Visiting a spa is a great way to relax and increase wellness by experiencing the many different treatment options available. Treatments usually range from relaxing massages to beauty enhancements, and even medical grade therapies. The evolution of spas has a long history dating back as far as history itself. While spas have certainly evolved over time, they have always been based on the healing powers of water. Today, spas are moving towards using revolutionary spa technology along with hydrotherapy and ancient rituals.
Spas in the Ancient World
There is evidence of prehistoric people visiting natural hot and cold mineral springs in search of a cure for their ailments. Bronze age artifacts have been found at springs that still exist today. In the ancient world, these natural springs and their healing powers were often associated with gods.
There has always been a spiritual component to the healing properties of water. In many traditions, the ritual of bathing in or using the water from a particular river, or other purified water, can bring about physical and spiritual purification.
The ancient Greeks were known for bathing. During this time, taking a bath was associated with treating illnesses and personal hygiene. Ancient Greeks kept vessels and basins in their homes for washing hands and feet. People did not have bathtubs or running water inside their homes, but public bathhouses were used.
The Romans followed the Greek bathing traditions, and expanded them, building large and complex bathhouses. Archaeological ruins of Roman baths have been found throughout Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East in the areas formerly known as the Roman Empire. Temporary or permanent buildings were built around natural mineral springs. Roman technologies including the ability to deliver running water into cities via aqueducts and the invention of cement made construction of bathhouses easier, and the culture of the time favored the public health benefits as well as leisurely benefits of bathing. Romans expanded spa rituals to also include sauna, massage, and resting afterwards.
The word spa comes from the name of the town of Spa, Belgium, which was called Aquae Spadanae during Roman times. The Latin phrase means “water spa.”
The Evolution of Spas Throughout the Ages
During medieval times, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the cultural attitude toward spas and bathhouses changed. People believed that too much bathing was unhealthy and bathhouses were places of immoral activity. They preferred natural hot and cold springs, which were believed to be holy sites that could cure diseases. Some natural springs actually could cure certain conditions, due to water rich in iron or other minerals, and health resorts were built around those springs.
One such example was found in the Belgian town of Spa, which featured a natural mineral spring with iron-rich water. People came to drink the water of the spring to be cured of conditions caused by iron deficiency. A health spa resort was built around the spring, and the word “spa” eventually came to mean a health resort built near a natural mineral spring.
In the early 1700s, spa resorts increased in popularity when Queen Anne of Great Britain visited Bath, England, which was a former Roman bath site. After her visit, a few other high-profile Brits also visited Bath and soon the spa resort there became the social center of England. Socialites would stay for weeks or months at a time, bathing in and drinking the mineral waters, and enjoying other activities such as games, shopping, concerts, dinners, dances, and taking in the social setting.
Vacations centered around healing spa resorts, which became popular and spread all over Europe, as people sought out better health through water.
In the 20th century, modern medicine began to cure some of the more extreme medical cases that spas once helped, and spas became more about leisure, wellness, nutrition, weight loss, and beauty.
The Invention of the Jacuzzi
The Jacuzzi Brothers company was founded in Berkeley, California in 1915. It was a business owned by seven brothers from Italy. They started out making wooden propellers for airplanes, but then moved on to other inventions. In 1956 they designed a pump that could be submerged in a bathtub to provide hydrotherapy treatments for a family member suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Roy Jacuzzi and his team created the first jetted whirlpool bath in 1968, and the company went on from there to design and manufacture Jacuzzi hot tubs as we know them today. Jacuzzi style hot tubs changed the spa industry, and are still a major feature of most spas today.
Modern Vacation Spa Resorts
The evolution of spas has been continuous, and nowadays vacation resorts are not necessarily built around natural hot or cold mineral springs (though some are), rather most vacation resorts are built in a particular destination, and then they create a spa within the resort. Modern day technology allows for the creation of any kind of spa imaginable. Most modern spas are still based on the healing power of water, and also offer many other kinds of treatments, utilizing both ancient techniques and modern technologies.
Today we realize the value of relaxation, de-stressing, and a natural, holistic approach to wellness, which is why spas are so popular right now. Luckily for us, spas are now accessible to everyone, not just the very wealthy.
Technology Allows Spas to Continue to Evolve
The International Spa Association (ISPA) created a broad definition of modern spas, stating, “Spas are places devoted to overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.”
Most spas today still have water-based treatments such as hydrotherapy (pools and Jacuzzis of various temperatures from hot water to cold), or natural mineral baths, and they often serve mineral water.
But today’s spas also offer health and beauty services. The evolution of spas has moved towards offering hands-on techniques such as massage, and techniques that require the use of special machinery, such as microdermabrasion or biostimulation, are common. Treatments are always administered by highly trained professionals.
Today, as in ancient times, spas are often social places, with friends or family often planning spa days for special occasions. But solo spagoers can also partake in medically appropriate wellness technologies as part of physical therapy regimens or private beauty routines.
New Technology at Spa Imagine
Spa Imagine is one of the best spas in Mexico, located in Garza Blanca Resorts in Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun.
This week, Spa Imagine announced the addition of two new facial and body treatment technologies: HydraFacial™ Elite™ and Binary Premium by RÖS’s.
Both are medical-grade treatments that improve the appearance of skin on the face and body, as well as promoting relaxation and well-being.
HydraFacial™ improves the look of the skin on the face by combining multiple treatments into one session. A trained HydraFacial™ aesthetician applies the treatment by passing a pen-like device called the HydroPeel™ Tip all over the face. This device has a spiral action that delivers cleansing, exfoliation, vacuum extraction, and infuses antioxidant serums into the skin. This treatment helps improve elasticity and firmness of the skin, improves skin texture, tone and vibrancy, reduces brown spots, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, cleanses oily, congested skin, and reduces enlarged pores.
Binary Premium by RÖS’s
Binary Premium is a biostimulation procedure that helps skin and muscle cells recover and regenerate. The treatment is a combination of electro-lifting, electro-firming, and electro-sculpting. These techniques oxygenate the tissues, which helps with toning, lifting, and contouring of the face and body, skin recovery from burns, stretch marks, and scars, reduction of cellulite and capillaries, pain treatment, sports rehab, and even recovery of the pelvic floor.
Both technologies will be available at Spa Imagine in Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun this fall.
Spa Imagine also offers a range of other treatments including different types of massages, facials, body wraps, and salon services. Each Spa Imagine also has a healing hydrotherapy circuit with a vitality pool.
As the evolution of spas continues, Spa Imagine is dedicated to keeping up with revolutionary technology to provide only the best for its guests.
Although the story of spas continues to evolve, the underlying principle of improving wellness is still the same.
Whether they use ancient techniques or revolutionary new technology, the evolution of spas can only enhance the health benefits and the best spas in the world continually to look for new ways to make their clients look and feel amazing.