Our Favorite Exotic Spa Treatments
Spa is an international word – one whose meaning is the same in any language.
What began as a place name in small town Belgium, spread throughout Europe as a generic for any place where mineral springs or healing waters popped out of the ground to lavish their therapeutic properties on the ill, the over-indulgent or the mildly dyspeptic.
Over the last two centuries it spread out across the world to mean a place where people go to rest and repair. A centre where waters could be taken, or where one could bathe in their curative properties. Gradually other treatments were offered to visitors – chiropody, osteopathy, physiotherapy, nutritional guidance – mostly with a medical or pseudo-medical background, these were places, after all, for the afflicted. Diets were prescribed while fresh air and rest were paramount to ensure the visitor left looking and feeling better.
While a few such places still exist today (they can be found mostly in central Europe), a different kind of spa can be experienced wherever else you go in the world. The premise is still the same – to help people look and feel better – but they are light years away from their eighteenth century forebears. Instead, the spa perpetrators went further back in time to the opulence and luxury of the Roman baths with their marble and mosaics, and to the hammams of the Ottoman empire with their steams, heat and scents. They also employed the traditions of some of the oldest medical disciplines on earth – China and to India, while en route they discovered the traditions and therapies of Indonesia, Malaysia and the temples of Thailand.
For not only is spa an international word, it is these days a truly international experience.
If you’re baffled by some of the treatments offered at your local spa, wait until you check out these unique offerings from around the world: