precedents for later European and American bathing facilities. Formal garden spaces and opulent architectural arrangement equal to those of the Romans reappeared in Europe by the end of the 18th century. Major American spas followed suit a century later. [8]

Bathing in medieval times

Hot springs at Aachen, Germany, 1682 Aachen Kaiserbad 1682.jpg
Hot springs at Aachen, Germany, 1682

With the decline of the Roman Empire, the public baths often became places of licentious behavior, and such use was responsible for the spread rather than the cure of diseases. A general belief developed among the European populace was that frequent bathing promoted disease and sickness. Medieval church authorities encouraged this belief and made every effort to close down public baths. Ecclesiastical officials believed that public bathing created an environment open to immorality and disease. Roman Catholic Church officials even banned public bathing in an unsuccessful effort to halt syphilis epidemics from sweeping Europe. Overall, this period represented a time of decline for public bathing. [8]

People continued to seek out a few select hot and cold springs, believed to be holy wells, to cure various ailments. In an age of religious fervor, the benefits of the water were attributed to God or one of the saints. In 1326, Collin le Loup, an iron-master from Liège, Belgium, discovered the chalybeate springs of Spa, Belgium. Around these springs, a famous health resort eventually grew and the term "spa" came to refer to any health resort located near natural springs. During this period, individual springs became associated with the specific ailment that they could allegedly benefit. [8]

Bagno del Papa in Viterbo. Bagno del Papa.jpg
Bagno del Papa in Viterbo.

Great bathhouses were built in Byzantine centers such as Constantinople and Antioch, [9] and the popes allocated to the Romans bathing through diaconia , or private Lateran baths, or even a myriad of monastic bath houses functioning in eighth and ninth centuries. [10] The Popes maintained their baths in their residences, and bath houses including hot baths incorporated into Christian Church buildings or those of monasteries, which known as "charity baths" because they served both the clerics and needy poor people. [11] The Church also built public bathing facilities that were separate for both sexes near monasteries and pilgrimage sites; also, the popes situated baths within church basilicas and monasteries since the early Middle Ages. [12] Catholic religious orders of the Augustinians' and Benedictines' rules contained ritual purification, [13] and inspired by Benedict of Nursia encouragement for the practice of therapeutic bathing; Benedictine monks played a role in the development and promotion of spa. [11] Protestantism also played a prominent role in the development of the British spas. [11]

Bathing procedures during this period varied greatly. By the 16th century, physicians at Karlsbad, Bohemia, prescribed that the mineral water be taken internally as well as externally. Patients periodically bathed in warm water for up to 10 or 11 hours while drinking glasses of mineral water. The first bath session occurred in the morning, the second in the afternoon. This treatment lasted several days until skin pustules formed and broke resulting in the draining of "poisons" considered to be the source of the disease. Then followed another series of shorter, hotter baths to wash the infection away and close the eruptions. [8]

In the English coastal town of Scarborough in 1626, a Mrs. Elizabeth Farrow discovered a stream of acidic water running from one of the cliffs to the south of the town. This was deemed to have beneficial health properties and gave birth to Scarborough Spa. Dr Wittie's book about the spa waters published in 1660 attracted a flood of visitors to the town. Sea bathing was added to the cure, and Scarborough became Britain's first seaside resort. The first rolling bathing machines for bathers are recorded on the sands in 1735.[ citation needed ]

Bathing in the 18th century

In the 17th century, most upper-class Europeans washed their clothes with water often and washed only their faces (with linen), feeling that bathing the entire body was a lower-class activity; but the upper-class slowly began changing their attitudes toward bathing as a way to restore health later in that century. The wealthy flocked to health resorts to drink and bathe in the waters. In 1702, Anne, Queen of Great Britain, traveled to Bath, the former Roman development, to bathe. A short time later, Richard (Beau) Nash came to Bath. By the force of his personality, Nash became the arbiter of good taste and manners in England. He along with financier Ralph Allen and architect John Wood transformed Bath from a country spa into the social capital of England. Bath set the tone for other spas in Europe to follow. Ostensibly, the wealthy and famous arrived there on a seasonal basis to bathe in and drink the water; however, they also came to display their opulence. Social activities at Bath included dances, concerts, playing cards, lectures, and promenading down the street. [8]

