The term spa was originally used to refer to mineral springs which were considered to have healing properties. The earliest use of spas can be traced back to the town now called Spa in Belgium where the concept of curing deficiencies by drinking spring water was popular. Back then the town was called Aquae Spadanae.
But how did a healing pool of water become a symbol of riches and relaxation? The story is a long one, but somewhere in the 17th century with several kings and men of stature turned to Bath. The vogue caught on and Bath became the social capital of England. Other spas in Europe followed suit and over the next few centuries the rest of the world caught on, albeit for commercial interests.
A typical modern day spa thus includes exotic massages and therapies, meditation, mind and spirit balancing exercises, various beauty treatments with health benefits… but no longer do most commercial spas offer the original elixir — natural water rich in minerals.
With spas popping up in every nook and cranny and cubbyhole salons with a bench also calling themselves spas, the International Spa Association defined what is a Spa. The ISA declared a spa to be: places that are exclusively dedicated to improving the well-being of their customers and provide services that enhance the mental, physical and spiritual state of a person.
To get the most out of your experience in a spa, check the therapies they offer, the efficiency of the service, hygiene and ask for a tour before you check in or take a virtual tour if it is an outstation spa. If you do go to a spa, check in for at least a whole day to really soak in the benefits.