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  • Writer's pictureDesign for Leisure

Spa and Hydrothermal Bathing for Health and Wellness

Many believe the term "spa" originates from the Latin “sanus per aquam,” which translates into “health through water.” While Europeans often associate the word with the historic spa towns that center on natural mineral springs - hot or cold, saline or sulfuric - that produced endless quantities of natural healing waters emanating from underground the earth's surface. Some also believe that the term “spa” comes specifically from the famous bathing city of the same name: “Spa” in Belgium.

Regardless of where it originated, the word “spa” – and, increasingly, "wellness" – evokes expectations of health, relaxation and overall wellbeing. And as evidence stacks up showing the power of hot/cold contrast therapy to help reduce stress, improve sleep and even relieve hypertension, traditional hydrothermal bathing or "taking the waters" is gaining traction around the globe, not only in hotels and resorts, but also in residential builds and private homes.

Most of the now-famous European spa towns were put on the map over two thousand years ago when the Romans brought their advanced bathing culture to the many lands they conquered. One such example is Baden-Baden in Germany. Here, Emperor Caracalla believed the hot springs had the power to cure his arthritis, and, consequently, he built one of the finest bathing houses outside Rome in this location. Baden-Baden remains a much-loved spa town for health pilgrimages by travelers worldwide.

It is often said that a visit to a spa should be a journey of discovery—not just of individual experiences, but a discovery and delight of the joy of true relaxation and of self-indulgence. It’s difficult to argue that resting in the intense warmth of a sauna, enjoying the benefits of steam bathing or salt inhalation, exhilarating in a cold plunge, or refreshing oneself in the gentle, cooling atmosphere of an experience shower, and invigorating the blood flow with dips in specially-designed hydrotherapy pools at your own pace and with no time constraints is one of the ultimate experiences in personalized relaxation.

Spa and hotel developers, as well as homeowners, have begun to realize that hydrothermal experiences not only significantly enhance the enjoyment of any spa and wellness journey, but also deliver signficant health benefits.

To gain a better understanding of some of the more common/popular hydrothermal experiences found in today’s spas and in-home wellness suites, check out DFL’s recent blog posts:


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