A typical day at Bath might be an early morning communal bath followed by a private breakfast party. Afterwards, one either drank water at the Pump Room (a building constructed over the thermal water source) or attended a fashion show. Physicians encouraged health resort patrons to bathe in and drink the waters with equal vigor. The next several hours of the day could be spent in shopping, visiting the lending library, attending concerts, or stopping at one of the coffeehouses. At 4:00 pm, the rich and famous dressed up in their finery and promenaded down the streets. Next came dinner, more promenading, and an evening of dancing or gambling. [8]

Similar activities occurred in health resorts throughout Europe. The spas became stages on which Europeans paraded with great pageantry. These resorts became infamous as places full of gossip and scandals. The various social and economic classes selected specific seasons during the year's course, staying from one to several months, to vacation at each resort. One season aristocrats occupied the resorts; at other times, prosperous farmers or retired military men took the baths. The wealthy and the criminals that preyed on them moved from one spa to the next as the fashionable season for that resort changed. [8]

During the 18th century, a revival in the medical uses of spring water was promoted by Enlightened physicians across Europe. [14] This revival changed the way of taking a spa treatment. For example, in Karlsbad the accepted method of drinking the mineral water required sending large barrels to individual boardinghouses where the patients drank physician-prescribed dosages in the solitude of their rooms. Dr. David Beecher in 1777 recommended that the patients come to the fountainhead for the water and that each patient should first do some prescribed exercises. This innovation increased the medicinal benefits obtained and gradually physical activity became part of the European bathing regimen. In 1797, in England, Dr. James Currie published The Effects of Water, Cold and Warm, as a Remedy in Fever and other Diseases. As shown by M D Eddy, this book, along with numerous local pamphlets on composition of spa water, stimulated additional interest in water cures and advocated the external and internal use of water as part of the curing process. [8] [15]

Poster for Vigier Baths on the banks of the Seine river, in Paris (1797) Vigier's baths, Year V - 1797.jpg
Poster for Vigier Baths on the banks of the Seine river, in Paris (1797)

Bathing in the 19th and 20th centuries

A thermal spa (Szechenyi thermal bath) in Budapest, Hungary Szechenyi Gyogyfurdo thermal spa in Budapest 008.JPG
A thermal spa (Széchenyi thermal bath) in Budapest, Hungary
Turkish spa Sina (Hammam) in Trencianske Teplice, Slovakia Turkish spa Sina (Hammam).jpg
Turkish spa Sina (Hammam) in Trenčianske Teplice, Slovakia
A section of the demolished Balneario da Toxa spa set in A Toxa Island, in Galicia, Spain Old Spa Gran Hotel La Toja in 1907.jpg
A section of the demolished Balneario da Toxa spa set in A Toxa Island, in Galicia, Spain

In the 19th century, bathing became a more accepted practice as physicians realized some of the benefits that cleanliness could provide. A cholera epidemic in Liverpool, England in 1842 resulted in a sanitation renaissance, facilitated by the overlapping hydropathy and sanitation movements, and the implementation of a series of statutes known collectively as "The Baths and Wash-houses Acts 1846 to 1896". [16] [17] [18] [19] The result was increased facilities for bathing and washed clothes, and more people participating in these activities.

Also in 1842, a house in Cincinnati, Ohio, received the first indoor bathtub in the United States. Bathing, however, was still not a universal custom. Only one year later — in 1843 — bathing between 1 November and 15 March was outlawed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as a health measure, and in 1845 bathing was banned in Boston, Massachusetts, unless under the direct orders of a physician. The situation improved, however, and by 1867 in Philadelphia most houses of the well-to-do had tubs and indoor plumbing. In England, hot showers were installed in barracks and schools by the 1880s. The taboos against bathing disappeared with advancements in medical science; the worldwide medical community was even promoting the benefits of bathing. In addition, the Victorian taste for the exotic lent itself perfectly to seeking out the curative powers of thermal water. [8]

In most instances, the formal architectural development of European spas took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. The architecture of Bath, England, developed along Georgian and Neoclassical lines, generally following Palladian structures. The most important architectural form that emerged was the "crescent" — a semi-elliptical street plan used in many areas of England. The spa architecture of Carlsbad, Marienbad, Franzensbad, and Baden-Baden was primarily Neoclassical, but the literature seems to indicate that large bathhouses were not constructed until well into the 19th century. The emphasis on drinking the waters rather than bathing in them led to the development of separate structures known as Trinkhallen (drinking halls) where those taking the cure spent hours drinking water from the springs. [8]

In the Southeastern Europe, development of the spa resorts took place mostly in the second half of the 19th century. So it was also with the Slatina Spa in the Republic of Srpska, BiH, where the thermal and healing springs were discovered in the Roman times. Development of the spa resort in Slatina began in the 1870s, when the first modern spa facilities were built.

