If someone had to say the word ‘spa’ to you, what would be the first few words that would come to mind? Would it be something like ‘treatment’, ‘relax’, ‘wellness’ or ‘massage’? Commonly it would be something along those lines.
You wouldn’t be that far off. But where did the name ‘Spa’ originate from? It is most commonly believed that the word ‘spa’ is an acronym for the Latin word ‘Salus Per Aquam’ or ‘Sanitas Per Aquam’ which means “healing through water”. It is also said that it comes from the Latin word “spargere’ which means to sprinkle or moisten, which would also make sense because still today, the heart of every spa is in fact the water or hydro treatments.
Coincidently there is also a town in a Belgium called ‘Spa’. The town was also home to famous mineral springs called ‘Aquae Spadanae’. It was also believed that the waters in this town were so relaxing and effective that the name ‘Spa’ was always associated with the words restore, healing and wellness. People from around the world came to this spring to “take to the waters”. Not only did people travel to drink the water but they wished to take long baths in the springs to heal the whole body from any disease or negative energy.
Water has always been known for its healing properties and the effect that it has on the physical and psychological part of the body. In the medieval times, people that had iron deficiency diseases such as anaemia were told to drink from this spring water because it was believed that it would cure them. Bathing in these springs became very important to people around the world but it was also known to be mainly used by the wealthy. Thereafter water was has been used for many healing and ritual purposes because of its cleansing and purifying characteristics. It was also often debated if it was better to bath in the water or drink the water to cure from within.
Many other discoveries were made from there such as the use of alternating between the hot and cold springs in hope of a cure for diseases and disorders. The effects of going from hot to cold water are things like increased energy, increased circulation, detoxification, the clearing of negative energy, etc. Still today, the use of hot and cold water therapy is used in spas around the world and its healing benefits are still trusted and most spas will encourage you to go from the sauna or a steam bath, into the plunge pool to experience it for yourself. The sound of going from a nice hot bath to a cold pool may be uninviting, but try it for yourself at home by changing the shower tap from hot to cold and you will see that its actually not that bad.
Spas have been part of a lifestyle since the ancient times and have been developing since the first spa opened. By the 1930s there were ± 2,000 hot- or cold-springs health resorts/ spas opened in the US but this decreased until the 20th century where there was a upward movement in the growth again. Now in the US, spas emphasize more on the wellness aspects such as diets, exercise, or recreational programs more than traditional bathing activities. However in Europe, therapeutic baths have managed to remain part of tradition still today.
Another way, in which spas have changed over the years, is that before there were only one type of spas and now there many different ones such as Day Spas, Resort/Hotel Spas, Medi-Spas and many more.
So, Why Spa? We encourage that one takes time out of our busy lifestyle and focus on healing and wellness. By visiting any type of spa, you can relax and re-energise the mind, body and spirit.