Here at Experience Days there is very little we enjoy more than a good Pamper Day, as the combination of expert remedies, proven techniques and a break in the routine make for our favourite kind of day; a relaxation day!
But we got to thinking, where do spa days and pamper days come from, and who was the very first person to kick off their heels and enjoy a soul-soothing-spa-session in the name of pleasure?
Well, some research suggests that the term SPA could in fact be an acronym of the latin phrase‘Salus Per Aqua’, meaning ‘Health Through Water’.
However, many believe the term ‘Spa’ actually originates from 16th Century Belgium, when a town by the name of ‘Spa’ was practicing a water treatment known as ‘Balneotherapy’ – attracting the Romans to bathe their wounds in the hot springs available there.
But the Romans weren’t the first to notice the benefits of a relaxing rejuvenation day, as the ancient Babylonians and Ancient Greeks are also credited with early forms of water based indulgence. Recent archaeologists’ findings also show Bronze Age Weaponry lying next to hot springs in France and Czechoslovakia, almost proving they were there with pamper-scene evidence!
Way back in the 3rd century, Emperor Caracalla credited bathing in the hot springs of Baden Baden, Germany, with curing his arthritis – and was so impressed that he built his own baths in Rome upon his return.
Here in England, the first Spa is believed to have been set up way back in 1571, when William Slingsby discovered the medicinal effects of a Chalybeate Spring in Yorkshire. The pampering pioneer was so impressed by its healing power he replicated it in an enclosed room and called ‘Harrogate Spa’. There is however some debate surrounding this discovery, with many believing that the Well used would have been highly noticeable due to the heavy smell of the Sulphur it contained.
Moving into the 18th Century, spa and pamper days became more popular, particularly with the discoveries made in hygiene and cleanliness leading to the introduction of regimen to people’s lives.
As well as the Hot Water Soaks, Vapour Steaming, Drinking Hot Water and Cool Room Relaxation therapies that were proving so popular, people began to include diet and exercise plans to their pamper days as well.
During the 19th Century, further discoveries in cleanliness lead to the abolishment of traditional therapies that included drinking the water after bathing.
Today, many of the most popular Pampering Experiences derive inspiration from Egyptian and Middle-Eastern traditions, most famously the Rasul (mud) treatments. It was the Middle-East that discovered using silt from the Dead Sea provided great healing benefits for various skin conditions, while the ancient Egyptians often bathed in mud under the belief that when collected from the Nile Delta – it came with healing powers. Cleopatra herself is claimed to have been very fond of this method, along with another pampering pleasures involving soaking in a bath of asses’ milk to stay looking young and beautiful.
Other ancient artefacts that have stood the test of time and are now in use at today’s top spas include the Sauna, Aromatherapy lounges and the Turkish Hammam.
Saunas were first invented in Finland and used not for pleasure, but instead with great intent to cleanse and purify the body. The timber pits have survived in today’s market – but the post-sweat-out technique of rolling around in the snow directly afterwards has thankfully been dropped!
Turkish Hammam therapies originated in the Ottoman Empire, and have roots deeply in the religious notion of cleansing before entering the mosque. Thankfully, some of the architectural beauty of Hammams in Istanbul, Syria, Lebanon & Jordan has transcended into today’s spas – along with the purifying and exfoliating techniques employed for centuries.
So, with a little bit of the history and a massive range of choice; treat yourself or someone special to an indulgent day of pampering at one of the UK’s Top Spas.