By the mid-19th century, the situation had changed dramatically. Visitors to the European spas began to stress bathing in addition to drinking the waters. Besides fountains, pavilions, and Trinkhallen, bathhouses on the scale of the Roman baths were revived. Photographs of a 19th-century spa complex taken in the 1930s, detailing the earlier architecture, show heavy use of mosaic floors, marble walls, classical statuary, arched openings, domed ceilings, segmental arches, triangular pediments, Corinthian columns, and all the other trappings of a Neoclassical revival. The buildings were usually separated by function — with the Trinkhalle, the bathhouse, the inhalatorium (for inhaling the vapors), and the Kurhaus or Conversationhaus that was the center of social activity. Baden-Baden featured golf courses and tennis courts, "superb roads to motor over, and drives along quaint lanes where wild deer are as common as cows to us, and almost as unafraid". [8]

The European spa, then, started with structures to house the drinking function — from simple fountains to pavilions to elaborate Trinkhallen. The enormous bathhouses came later in the 19th century as a renewed preference for an elaborate bathing ritual to cure ills and improve health came into vogue. European architects looked back to Roman civilizations and carefully studied their fine architectural precedents. The Europeans copied the same formality, symmetry, division of rooms by function, and opulent interior design in their bathhouses. They emulated the fountains and formal garden spaces in their resorts, and they also added new diversions. The tour books always mentioned the roomy, woodsy offerings in the vicinity and the faster-paced evening diversions. [8]

Waterfall, Carolus Spa, Aachen, Germany CarolusThermen01.JPG
Waterfall, Carolus Spa, Aachen, Germany

By the beginning of the 19th century, the European bathing regimen consisted of numerous accumulated traditions. The bathing routine included soaking in hot water, drinking the water, steaming in a vapor room, and relaxing in a cooling room. In addition, doctors ordered that patients be douched with hot or cold water and given a select diet to promote a cure. Authors began writing guidebooks to the health resorts of Europe explaining the medical benefits and social amenities of each. Rich Europeans and Americans traveled to these resorts to take in cultural activities and the baths. [8]

Each European spa began offering similar cures while maintaining a certain amount of individuality. The 19th-century bathing regimen at Karlsbad can serve as a general portrayal of European bathing practices during this century. Visitors arose at 6 am to drink the water and be serenaded by a band. Next came a light breakfast, bath, and lunch. The doctors at Karlsbad usually limited patients to certain foods for each meal. In the afternoon, visitors went sight-seeing or attended concerts. Nightly theatrical performances followed the evening meal. This ended around 9 pm with the patients returning to their boardinghouses to sleep until 6 the next morning. This regimen continued for as long as a month and then the patients returned home until the next year. Other 19th-century European spa regimens followed similar schedules. [8]

At the beginning of the 20th century, European spas combined a strict diet and exercise regimen with a complex bathing procedure to achieve benefits for the patients. One example will suffice to illustrate the change in bathing procedures. Patients at Baden-Baden, which specialized in treating rheumatoid arthritis, were directed to see a doctor before taking the baths. Once this occurred, the bathers proceeded to the main bathhouse where they paid for their baths and stored their valuables before being assigned a booth for undressing. The bathhouse supplied bathers with towels, sheets, and slippers. [8]

The Baden-Baden bathing procedure began with a warm shower. The bathers next entered a room of circulating, 140 °F (60 °C) hot air for 20 minutes, spent another ten minutes in a room with 150 °F (66 °C) temperature, partook of a 154 °F (68 °C) vapor bath, then showered and received a soap massage. After the massage, the bathers swam in a pool heated approximately to body temperature. After the swim, the bathers rested for 15 to 20 minutes in the warm "Sprudel" room pool . This shallow pool's bottom contained an 8-inch (200 mm) layer of sand through with naturally carbonated water bubbled up. This was followed by a series of gradually cooler showers and pools. After that, the attendants rubbed down the bathers with warm towels and then wrapped them in sheets and covered them with blankets to rest for 20 minutes. This ended the bathing portion of the treatment. The rest of the cure consisted of a prescribed diet, exercise, and water-drinking program. [8]

