Every year across the U.S., hundreds of thousands of in-home spas are sold. People in general are discovering the health advantages, including relief of pain and stress, and just plain pleasure of having their own spa. At Goodall Pools & Spas, we find the history of spas interesting.
Origin of the Word “Spa”
There are two main theories about the origin of the word spa. In the 14th Century, the town of Spa, Belgium, was the sight of a thermal spring where Roman Soldiers discovered a soak relieved their aching muscles and war wounds.
The word “SPA” is also an acronym for the Latin phrase, Salus per Aquam which means “health from water.”
Baths in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire
As far back as Homeric times, beginning in 1200 B.C., bathing in warm water was used extensively for hygienic purposes. In addition, it was thought to be beneficial to health. By the time of Hippocrates, 460 B.C., bathing was considered to be beneficial for most diseases.
Greeks preferred bathing in fresh water flowing from natural resources. They also frequently bathed in the sea. Romans were influenced by the Greeks and built thermal baths. Roman baths were used for:
- Medical treatment.
After the fall of Rome, soaking in the public baths was associated with decadence and was prohibited. People abstained from bathing in general and this lasted for generations.
Revival of Medicinal Bathing During the Renaissance
During the early years of the Renaissance, public bathing was thought to be a center for spreading contagious diseases. On the other hand, soaking in warm water was often recommended by medical practitioners and was considered therapeutic.
France became popular for its hot springs used for bathing. Centers were opened for using spas for treatment, but not for leisure activity.
Modern Use of Spas
Beginning around 1800, the interest in using bathing for healing became popular. Hot and cold baths and herbal baths were often recommended. There was a rise in the use of mineral waters and hot springs that were associated with hotels and guesthouses in the U.S. as well as in Europe. These baths again became crowded. As one reporter stated about Baden Baden, Germany, a glamorous European spa resort stated in 1992, “It was the place to see and to be seen.”
Medical professionals now acknowledge the health benefits of soaking in a spa. In addition to relief of stress and muscle aches, there are benefits to relaxing and socializing in the home spa.
For information on having a spa for your own home, or maintaining a spa you currently have, contact us at Goodall Pools & Spas.