What is Spa (Salus Per Aquam)?

People talk too much about it lately but for any reason many people don’t know what really SPA word means.

Shortly it means “health from water”. There are words that have same meaning with “SPA” but written in different ways.

For example “Salus Per Aquam”, “Sonus Per Aqua”, “Salut Per Aqua”, “Sanitas Per Aqua”. The common meaning of these words is that they all mean health with water, health from water in Latin language. 

In Latin language “Sanitas” mean “Health”, “Aqua” means “Water”. The combination means health with water or health from water.

Generally, it may be called regaining health, vitality, aesthetic, beauty, well being with water and the healing power of water.

In addition to its meanings above, SPA also means center that aims to provide bodily and mentally well being and therapy service to individual.

Historically, the history of spa dates back to Roman Empire. The bathrooms constructed to treat injured bodies of Roman soldiers who come back from wars tired and miserable were used to call “Salus Per Aquam” (SPA)- health from water. And also a city named Spa was founded in Belgium in 14th century for this very same reason which managed to make it to our days. Spa culture starting in Rome but developing in different ways in Europe started to include mineral water, sea water usage and mostly therapy during time. The main theme in spa culture is historically get treatment and the determining form of this is hydrotherapy.

Those places established to meet all kinds of needs and expectations of people and amend their health have been started to be called Spa. So it means health center, heath club, resting and therapy center.

The therapies in spas may be classified as hydrotherapies, dry therapies (massages, wrapping body), vitality therapies (oxygen inhale) and beauty therapies. In a spa center, there is generally a sauna, vapor room and spa pool.

SPA which have a broader meaning than its literal meaning today is not only used for water and mud therapies but also for massage therapies, aroma therapies, beauty and care health centers and it is used as a complementary therapy meaning healing with water, health coming from use of water, dropping, spraying in hot, cold, different forms, resting and freshening up.

The classifications and definitions made by International SPA Associations are given below. Appropriateness of some of the SPA types mentioned here to SPA concept and real SPA definition may be discussed.

Club spa, a facility whose primary purpose is fitness and which offers a variety of professionally administered spa services on a day-use basis.

2.      Cruise ship spa, a spa aboard a cruise ship providing professionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness components and spa cuisine menu choices.

3.      Day spa, a spa offering a variety of professionally administered spa services to clients on a day-use basis.

4.       Destination spa, a facility with the primary purpose of guiding individual spa-goers to develop healthy habits.

5.      Medical spa, a spa that includes broad capacity and wellness care, traditional Spa services and alternative and modern treatment services. The application is done by a health personnel.

6.       Thermal/ Mineral/Hot Spring Spa: a spa that includes spa and wellness services and hydrotherapy applications that are done with natural mineral, thermal or sea water taken from their sources.

7.       Holiday/Recreation Area/Hotel/Resort Spa: It includes spa services conducted professionally in a holiday place or hotel in health and treatment units. Spa kitchen menu options are presented on daily basis or longer terms. It includes spa and wellness services.