The European spas provided various other diversions for guests after the bath, including gambling, horse racing, fishing, hunting, tennis, skating, dancing, golf, and horseback riding. Sight-seeing and theatrical performances served as further incentives for people to go to the spa. Some European governments even recognized the medical benefits of spa therapy and paid a portion of the patient's expenses. A number of these spas catered to those suffering from obesity and overindulgence in addition to various other medical complaints. In recent years, the elegance and style of earlier centuries may have diminished, but people still come to the natural hot springs for relaxation and health. [8] In Germany, the tradition survives to the present day. 'Taking a cure' ( Kur ) at a spa is generally covered to a large amount by both public and private health care insurance. Usually, a doctor prescribes a stay of three weeks at a mineral spring or other natural setting where a patient's condition will be treated with healing spring waters and natural therapies. While the insurance companies used to also cover meals and accommodation, many now only pay for the treatments and expect the patient to pay for transportation, accommodation, and meals. Most Germans are eligible for a Kur every two to six years, depending on the severity of their condition. Germans do still get paid their regular salary during this time away from their job, which is not taken out of their vacation days. [20]

In colonial America

Gentlemen's Pool House, Jefferson Pools, Warm Springs, Virginia, built 1761 it is the oldest spa building in the United States. The spa waters flow through the centre of the building. President Thomas Jefferson bathed here. Jefferson Pools Gentlemen.JPG
Gentlemen's Pool House, Jefferson Pools, Warm Springs, Virginia, built 1761 it is the oldest spa building in the United States. The spa waters flow through the centre of the building. President Thomas Jefferson bathed here.

Some European colonists brought with them knowledge of the hot water therapy for medicinal purposes, and others learned the benefits of hot springs from the Native Americans. Europeans gradually obtained many of the hot and cold springs from the various Indian tribes. They then developed the spring to suit European tastes. By the 1760s, British colonists were traveling to hot and cold springs in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia in search of water cures. Among the more frequently visited of these springs were Bath, Yellow, and Bristol Springs in Pennsylvania; and Warm Springs, Hot Springs, and White Sulphur Springs (now in West Virginia) in Virginia. [8] In the last decade of the 1700s, New York spas were beginning to be frequented by intrepid travelers, most notably Ballston Spa. Nearby Saratoga Springs and Kinderhook were yet to be discovered. [21] [22]

Colonial doctors gradually began to recommend hot springs for ailments. Dr. Benjamin Rush, American patriot and physician, praised the springs of Bristol, Pennsylvania, in 1773. Dr. Samuel Tenney in 1783 and Dr. Valentine Seaman in 1792 examined the water of Ballston Spa in New York and wrote of possible medicinal uses of the springs. Hotels were constructed to accommodate visitors to the various springs. Entrepreneurs operated establishments where the travelers could lodge, eat, and drink. Thus began the health resort industry in the United States. [8]

Bathing in 19th- and 20th-century America

Ladies' Sulphur Vapor Baths in the Hotel Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, 1919 Ladies' Sulpher Vapor Baths - DPLA - 1537c21d91b68c8a1e88aedc3655f2da (page 1).jpg
Ladies' Sulphur Vapor Baths in the Hotel Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, 1919

After the American Revolution, the spa industry continued to gain popularity. The first truly popular spa was Saratoga Springs, which, by 1815, had two large, four-story, Greek revival hotels. It grew rapidly, and by 1821 it had at least five hundred rooms for accommodation. Its relative proximity to New York City and access to the country's most developed steamboat lines meant that by the mid-1820s the spa became the country's most popular tourist destination, serving both the country's elite and a more middle-class audience. [23] [24] Although spa activity had been central to Saratoga in the 1810s, by the 1820s the resort had hotels with great ballrooms, opera houses, stores, and clubhouses. The Union Hotel (first built in 1803 but steadily expanded over the coming decades) had its own esplanade, and by the 1820s had its own fountain and formal landscaping, but with only two small bathhouses.

