The spa

Published by Sarah Horrocks
Published on 26 September 2008

Head to the spa for relaxation, comfort and wellbeing all under one roof! Here's our guide to the spa.

Head to the spa for relaxation, comfort and wellbeing all under one roof!

What is a spa?

The term spa comes from a Latin abbreviation sanita per aquam, meaning health through water. It was the Romans, worthy successors of the Greeks, who installed the first centres devoted to health through water. There are 3 definitions of spa in the dictionary:

  • Belgian thermal station dating from the Roman era
  • Hot tub with closed circuit recycled water
  • Hydrotherapy centre
  • Hot tubs at home

    The word spa refers first to a jacuzzi, a bath of hot water heated to between 37 and 40°C, filtered, treated and permanently recycled. The water is moved either by jets of water or air, or both. Jacuzzis can be installed inside or outside, and can accomodate several people if desired!
    Many gyms, swimming pools, health centres etc are equipped with jacuzzis, but types and prices may vary. It is more and more common to find them in homes, and not just those of the rich and famous.
    The benefits of hot tubs are multiple, as much as for the body as for the mind. The massage effect coupled with hot water from the whirlpool relaxes muscles, helps circulation and eliminates toxins from the body. Hot tubs are fab for relaxation and recuperation after exercise or a stressful day.

    Health centres

    In the early 70s, the boss of a top US hotel decided to set up a relaxation and beauty centre in his establishment. His rich clients were offered access to a jacuzzi, sauna, hammam and also massages, beauty treatments, pedicures, manicures etc.
    Since then, the idea spread, and at a time when stress is one of our biggest preoccupations, spas are cropping up everywhere: in health, beauty, relaxation and luxury hotels, centres and resorts. Nothing is too much, from tranquil music to relaxing scents, the decor and atmosphere; everything is focused on relaxing body and mind. There's a huge choice out there:
    - Day spas welcome clients seeking a few hours of relaxation in a relaxed atmosphere.
    - Spa hotels or amenity spas. For their wealthy clients, top city hotels don't just provide a pool and a gym. Spas are now de rigeur, sometimes with access to non-residents for day spa sessions, offering à la carte treatments.
    - Spa resorts and retreats. White sandy beaches, luxury hotels, exercise facilities and on-demand treatments are gaining popularity everywhere, a break or holiday to a spa retreat can also be a way of discovering a different culture through its wellbeing rituals!
    - Health farms are usually country-based centres along the lines of a spa resort or hotel, or somewhere between the two.

    You might also like