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History of Hot Tubs

Jan 7th 2015 at 3:29 AM

The word ‘spa’ comes from a Belgian town of the same name. The town Spa was a famous site of healing hot springs and has been used as a watering place since the 14th century. Other various mineral springs have become famous around the world but it’s the Belgian town of Spa that offers the special health giving properties.


The idea of bathing in hot springs and mineral waters dates back to the Greeks who took to the waters to restore their health. The Roman citizens also bathed daily in the now famous Roman Baths. It was the reign of Caesar where there were approximately 170 baths in Rome; most of which were public and were built and used by Roman soldiers.


In the 17th and 18th centuries, spas were also frequently built in separate mountain towns providing visitors with gorgeous views. It was during the turn of the 17th century where a new bathing culture spread through Italy and other parts of Europe which were popular with the elite. It’s believed that there were two types of spas that existed – hot springs for drinking and bathing, and cold springs for drinking cures only.


In the 19th century, Europe’s best spas were typically only for the extremely wealthy. They went to the spa to “take the waters” thinking that it would heal their aches and pains. Doctors were convinced that for each disease, an appropriate medicinal spring existed, which would be discovered through chemical analysis of the waters.


Spas in Britain never gained popularity since they were run by amateurs and the medicinal hydrology was poorly organised. They were aimed more for pleasure over medicinal who meant eventually they’d be taken advantage of by estate developers with strong commercial interests. Fierce competition from foreign resorts and the seaside and an economic depression in the 1930s led to a further decline. Spa therapy was eventually ruled out from the NHS which meant that many spa resorts in Britain had to close down.


In the USA in the 1950s, the New York Saratoga Spring were quite popular with Edgar Allen Poe and Roosevelt, who were said to have taken many visits to the Springs.


By the 20th century, the Gellert Baths in Budapest were opened and made the city the Spa capital of Europe. Astounding Art Nouveau architecture and Turkish inspired thermal pools were then built around Budapest and they now have over 100 baths and pools.


The popular term ‘Jacuzzi’ was created around the early 1950s by brothers with the surname Jacuzzi. They patented a whirlpool pump which developed later. A family member had developed rheumatoid arthritis which was their main motivation for building it.

In the 1960s, Roy Jacuzzi – a younger member of the family – had invented the first self contained whirlpool bath in 1968, which was done by building jets into the tub sides.


In recent years holiday cottages with hot tubs have become really popular, especially for those British not wanting the stress of going abroad and wanting to keep their holiday more local.


Nowadays Hot Tubs are now only used for the help of stress relief, but to help people with blood pressure, arthritis, chronic pain, headaches, insomnia and even for just pure pleasure!

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