As the resort developed as a tourist destination mineral bathhouses became auxiliary structures and not the central features of the resort, although the drinking of mineral water was at least followed as a pro-forma activity by most in attendance, despite nightly dinners that were elaborate and extensive. Although the ostensible purpose of the Saratoga and other New York spas was to provide access to the healthful mineral waters, their real drawing card was a complex social life and a cultural cachet. However, the wider audience it garnered by the late 1820s began to take some of the bloom off the resort, and in the mid-1830s, as a successful bid to revive itself, it turned to horse racing. [8] [25]

By the mid-1850s hot and cold spring resorts existed in 20 states. Many of these resorts contained similar architectural features. Most health resorts had a large, two-story central building near or at the springs, with smaller structures surrounding it. The main building provided the guests with facilities for dining, and possibly, dancing on the first floor, and the second story consisted of sleeping rooms. The outlying structures were individual guest cabins, and other auxiliary buildings formed a semicircle or U-shape around the large building. [8]

These resorts offered swimming, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding as well as facilities for bathing. The Virginia resorts, particularly White Sulphur Springs, proved popular before and after the Civil War. After the Civil War, spa vacations became very popular as returning soldiers bathed to heal wounds and the American economy allowed more leisure time. Saratoga Springs in New York became one of the main centers for this type of activity. Bathing in and drinking the warm, carbonated spring water only served as a prelude to the more interesting social activities of gambling, promenading, horse racing, and dancing. [8] [26] [27]

During the last half of the 19th century, western entrepreneurs developed natural hot and cold springs into resorts — from the Mississippi River to the West Coast. Many of these spas offered individual tub baths, vapor baths, douche sprays, needle showers, and pool bathing to their guests. The various railroads that spanned the country promoted these resorts to encourage train travel. Hot Springs, Arkansas, became a major resort for people from the large metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Chicago. [8]

The popularity of the spas continued into the 20th century. Some medical critics, however, charged that the thermal waters in such renowned resorts as Hot Springs, Virginia, and Saratoga Springs, New York, were no more beneficial to health than ordinary heated water. The various spa owners countered these arguments by developing better hydrotherapy for their patients. At the Saratoga spa, treatments for heart and circulatory disorders, rheumatic conditions, nervous disorders, metabolic diseases, and skin diseases were developed. In 1910, the New York state government began purchasing the principal springs to protect them from exploitation.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt was governor of New York, he pushed for a European type of spa development at Saratoga. The architects for the new complex spent two years studying the technical aspects of bathing in Europe. Completed in 1933, the development had three bathhouses — Lincoln, Washington, and Roosevelt — a drinking hall, the Hall of Springs, and a building housing the Simon Baruch Research Institute. Four additional buildings composed the recreation area and housed arcades and a swimming pool decorated with blue faience terra-cotta tile. Saratoga Spa State Park's Neoclassical buildings were laid out in a grand manner, with formal perpendicular axes, solid brick construction, and stone and concrete Roman-revival detailing.

The spa was surrounded by a 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) natural park that had 18 miles (29 km) of bridle paths, "with measured walks at scientifically calculated gradients through its groves and vales, with spouting springs adding unexpected touches to its vistas, with the tumbling waters of Geyser Brook flowing beneath bridges of the fine roads. Full advantage has been taken of the natural beauty of the park, but no formal landscaping". Promotional literature again advertised the attractions directly outside the spa: shopping, horse races, and historic sites associated with revolutionary war history. New York Governor Herbert Lehman opened the new facilities to the public in July 1935. [8]

The healing power of mineral water used to treat patients and other users in the lazy river section in Vuckovec, Croatia Vuckovec (Croatia) - jug.jpg
The healing power of mineral water used to treat patients and other users in the lazy river section in Vučkovec, Croatia

Other leading spas in the U.S. during this period were French Lick, Indiana; Hot Springs and White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia; Hot Springs, Arkansas; and Warm Springs, Georgia. French Lick specialized in treating obesity and constipation through a combination of bathing and drinking the water and exercising. Hot Springs, Virginia, specialized in digestive ailments and heart diseases, and White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, treated these ailments and skin diseases. Both resorts offered baths where the water would wash continuously over the patients as they lay in a shallow pool. Warm Springs, Georgia, gained a reputation for treating infantile paralysis by a procedure of baths and exercise. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who earlier supported Saratoga, became a frequent visitor and promoter of this spa. [8]

Treatments

A 'body treatment', 'spa treatment', or 'cosmetic treatment' is non-medical procedure to help the health of the body. It is often performed at a resort, destination spa, day spa, beauty salon or school.

