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History of Day Spas

When you think spas and mud baths, Calistoga should be the first place that comes to mind. Our natural mineral hot springs and historic mud baths have been helping travelers relax for over a century. Whether you’re planning a girlfriend getaway, a romantic weekend, or just some quality solo time with a good book and a glass of wine, pamper yourself in Calistoga spas and mud baths.

The history of spas and spa treatments


Today, spas are at the forefront of a holistic health and wellness movement that is taking over the world, as individuals learn that the most effective approach to health is maintaining a balanced body and lifestyle. Spas are now regarded as being home to some of the most modern and pioneering treatments and research into nutrition, mindfulness and wellbeing, from the nourishing treats experienced during luxury spa breaks to the bespoke plans provided on health retreats. However, the modern-day spa has deep roots, having grown from some of the most long-standing health practices in the world. Whether you are interested in learning about the origins of the treatments you experience on your next visit, or are simply intrigued to find out about how spas and spa treatments have changed over time, the history of spas and spa treatments is sure to fascinate.

No one know exactly where the word "spa" comes from, but there are two main theories. The first, and most popular,  is that "spa" is an acronym for the Latin phrase salus per aquae or "health through water."  Others believe the origin of the word "spa" comes from the Belgian town of Spa, known since Roman times for its baths. They speculate that the town was so prominent that the very word spa became synonymous in the English language with a place to be restored and pampered.  

The Great 19th-Century Spa Towns

By the 19th century, Europe's great Kurorte (“cure-towns”) such as Baden-Baden, Bad Ems, Bad Gastein, Karlsbad, and Marienbad were lavish destinations for the wealthy and rising bourgeoisie class., according David Clay Large, author of The Grand Spas of Central Europe (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), These great spa towns were "the equivalent of today’s major medical centers, rehab retreats, golf resorts, conference complexes, fashion shows, music festivals, and sexual hideaways—all rolled into one."  

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