Spa History and Contemporary Trends.
For thousands of years, people from nearly every continent have been drawn to the therapeutic wonders of hot water. The Greeks and Romans may be best known for their bathing rituals because of the massive and magnificent baths they built some large enough to cater to thousands of bathers at a time. However, other civilizations also have a history steeped in bathing traditions.
The Roman baths were a place where all of society could recreate and relax.
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A Hot-water bathing continues to be an integral part of many cultures. In Japan, for example, the ofuro is not only a way to cleanse the body, but also a means of improving one's mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Other end of the spectrum is the centuries-old Japanese ofuro, traditionally a freestanding wooden tub for individual hot-water bathing. The ofuro is as much a part of Japanese culture as are the better-known exports sushi and karaoke. More than just a way to wash away the day's dirt and grime, an ofuro incorporates botanicals, minerals, and herbal extracts that enhance the therapeutic benefits of bathing mental, physical, and spiritual.
Native Americans engaged in a culture of hot-water bathing, too. Instead of a wooden tub, however, they simply dipped into natural hot springs, which were believed to have therapeutic properties. For hundreds of years, people have sought out natural hot springs for their alleged curative powers.
Today many of these hot springs have been fashioned into resort spas.