The word “spa” conjures soothing activities. Whether a trendy resort oasis or that fizzy circle of water adjacent to your backyard pool, you’re in a space that melts the day’s stresses.
While the modern spa boasts multiple amenities along with Bluetooth-enabled functionalities, the history of the spa dates well back into civilization’s history with a similar objective of health and healing.
“For the western world, the earliest proponent of the spa for therapeutic purposes was Hippocrates (460–370 BCE). Two main theories exist regarding the origin of the word spa. One is that it’s an acronym for the Latin phrase salus per aquae or ‘health from water.’ However, it’s much more likely the word originated in the small Belgian village of Spa, known for its warm mineral springs. They were once used by Roman soldiers to treat aching muscles and wounds suffered in battle. Today, the springs are used by residents and tourists alike.”
The famous Greek and Roman baths were temples devoted to leisure with ornate stylings, stately columns, and marble floors. A testimony to opulence, they evolved into social epicenters. The function of these public baths harkens to the contemporary backyard or resort pool as a gathering hub.
Hot Tubs vs. Spas
These two terms are used interchangeably and with good reason! While they both set the stage for tranquility, either is the yin to your pool’s yang. Both structures complement a pool as they provide bubbling warmth in contrast to the calm cool of its counterpart.
As far as the difference between hot tubs and spas, hot tubs are containers of varying sizes, are typically standalone structures not attached to a pool, and can be fairly easily relocated.
Smaller ones designed to accommodate two adults are generally about five feet in diameter and hold around 500 gallons of water. The larger ones that may accommodate eight or so adults are generally six or more feet across requiring about 850 gallons of water. Traditionally crafted from woods like cedar and teak, today’s hot tubs are often acrylic making them easier to maintain and transport. Building a hot tub from more sustainable materials is still of course an option.
Rustic hot tub styles can blend into a woodsy, outdoor setting. More modern-looking ones may be outfitted rather elaborately with lighting packages and an audio system including features like energy efficiency, a salt system, an ozone system that employs an oxidation process to cleanse the water, and of course an app that allows you to control functions and receive maintenance reminder alerts to clean the filters, etc.
Although there’s a great deal of variety today, the facet that is the mainstay are those built-in jets that gently pummel stress away, soothe muscles sore from training, and joints aching from a condition like arthritis. They’re what put the “ahhhh!” in spa.
Spas will contribute each of these wonderful amenities to your outdoor entertainment center, but these relaxation stations are technically considered “spas” when they are in-ground or customized. They can be attached or adjacent to an in-ground swimming pool. Oftentimes constructed simultaneously, they are dressed in the pool’s same tiles and finishes with integrating elements like a waterfall spilling over from the spa into the pool or by sharing glistening synchronized fountains. Their cohesion creates a unique visual centerpiece.
Your Spa as a Wellness Center
Today’s spas are showcasing even more than shimmering water and stunning mosaics. In the spirit of aromatherapy and its far-reaching benefits, aromachology is one of the latest innovations.
Aromatherapy’s subtler cousin, the science of aromachology “explores the link between smells and emotions and minds.” The moist heat environment of a spa is particularly conducive to disseminating odors with custom scents that are diffused into the air around the spa or injected directly into the water of the spa. (This therapy can only be used in spas that are purified by salt or ozone methods. Water laced with chlorine is not a favorable setting for the substances’ molecular structure.)
While the actual scent can be customized based on a spa user’s specific needs and “olfactory memories,” Florence Hammer, aromatologist at Esensia, offers some universal benefits of common bouquets:
- Use the scents of lavender, ylang-ylang, geranium or roses to calm and restore harmony.
- Use narrow-leaved peppermint and bay laurel to boost energy and purify the respiratory tracts.
- Tangerine and lemon invigorate the nervous system, drive out negative emotions and restore joy and optimism (only use in olfactory diffusion as they can irritate the skin and cause photosensitivity).
Sensory Deprivation Tanks
We know we’re a society fueled by a 24×7 news and information cycle generated from the phones in our pockets to all the screens that blare our social media updates and client emails; more data than we can sometimes possibly absorb. Besides your physical need for wellness, the thought of giving your mind a little vacation is alluring.
Just as your spa is your pool’s effervescent sidecar, how about a flotation tank nestled inside a screened gazebo or beneath a graceful pagoda?
What’s referred to as “floating” allows you to literally suspend in a softly illuminated, sound-insulated pod where you experience the gentle sensation of weightlessness.
According to one float tank manufacturer, “Experiencing the effects of meditation can be very difficult for even the most experienced practitioner of meditation. By significantly reducing and eliminating sensory visual, touch, and auditory stimuli, the burden on your mind is lifted and so are barriers to meditation. Additionally, many floating clients report mental breakthroughs, enhanced creativity and improved focus after floating. Because floating limits visual, touch and auditory stimuli, much of the processing power your mind dedicates is freed to focus on other things. Sensory deprivation has a powerful ability of being about to allow people to explore the deep recesses of their minds.”
Showcased at a recent Piscine Global Pool and Wellness Event, this type of equipment is designed for home and commercial spa uses. Of the benefits, they cited that, “During sensory deprivation, cerebral activity slides into a “theta” rhythm which usually appears just before falling asleep. This rhythm is known to stimulate creativity, as well as memory and the ability to concentrate.”
Considering the speed at which we conduct our lives, a little science fiction-like suspension sounds like a nice departure!
As a pool and outdoor entertainment financing company since 1979, we still never cease to be amazed by the innovative ways to create this singularly beautiful hub of your home. From spas to outdoor kitchens to glistening pools, Lyon Financial loves the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information.