Typical treatments include:

By the late 1930s more than 2,000 hot- or cold-springs health resorts were operating in the United States. This number had diminished greatly by the 1950s and continued to decline in the following two decades. In the recent past, spas in the U.S. emphasized dietary, exercise, or recreational programs more than traditional bathing activities.

Up until recently,[ when? ] the public bathing industry in the U.S. remained stagnant. [8] Nevertheless, in Europe, therapeutic baths have always been very popular, and remain so today.[ citation needed ] The same is true in Japan, where the traditional hot springs baths, known as onsen , always attracted plenty of visitors.[ citation needed ]

But also in the U.S., with the increasing focus on health and wellness, such treatments are again becoming popular. [30]

Types of treatments

International Spa Association definitions

Spa - places devoted to overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit. [32]

Types

Regulation of the industry

The International Spa and Body Wrap Association (ISBWA) is an international association for spas and body wrap centers around the world. [34] The main concern of the ISBWA is the regulation of the industry and the welfare of the consumers. Member organisations are to adhere to the ISBWA code of ethics, which requires them to do the following:

The Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa and Hot Tub Code (USPSHTC) is a model code developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) to govern the installation and inspection of plumbing systems associated with swimming pools, spas and hot tubs as a means of promoting the public's health, safety and welfare.

See also

Notes

  1. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, George Rosen, Yale University Dept. of the History of Science and Medicine, Project Muse, H. Schuman, 1954
  2. "A brief history of spa therapy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2006.
  3. 1 2 Medical Hydrology, Sidney Licht, Sidney Herman Licht, Herman L. Kamenetz, E. Licht, 1963 Google Books
  4. For instance, 'Leisure and Recreation Management', George Torkildsen, Routledge, 2005, ISBN   0-415-30995-6 "Sanitas+Per+Aqua" Google Books
  5. "World Wide Words: Golf". World Wide Words. Archived from the original on 9 September 2006.
  6. "Hexmaster's Factoids: Spa". Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
  7. Van Tubergen, A; Van Der Linden, S (2002). "A brief history of spa therapy". Ann Rheum Dis. 61 (3): 273–275. doi:10.1136/ard.61.3.273. PMC   1754027 . PMID   11830439.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Paige, John C; Laura Woulliere Harrison (1987). Out of the Vapors: A Social and Architectural History of Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs National Park (PDF). U.S. Department of the Interior. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 February 2009.
  9. Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991), Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, ISBN   978-0-19-504652-6
  10. Squatriti, Paolo (2002). Water and Society in Early Medieval Italy, AD 400-1000, Parti 400–1000. Cambridge University Press. p. 54. ISBN   9780521522069. ... but baths were normally considered therapeutic until the days of Gregory the Great, who understood virtuous bathing to be bathing "on account of the needs of body" ...
  11. 1 2 3 Bradley, Ian (2012). Water: A Spiritual History. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN   9781441167675.
  12. Thurlkill, Mary (2016). Sacred Scents in Early Christianity and Islam: Studies in Body and Religion. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 6–11. ISBN   978-0739174531. ... Clement of Alexandria (d. c. 215 CE) allowed that bathing contributed to good health and hygiene ... Christian skeptics could not easily dissuade the baths' practical popularity, however; popes continued to build baths situated within church basilicas and monasteries throughout the early medieval period ...
  13. Hembry, Phyllis (1990). The English Spa, 1560-1815: A Social History. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. ISBN   9780838633915.
  14. Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2010). "The Sparkling Nectar of Spas: The Medical and Commercial Relevance of Mineral Water". Ursula Klein and e. C. Spary (Eds.), Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe: 198–226. doi:10.7208/chicago/9780226439709.003.0008. Archived from the original on 4 September 2015.
  15. Eddy (2008). "The Sparkling Nectar of Spas".Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Baths § Action of Baths on the Human System"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 518.
  17. Metcalfe, Richard (1877). Sanitus Sanitum et omnia Sanitus. Vol.1. London: The Co-operative Printing Co. Retrieved 4 November 2009.|volume= has extra text (help) Full text at Internet Archive (archive.org)
  18. "London Gazette listings for 'Baths and Wash-houses Act'". London Gazette. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
  19. "'Baths and Wash-houses Act'". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014..
  20. "Welche Kosten Krankenkassen bei einer Kur übernehmen" (in German).
  21. Gassan, Birth of American Tourism, 2008, pp. 1-9
  22. Chambers, Drinking the Waters, 2002
  23. Gassan, Birth of American Tourism, 2008
  24. Chambers, Drinking the Waters, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002
  25. Gassan, Birth of American Tourism, pp. 125-157.
  26. Boyer-Lewis, Ladies and Gentlemen on Display, 2001.
  27. Chambers, Drinking the Waters, 2002.
  28. "Cervical spine waterfall - Picture of Bio Spa Carera, Rota d'Imagna". Archived from the original on 4 September 2014.
  29. de:Fußbad, fr:Pédiluve
  30. "The increasing focus on fitness and wellness has fuelled the reemergence of the spa industry..." Anne Williams, Spa bodywork: a guide for massage therapists. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. p. 173. ISBN   0-7817-5578-6
  31. "The increasing focus on fitness and wellness has fuelled the reemergence of the spa industry and, with it, the use of fango (medicinal clay) for healing." Anne Williams, Spa bodywork: a guide for massage therapists. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006. p. 173. ISBN   0-7817-5578-6
  32. http://www.experienceispa.com Archived 27 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine The International SPA Association
  33. Jane Crebbin-Bailey, John W. Harcup, John Harrington, The Spa Book: The Official Guide to Spa Therapy. Publisher: Cengage Learning EMEA, 2005. p. 1959 ISBN   1-86152-917-1
  34. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) International Spa and Body Wrap Association

