In this hectically fast-paced global village, spa
resorts are becoming increasingly fashionable as more
people seek vacations where they can quickly unwind and
be pampered with exotic treatments to calm and cleanse
the mind and body. Middle East Health looks at what some
of the world’s most exclusive resort spas have to offer.
is perhaps not often that visitors to spas ponder their
history, which is as old as civilisation itself.
Spas date back to ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece.
But it was during the height of the Roman Empire that
they flourished and it is here that the word spa is
thought to have originated. Some sources claim that the
word spa originates from the Latin “salus per aquam”
which means “health from water”.
During Roman times a visit to the spa bath would last
several hours and include exercise, bathing and
socialising. Roman baths were very social places with
gymnasiums, gardens, libraries and restaurants. They
were ornately decorated with high vaulted ceilings and
exquisite mosaics. The finest marble was used for the
Since Roman times the popularity of spas has risen and
fallen. During 16th- Century Europe they were regarded
highly as places of healing and recuperation. People
flocked to hot springs and mineral baths to seek
treatments and cures for ailments and diseases.
As technology has progressed so too have the number and
type of spas with the result that nowadays there are all
sorts of places purporting to be spas, in some case they
are not much more than a nail bar or hair salon.
Along with this development has been a dizzying growth
in the array of treatments. Combine this with the ease
of travel and the development of resorts in wonderfully
exotic locations and the result is a massive modern
resurgence in the popularity of spas.
It is best to focus on those places calling themselves
either destination spas and spa resorts as they are most
likely to offer the genuine product. And there is
certainly no shortage of them.
A genuine spa should offer four things: mind and body
fitness, healthy eating, relaxation and treatments.
Massages are the most popular treatments. They help to
revitalise tired muscles and rid the mind of stress.
Second is the European facial, which involves skin
analysis, deep cleansing, massage, “extractions”
(removal of blackheads and whiteheads), toning and
Body treatments are essentially facials for the whole
body. The most popular body treatment is the body scrub,
an exfoliating treatment where the outermost layer of
dead skin cells are rubbed off leaving your skin feeling
velvety soft. The body scrub is often combined with a
detoxifying or hydrating treatment. Products like mud,
algae or seaweed are detoxifying because they stimulate
the body’s blood circulation and lymphatic system,
facilitating the body’s own ability to carry away waste
products. Rich cream or oil softens and conditions, or
hydrates, the skin.
But, perhaps more than the body-cleansing treatments, it
is the relaxation and settling of the mind that appeals
most to the stressed city worker and is the main reason
behind the recent phenomenal growth of these havens of