t h e S p a e x p e r i e n c e
A business traveler wants to minimize jet lag. A group of friends plans a birthday celebration. A man with back painseeks relief. A weekend warrior is sore from overexertion. Aman decides to stop smoking. A busy executive wants to redis-cover spirituality. An obese man needs help controlling hisweight. A couple wants to reconnect. Where can all these peo-ple go for help? A spa.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 well-ness. Spas offer a wide variety of techniques and services -traditional and modern, from the East and from the West - tomeet the diverse needs of their clients: Swedish, JapaneseShiatsu, and Thai massage, European facials, acupuncture,Dead Sea salt scrubs, Moor mud wraps, thalassotherapy, aro-matherapy, reflexology, microdermabrasion, endermologie,reiki, aura imaging, watsu, rasul, hypnotherapy, classes innutrition, meditation, journaling, yoga and Tai Chi, state-of-the-art fitness centers with personal trainers, and much more.To understand and organize this overwhelming variety of spaofferings, the International Spa Association (ISPA) has definedthe "ten domains of SPA" or segments of the industry as:1. "The Waters"2. Food, Nourishment, Diet and Nutrition3. Movement, Exercise and Fitness4. Touch, Massage, and Bodywork5. Mind/Body/Spirit6. Aesthetics, Skin Care, Natural Beauty Agents7. Physical Space, Climatology, Global Ecology8. Social/Cultural Arts and Values, Spa Culture9. Management, Marketing, and Operations10. Time, Rhythm, and CyclesNot every spa includes every domain. Spas come in manyshapes, sizes, and focuses - from day spas where you can geta single treatment to destination spas where you can stay fora week or more to medical spas that treat cosmetic and chron-ic health problems.Although spas seem to have sprung up overnight, that's notthe case. "The Waters" can be traced back to early civiliza-tions. Like water, spa popularity has come in waves throughouthistory. Spas has accompanied cultures with leisure time.Social bathing was an important cultural process practiced byMesopotamians, Egyptians, Minoans, Greeks, and Romanswhenever they sought health and relief from their pain anddiseases.Homer and other Greek writers tell us the Greeks favored avariety of baths as early as 500 BC, from hot water tubs tohot-air baths, or laconica. From the small Greek laconica grewthe Roman balneum and finally the extravagant Roman ther-mae (Greek word for "heat"). Before Emperor Agrippadesigned and created the first thermae in 25 BC, the smaller,more numerous balneum had been enjoyed by Roman citizensfor more than 200 years. Each subsequent emperor createdthermae more spacious and splendid than his predecessor. TheDiocletian bath could hold 6,000 bathers.They were built all over the Roman Empire from Africa toEngland. The thermae later became a central entertainmentcomplex offering sports, restaurants, and various types of baths. A typical routine might begin with a workout in thepalestra, followed by a visit to three progressively warmerrooms starting in the tepidarium, the largest and most luxuri-ous room in the thermae. Here the bather would stay for anhour or so while being anointed with oils. This would be fol-lowed by a visit to the caldarium with small private bathingstalls offering a choice of hot or cold water. A visit to thehottest chamber, the laconicum, would follow. Here the bodywas vigorously massaged and the dead skin scraped off with acurved metal tool called a strigil. The bathing ritual would endwith a cool dip in the pool of the frigidarium. Refreshed andclean, the bather then retired to the outer areas of the ther-mae to relax in the library or assembly room.As the Roman Empire fell, the Roman thermae fell into disre-pair and disuse. The bath gained and lost popularity in differ-ent parts of the world - Asia, Europe, Africa, and NorthAmerica - through the present day. Baths were often built nearnatural hot or mineral springs.In the Renaissance era, Paracelsus' mountain mineral springsat Paeffers, Switzerland, and towns like Spa, Belgium, Baden-Baden, Germany, and Bath, England, grew up around naturalthermal waters considered to have healing properties. The useof saunas and steam baths also emerged.As these springs and spas were discovered, forgotten, andrediscovered, the healing power of the water was oftenenhanced and formalized. In 1522, the first scientific book onthe Czech Karlovy Vary treatment for disease was published inwhich a regimen of baths and drinking the waters of thesprings was recommended. In the 1890s, Father SebastianKneipp developed holistic herbal and water therapy in theGerman spa village of Bad Worishofen.With the medical discoveries of the early 20thcentury, scientific clinics and public hospitalsreplaced the spa. Existing spas responded byoffering luxury accommodations, and many even-tually turned into vacation locations or clinics thatconcentrated on weight loss, catering to thewealthy, with the spa origins obscured. In recentyears, the value of prevention, healthy lifestyles,and relaxation has been rediscovered and the spais again finding its place in modern society as aplace uniquely qualified to address these needs.The wealthy no longer have exclusive use of spas.Spas now appeal to and are accessible to a muchbroader population.
The Spa Experience
Katikies - Santorini