The history of the spa goes right back to prehistoric times. The word “spa” denotes a type of water treatment, also known as balneotherapy. Many cultures across the world have recognised a kind of power and health benefits in certain types of mineral water and have therefore developed bathing practices and techniques intended to harness the magic of water.
Historians believe that Greeks used variety of social bathing in 500 BC including hot air baths known as 'laconica' for medicinal purposes. In Rome Emperors designed and created several 'thermae' (a large-scale spa) so that the benefit of the curative features of hot water can be availed by common people. Gradually this became popular throughout the world and they were built across the Roman Empire, from Africa to England. People come to these places for treatment from various parts of the world which developed it into a medical profession. The increase in demand from visitors helped in emergence of several well equipped complexes which offered places to stay, entertainment facilities and various types of baths. Greeks built bathing facilities by these pools and enjoyed their healing powers. In gratitude for the magic of water, visitors left offerings to the gods when they were healed at these sites.
These Greek practices were adopted and modified by the Romans and remained popular, but when Rome fell, the Catholic church discouraged public baths, thinking them an unclean and un-Christian activity. Meanwhile in the East, Muslims adopted Roman bathing practices and improved them. The Turkish Baths and Arabic Hamams developed a sophisticated therapeutic use of water which was brought to Europe when Arabs invaded Spain in the medieval era. The largest Arabic baths in the world outside an Islamic country are those located in the Spanish city of Jaén, which date back to the 12th century.
Throughout the centuries the spa industry continued to gain popularity and emerged as a sophisticated treatment of diseases. The present generation Spa therapies keep undergoing several reforms so that they can become more effective and efficient for the end users. Today Spa has highly developed into a profession that takes proper care of the individuals after proper diagnosis of the physical and mental disharmony. Increasing focus on health and wellness popularizes this treatment throughout the world.
The wellness and spa industry in India blends age-old therapeutic treatments of yore, having its roots in Ayurveda, along with super-luxury ambience of modern-day spa. The concept of
Visiting luxury spas for a quick therapy or relaxation is catching up, amongst foreign tourists and Indian local residents alike, leading to the growth of day spas as well. Although these quick therapy spas which are usually located in various established malls and prominent locations make up of nearly 50% of the rejuvenation and spa market in India, hotels and resort spas account for the other half, and are growing rapidly to reach a larger consumer base.
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