AskDefine | Define spa

Dictionary Definition

spa

Noun

1 a health resort near a spring or at the seaside [syn: watering place, watering hole]
2 a fashionable hotel usually in a resort area [syn: resort hotel]
3 a place of business with equipment and facilities for exercising and improving physical fitness [syn: health spa, health club]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

The term is derived from the name of the belgian town of Spa, where since medieval times illnesses caused by iron deficiency were treated by drinking chalybeate (iron bearing) spring water. In 16th century England the old Roman ideas of medicinal bathing were revived at towns like Bath, and in 1571 William Slingsby who had been to the Belgian town (which he called Spaw) discovered a chalybeate spring in Yorkshire. He built an enclosed well at what became known as Harrogate, the first resort in England for drinking medicinal waters, then in 1596 Dr. Timothy Bright called the resort The English Spaw, beginning the use of the word Spa as a generic description rather than as the place name of the Belgian town. At first this term referred specifically to resorts for water drinking rather than bathing, but this distinction was gradually lost and many spas offer external remedies.
There are various stories about the origin of the name. A Belgian spring of iron bearing water was called Espa from the Walloon language term for "fountain", and was used in 1326 as a cure by an iron master with such success that he founded a health resort which developed into the town. It is also suggested that the term Espa may be derived from the name of the resort, and that its source could be the Latin word "spagere" meaning to scatter, sprinkle or moisten.
It is often suggested that the word is an acronym of various Latin phrases such as Sanitas (Salus) Per Aquas (Aquam) meaning "health through water", or Solus Per Aqua meaning "water in itself", all of which seem to have modern sources. Although such expansions are widely used, they are almost certainly backronyms – words formed from acronyms are very much a twentieth-century phenomenon.

Noun

spa
  1. A health resort near a mineral spring or hot spring.
  2. A trendy or fashionable resort.
  3. A health club.

Translations

  • German: Bad
  • Spanish: spa

See also

Extensive Definition

The term spa is associated with water treatment which is also known as balneotherapy, spa towns or spa resorts offering such treatment, or the medication or equipment for such treatment. The term thus has various related meanings.

Origins of the term

The term is derived from the name of the town of Spa, Belgium, where since medieval times illnesses caused by iron deficiency were treated by drinking chalybeate (iron bearing) spring water. In 16th century England the old Roman ideas of medicinal bathing were revived at towns like Bath, and in 1571 William Slingsby who had been to the Belgian town (which he called Spaw) discovered a chalybeate spring in Yorkshire. He built an enclosed well at what became known as Harrogate, the first resort in England for drinking medicinal waters, then in 1596 Dr Timothy Bright called the resort The English Spaw, beginning the use of the word Spa as a generic description rather than as the place name of the Belgian town. At first this term referred specifically to resorts for water drinking rather than bathing, but this distinction was gradually lost and many spas offer external remedies.
There are various stories about the origin of the name. A Belgian spring of iron bearing water was called Espa from the Walloon language term for "fountain", and was used in 1326 as a cure by an iron master with such success that he founded a health resort which developed into the town. It is also suggested that the term Espa may be derived from the name of the resort, and that its source could be the Latin word "spagere" meaning to scatter, sprinkle or moisten.
It has been suggested, with no evidence, that the word is an acronym of various Latin phrases such as "Salus Per Aquam” or "Sanitas Per Aquam" meaning "health through water".

History

The practice of traveling to hot or cold springs in hopes of effecting a cure of some ailment dates to prehistoric times. Archaeological investigations near hot springs in France and Czechoslovakia revealed Bronze Age weapons and offerings. In Great Britain, ancient legend credited early Celtic kings with the discovery of the hot springs at Bath, England.
Many people around the world believed that bathing in a particular spring, well, or river resulted in physical and spiritual purification. Forms of ritual purification existed among the native Americans, Persians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Today, ritual purification through water can be found in the religious ceremonies of Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus. These ceremonies reflect the ancient belief in the healing and purifying properties of water. Complex bathing rituals were also practiced in ancient Egypt, in prehistoric cities of the Indus Valley, and in Aegean civilizations. Most often these ancient people did little building construction around the water, and wht they did construct was very temporary in nature.
Destination spa - A destination spa is a facility with the primary purpose of guiding individual spa-goers to develop healthy habits. Historically a seven-day stay, this lifestyle transformation can be accomplished by providing a comprehensive program that includes spa services, physical fitness activities, wellness education, healthful cuisine and special interest programming.
Medical spa - A facility that operates under the full-time, on-site supervision of a licensed health care professional whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment that integrates spa services, as well as traditional, complimentary and/or alternative therapies and treatments. The facility operates within the scope of practice of its staff, which can include both aesthetic/cosmetic and prevention/wellness procedures and services. Mineral springs spa - A spa offering an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater used in hydrotherapy treatments.
Resort/hotel spa - A spa owned by and located within a resort or hotel providing professionally administered spa services, fitness and wellness components and spa cuisine menu choices.

Notes

spa in German: Spa (Gesundheit)
spa in Spanish: Spa
spa in French: Spa (nom commun)
spa in Hebrew: ספא (מרחצאות)
spa in Hungarian: Gyógyfürdő
spa in Indonesian: Spa
spa in Italian: Spa (terme)
spa in Japanese: スパ
spa in Dutch: Spa
spa in Polish: spa
spa in Thai: สปา
spa in Yiddish: ספא

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bagnio, balneae, balneum, bath, bathhouse, bathroom, baths, caldarium, casino, club, clubhouse, gambling house, gathering place, hangout, haunt, health resort, hot spring, lavatory, meeting place, mikvah, mineral spring, public baths, pump house, pump room, purlieu, rallying point, resort, rest room, sauna, springs, stamping ground, steam room, sudarium, sudatorium, sweat room, tepidarium, thermae, washroom, watering place, waters
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