March 10, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The word “spa” translates from the Latin phrase Salude Per Aqua and means “healing through water.” Since ancient times water treatments, or hydrotherapy, has been common place in Europe but never really caught on in the United States. The International SPA Association, working with Research International, just released the inaugural ISPA 2008 Global Consumer Study, which compares consumer trends in 15 countries. According to the study, in France, Italy and Spain, after massage, hydrotherapy treatments are the most common. In the United States, hydrotherapy treatments aren’t even listed among the top five.

“Although Americans opt for massages and facials as their top treatments, hydrotherapy is a critical component of the spa experience. ISPA’s last spa industry study showed that 55 percent of U.S. spas offer hydrotherapy treatments,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. “There are numerous options for consumers to experience water features at the more than 18,000 spas around the country.”

Hydrotherapy is any treatment that incorporates water for therapeutic purposes. “Saunas, pools, as well as steam and inhalation rooms are great for helping people unwind, detoxify and relieve all of the unwanted stress that’s accumulated on a daily basis,” added McNees. “This is critical to the spa experience as the No. 1 reason people go to spas is to reduce and relieve stress.” Treatments such as underwater massage, mineral baths, hot and cold plunge pools and vichy showers are all categorized as hydrotherapy. Here’s a description of several other hydrotherapy treatments:

Balneotherapy -­ The use of hot springs, mineral, or sea waters to restore and revitalize the body, improving circulation, fortifying the immune system, as acting as a pain reliever and anti-stress treatment.

Iodine-Grine Therapy – Mineral baths, naturally rich in salt and iodine, used mostly in Europe for recuperation and convalescence.

Kneipp Treatments – Combining hydrotherapy, herbology, and a diet of natural foods. Includes the use of herbal bath oils, eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, meadow blossom, spruce, pine, juniper, chamomile, and hops to comfort body and mind.

Swiss Shower – Standing body massage delivered with high-pressure hoses. This invigorating shower tones circulation by contracting, then dilating capillaries as water from 16 needle-spray shower heads and two high-pressure hoses fluctuates from hot to cold to hot for several seconds at a time, aiding in circulation and helping relieve the pain of arthritis and rheumatism.

Thalassotherapy – Using the therapeutic benefits of the sea, and seawater products for their vitamins and minerals, which can heal and reinvigorate skin and hair. Treatments include: Individual baths of fresh seawater equipped with powerful underwater jets for deep massage; or a therapist applying manual massage to body with water pipes. A body wrap using seaweed or sea algae paste to eliminate toxins, restore minerals and skin elasticity.

About Research International

Research International was founded in 1962 and is part of The Kantar Group, the world’s largest survey research organization. Research International’s extensive background in globally understanding consumers enables it to interpret the data it receives and to provide insightful analysis as to what the data means.

About ISPA

ISPA is recognized worldwide as the leading professional organization and voice of the spa industry. Founded in 1991, ISPA advances the spa industry by providing invaluable educational and networking opportunities, promoting the value of the spa experience and speaking as the authoritative voice to foster professionalism and growth. More details on ISPA are available at http://www.experienceispa.com/.

Spas are places devoted to enhancing overall well-being through a variety of professional services that encourage the renewal of mind, body and spirit.

Scroll to Top