Modern spas have their roots in ancient towns famed for the healing powers of their mineral waters and hot springs. Travelers would come to "take the waters" and restore their health. The practice of bathing in hot springs and mineral waters dates at least to the Babylonians and Greeks, and knowing people, probably much sooner!
In the 19th century, Europe's great spas were destinations for the wealthy, who went there to "take the waters." Water treatments are still considered the heart of the spa experience in Europe. Today massages and facials are by far the most popular spa treatments in America.
Today’s spa is an interesting combination of ancient traditions and modern mechanical wonders. However, the heart of the modern spa, just as the ancient spa, is water and the rituals that evolve around it. The rule of thumb for the typical spa ritual is cleaning, heating, treatment, and rest. The first step, cleaning, should be a visit to the shower to purify the body. The second step is to heat the body. Many spas offer heated whirlpools, saunas, and steam rooms. A short visit to each or any combination can heat the body (caution: this step should be eliminated for people with certain medical conditions). The third step is the treatment such as a body scrub and massage. The last and equally important step is rest. Today’s ritual is very similar to the spa ritual used at the Roman thermae.
Today’s spa is a center for healing and nourishing mind, body, and spirit. People go to spas for fitness, stress management, peace of mind, pampering and pleasure, and health and wellness. Spas offer a wide variety of techniques and services - traditional and modern, from the East and from the West - to meet the diverse needs of their clients: Swedish, Japanese Shiatsu, and Thai massage, European facials, acupuncture, Dead Sea salt scrubs, Moor mud wraps, thalassotherapy, aromatherapy, reflexology, microdermabrasion, endermologie, reiki, aura imaging, watsu, rasul, hypnotherapy, classes in nutrition, meditation, journaling, yoga and Tai Chi, state-of-the-art fitness centers with personal trainers, and much more.