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

Spa town Specialized resort town situated around a mineral spa

A spa town is a resort town based on a mineral spa. Patrons visit spas to "take the waters" for their purported health benefits. The word spa is derived from the name of Spa, a town in Belgium.

Bathing Washing or immersing the body with water

Bathing is the washing of the body with a liquid, usually water or an aqueous solution, or the immersion of the body in water. It may be practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes. By analogy, especially as a recreational activity, the term is also applied to sun bathing and sea bathing.

Thermae Bath Spa Commercial spa in Bath, Somerset

Thermae Bath Spa is a combination of the historic spa and a contemporary building in the city of Bath, England, and re-opened in 2006. Bath and North East Somerset council own the buildings, and, as decreed in a Royal Charter of 1590, are the guardians of the spring waters, which are the only naturally hot, mineral-rich waters in the UK. The Spa is operated by YTL Hotels.

Hydrotherapy Alternative medicine involving the use of water for pain relief and treatment

Hydrotherapy, formerly called hydropathy and also called water cure, is a part of alternative medicine, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy, that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment. The term encompasses a broad range of approaches and therapeutic methods that take advantage of the physical properties of water, such as temperature and pressure, for therapeutic purposes, to stimulate blood circulation and treat the symptoms of certain diseases.

Hot Springs National Park United States National Park in central Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park is an American national park in central Garland County, Arkansas, adjacent to the city of Hot Springs, the county seat. Hot Springs Reservation was initially created by an act of the United States Congress on April 20, 1832 to be preserved for future recreation. Established before the concept of a national park existed, it was the first time that land had been set aside by the federal government to preserve its use as an area for recreation. The hot spring water has been popularly believed for centuries to possess medicinal properties, and was a subject of legend among several Native American tribes. Following federal protection in 1832, the city developed into a successful spa town.

Public bathing Buildings with swimming pools or other facilities for bathing

Public baths originated at a time when most people in population centers did not have access to private bathing facilities. Though termed "public", they often have been restricted according to gender, religious affiliation, personal membership, and other criteria. In addition to their hygienic function, public baths also have served as social meeting places. They sometimes have included saunas, massages, and other relaxation therapies, such as are found in modern day spas. As the percentage of dwellings containing a private bathroom has increased in some societies, the need for public baths has diminished, and they are now almost exclusively used for recreational purposes.

Balneotherapy

Balneotherapy is a method of treating diseases by bathing, a traditional medicine technique usually practiced at spas. While it is considered distinct from hydrotherapy, there are some overlaps in practice and in underlying principles. Balneotherapy may involve hot or cold water, massage through moving water, relaxation, or stimulation. Many mineral waters at spas are rich in particular minerals such as silica, sulfur, selenium, and radium. Medicinal clays are also widely used, a practice known as 'fangotherapy'.

