Modern spa business is a fast growing industry everywhere in the world including facilities, consultancy, education, media, events, retail and much more. Spas provide a wide range of health services and therefore act as sanctuaries for overall well- being.
Historically natural spring water was the central element of various treatments. The tradition of using thermal water (hot spring water) was widespread in Greek and Roman society, and later found its way to many other European countries: Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Great Britain. The places known for their healing water quickly developed into resorts offering additional accommodation, food and leisure to travellers coming to “take the waters”. The curative water helped against many health problems, such as poor digestion, muscle and joints pain, and insomnia. To get well again, people had to drink the water and bathe in it. The healing period lasted for several weeks. Socialising was always included as an important part of the experience.
In the 18 and 19th centuries, sea water was thought to be curative and people started to travel to the seaside. Bathing in the sea water was first considered a terrifying activity, which was strictly supervised by doctors, but it quickly developed into a modern habit for the upper class. Little fishermen villages in Great Britain, Germany, France but also in Estonia and Latvia became popular seaside resorts attracting travellers with sea water, beaches, fresh air and sunshine. All these elements had a curative character. Soon, however, having a long holiday and spending time outside on the beach was not only done on doctor's request; it became a status symbol, an activity all members of the upper class had to pursue.
Bathing facilities started in resorts offering heated sea water or thermal baths, hydro- and balneotherapy - all based on natural remedies such as salt, mud, water, herbs. Over time these establishments have become complex centres - spas with different variations of services. There are spas for everyone: day spas, medical spas, destination spas, wellness spas, nature spas, mobile spas and many other types of spas. Despite the changes spas have still retained their basic curative character. Providing alternative therapies to improve general health and prevent illnesses, spas act as mediators between traditional medical institutions and beauty and fitness centres.
In contrast to the historical spas, modern spas also offer services related to mental health, fighting stress, fatigue and burn out that can cause serious illnesses. Personalised consultations on nutrition and physical training helping to develop a healthy personal lifestyle are gaining popularity.
Spa and wellness merge in holistic services targeted to body, mind and soul. That holistic approach takes into consideration more than one aspect of our overall well- being. We are talking about holistic services contributing to the improvement of our physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and social wellness.
There are many ways in which spas can improve our health. Relaxing in saunas and Jacuzzis; swimming and bathing in swimming pools; enjoying quiet relaxing rooms and sound therapy; learning to master your body taking yoga lessons; joining breathing classes and having full relaxation during aroma massage; taking a refreshing Nordic walk; practicing tai chi and meditation; experiencing floating or Kneipp therapy – the list of spa services is endless. Be aware of your actual needs and chose the spa accordingly.
All our senses are activated and correspond to sound, light, taste, aroma and touch. Do not underestimate the importance of spa design: the elements of water, plants, stones, candles, smell are created for your full relaxation and well- being. Take time to notice and enjoy the spa experience fully!