A Comprehensive History of Health Spas

spa-3Despite only gaining popularity recently, the concept of health resorts has been in existence for several thousand years. These facilities are estimated to have been in use at least eight hundred years prior to the birth of Christ. Merano, a small city in Italy bears the oldest evidence of such utilities. In the past generations, health spas were considered a preserve of the rich and wealthy in the society. They utilised such facilities to maintain their bodies. However, thanks to technological advancement and mass production, these facilities are currently easily available to ordinary citizens.

In ancient Greece, the most prominent use for baths was relaxation and rejuvenation. These facilities were ordinarily placed next to gymnasia and were mainly utilised by sportsmen and athletes. The importance of sports such as the Decathlon in ancient Greece has been well documented. Sports that exhibited bravery, courage and perseverance of individuals were highly respected in the traditional culture. Sportsmen utilised the spas to rest and relax their worn out bodies after games.

The roots of hydrotherapy, which is the art of treating through water, originated from these traditional settings. Aquatic environments are believed to have some sort of relation with the body of animals. Water has for many centuries been used to treat diverse ailments such as diabetes, stroke and muscle injuries.

Spas and resorts were also a frequent haunt for intellectual such as Plato, Hippocrates and Socrates. These mathematics and science geniuses and philosophers visited spas to enjoy the wide range of services offered to patrons. Great ideas and concepts were hatched in the isolation of little baths where intellectuals met to talk.

It is from these activities that Hippocrates gained his title as ‘Father of wellness’. This title is in respect to the achievements and advancements he made to the study of chiropody. Hippocrates, through keen observation and logical thought was able to connect the dots between massage and wellness of the body.

Thanks to the latitudinal position of the country, swimming pools were not, and are still not so popular in Greece. The cold temperatures that embrace the Northern Hemisphere for most part of the year make it difficult to enjoy swimming. In the ancient days, only sportsmen and brave hearts dared to plunge into cold pools. Swimming was not a source of rejuvenation and fun.

spaRomans adopted the concept of health resorts and made a couple of improvements. They introduced a mucky paste composed of olive oil and ash that was used as soap. They also enhanced the study and practice of chiropody and massage. Their keen study of the relationship between rubbing the body and the resultant health effects has been widely documented.

The hipster attitude that swept through the developed world in the mid-sixties is largely to blame for the proliferation of health resorts. Hippies took it upon themselves to build saunas and spas to relax their bodies. Knowledge of the numerous health effects that accrue to the body from spa treatment has greatly impacted on the popularity of health resorts. Individuals who want to experience a good spa treatment will have to visit to the best places, for this you may have to fill ESTA form or get a visa ready to move overseas.