Steamboat Springs (Nevada)

Steamboat Springs is a small volcanic field of rhyolitic lava domes and flows in western Nevada, located south of Reno. There is extensive geothermal activity in the area, including numerous hot springs, steam vents, and fumaroles. The residential portions of this area, located mostly east of Steamboat Creek and south of modern-day SR 341, are now known simply as Steamboat.

Mud bath Bath of mud, commonly from areas where hot spring water can combine with volcanic ash

A mud bath is a bath of mud, commonly from areas where hot spring water can combine with volcanic ash. Mud baths have existed for thousands of years, and can be found now in high-end spas in many countries of the world.

Berkeley Springs State Park Thermal springs and state park in West Virginia

Berkeley Springs State Park is situated in the center of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, USA. The centerpiece of the Park is its historic mineral spa. These waters were celebrated for their medicinal or restorative powers and were generally taken internally for digestive disorders, or bathed in for stress relief. Native peoples visited these springs as did George Washington. Berkeley Springs is the only state-run spa in the United States and is operated by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.

Destination spa Resort centered on a spa

A destination spa is a resort centered on a spa, such as a mineral spa. Historically, many such spas were developed at the location of natural hot springs or mineral springs; in the era before modern biochemical knowledge and pharmacotherapy, "taking the waters" was often believed to have great medicinal powers. Even without such mystic powers, however, the stress relief and health education of spas also often has some degree of positive effect on health. Typically, over a seven-day stay, such facilities provide a comprehensive program that includes spa services, physical fitness activities, wellness education, healthy cuisine, and special interest programming.

Tsqaltubo Town in Imereti, Georgia

Tskaltubo is a spa resort in west-central Georgia. It is located at around 42°19′35″N42°36′02″E. It is the main town of the Tsqaltubo Municipality of the Imereti province. It is known for its radon-carbonate mineral springs, whose natural temperature of 33–35 °C (91–95 °F) enables the water to be used without preliminary heating.

Ancient Roman bathing Custom of ancient Roman society

Bathing played a major part in ancient Roman culture and society. It was one of the most common daily activities in Roman culture and was practiced across a wide variety of social classes.

Thomas Guidotti, an English "doctor of physick" and writer, became one of the 17th century's most prolific physical scientists. He used the analytical techniques of his time to detail and document the properties of the hot mineral springs at Bath, Somerset, and touted the waters of Sadler's Wells.

Bathhouse Row United States historic place

Bathhouse Row is a collection of bathhouses, associated buildings, and gardens located at Hot Springs National Park in the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas. The bathhouses were included in 1832 when the Federal Government took over four parcels of land to preserve 47 natural hot springs, their mineral waters which lack the sulphur odor of most hot springs, and their area of origin on the lower slopes of Hot Springs Mountain.

Jefferson Pools United States historic place

The Jefferson Pools, also called Warm Springs Bathhouses and Warm Springs Pools, are two spa structures near Warm Springs, Virginia. The name was changed in the 20th century from "Warm Spring Pools" to "Jefferson Pools". The spa is part of The Homestead, a resort hotel in nearby Hot Springs.

Gesundbrunnen (Sagard)

The Gesundbrunnen Sagard was a spa and bathing institution in Sagard on the German Baltic Sea island of Rügen. Opened in 1795, it made Sagard the first bathing resort on Rügen and founded a healing spring establishment, that lasted until about 1830.

St Anns Well (Buxton) Natural thermal spring at Buxton, Derbyshire

St Ann's Well is an ancient warm natural spring in Buxton, Derbyshire in England. The drinking well is located at the foot of The Slopes and opposite the Crescent hotel and the Old Hall Hotel.

Buxton Baths Listed buildings in Derbyshire, England

The Buxton Baths using natural thermal spring water are in Buxton, Derbyshire, England. The baths date back to Roman times and were the basis for developing Buxton as a Georgian and Victorian spa town. The present buildings of the Thermal Baths and the Natural Mineral Baths were opened in the 1850s. They are positioned either side of the Buxton Crescent at the foot of The Slopes in the town's Central Conservation Area. They are both Grade II listed buildings designed by Henry Currey, architect for the 7th Duke of Devonshire.