Advertisement

Spa techniques and technologies: from the past to the present

  • C. P. Gómez PérezEmail author
  • S. González Soutelo
  • M. L. Mourelle Mosqueira
  • J. L. Legido Soto
Original Article

Abstract

Thermal waters have been used from ancient times. From those early experiences and the consecutive improvements in the understanding and treatment of these waters, all around the world different cultures and communities have used natural structures or have built facilities for the best use and exploitation of the mineral spring water. Nowadays thermal spas, inheritors of a rich and long tradition from the ancient world, combine classical techniques with innovative proposals. Thus, the introduction and implementation of new technologies in bathtubs, swimming pools, showers, saunas, etc., allow the efficient optimization of thermal techniques and hydrotherapy facilities. Moreover, the development of health tourism offers a new way to understand the use of thermal water, which requires higher quality and specialization of the spa services. Every year thousands of people travel to Europe for a healthy holiday and to improve their welfare and wellbeing. Resorts, spas, thalassotherapy centers and thermal spas that use hot thermal water utilize bath techniques, respiratory applications, pressure techniques, wraps, etc. These techniques use facilities and amenities such as swimming pools, bathtubs, showers, sprays and stoves, among others. One can also find peloids (thermal mud) and any kind of clay and herbal wraps. From the practices developed in Roman times, but especially from the first hydrotherapy techniques described by Priessnitz until today, there have been numerous innovations that have enabled the spas to adapt to the demands and needs of a new type of customer. Nowadays, there are companies specializing in the design and innovation of hydrotherapy that favour the modernization of existing spas or the emergence of new spas. The highlights are control and automation; new materials; design and architecture designed by prestigious architects.

Keywords

Thermal water History of thermalism Thermal techniques New materials Spa therapy 

References

  1. Alen E, De Carlos P, Domínguez T (2014) An analysis of differentiation strategies for Galician thermal centres. Current Issues in Tourism 17(6):499–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boisseuil D (2008) La douche thermale : une technique thérapeutique nouvelle dans l’Italie du Quattrocento ? In Durand A (ed) Jeux d’eau : moulins, meuniers et machines hydrauliques, XIe-XXe siècle. Etudes offertes à Georges Comet. Publications de l’Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, pp 59–74Google Scholar
  3. Boisseuil D (2015) La cure thermale dans l’Italie de la fin du Moyen Âge et du debut du XVIe siècle. In: Scheid J, Nicoud M, Boisseuil D, Coste J (dirs) Le thermalisme. Approches historiques et archéologiques d’un phenomène culturel et médical, Paris, pp 105–122Google Scholar
  4. Broise H (2015) « Thermes ‘classiques’ et thermes ‘curatifs’. Réflexions sur l’architecture et l’organisation interne des thermes utilisant l’eau des sources thermales chaudes durant l’Antiquité » , In: Scheid J, Nicoud M, Boisseuil D, Coste J (dirs) Le thermalisme. Approches historiques et archéologiques d’un phenomène culturel et médical, Paris, pp 45–64Google Scholar
  5. Broise H, Curie C (2014) Contribution à l’étude des travertins carbonatés à l’analyse diachronique, fonctionnelle et architecturale des thermes: l’exemple des thermes du sanctuaire de Djebel Oust (Tunisie). In: M-F Boussac, S Denoix, Th Fournet y B. Redon (eds), Balaneia. Thermes et hammams. 25e siècles de bain collectif -Proche Orient, Égypte et Péninsule Arabique- (Damas 2–6 Novembre 2009), Damas, pp 753–784Google Scholar
  6. Caelius Aurelianus, De morbus Chronicorum (Concerning Acute and Chronic Diseases) Google Scholar
  7. Celsus, Aulus Comelius Celsus, De medicinae (On Medicine) Google Scholar
  8. Conforti M (2015) “Subterranean fires and chemical exhalations: mineral waters in the Phlegraean Fields in the early modern age ». In: Scheid J, Nicoud M, Boisseuil D, Coste J (dirs) Le thermalisme. Approches historiques et archéologiques d’un phenomène culturel et médical, Paris, pp 123–137Google Scholar
  9. Cottereau du Clos (1671) Observations sur les eaux minérales de plusieurs provinces de France faites en l’Académie Royale des Sciences en l’année 1670 & 1671. Reims, ParisGoogle Scholar
  10. Cressier P (2002) Prendre les eaux en Al-Andalus. Pratique et fréquentation de la hamma, Médiévales 43:41–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Faubel-Serra V, Romero-Valiente J (2011) Boletín de la Sociedad Española de Cerámica y Vidrio 50(2):XIX–XXIIGoogle Scholar
  12. Fournet Th, Redon B (2010) Le bain grec à l’ombre des thermes romains. Les dossiers d’Archéologie 342:56–63Google Scholar
  13. García Ballester L (1998) Sobre el origen de los tratados de baños (de balneis) como género literario en la medicina medieval. Cronos 1:7–50Google Scholar
  14. Gerbod P (2004) Loisirs et santé. Les thermalismes en Europe des origines à nos jours. Honoré Champion, ParisGoogle Scholar
  15. Gomes C, Carretero I, Pozo M, Maraver F, Cantista P, Armijo F, Legido JL, Teixeira F, Rautureau M, Delgado R (2013) Peloids and pelotherapy: historical evolution, classification and glossary. Appl Clay Sci 75–76:28–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. González Soutelo S (2007a) En los orígenes de los balnearios, spas y centros de talasoterapia. Los establecimientos termales en el mundo antiguo. Parte I. Tribuna Termal 5:55–61Google Scholar
  17. González Soutelo S (2007b) En los orígenes de los balnearios, spas y centros de talasoterapia. Los establecimientos termales en el mundo antiguo. Parte II. Tribuna Termal 6:34–39Google Scholar
  18. González Soutelo S (2011) El valor del agua en el mundo antiguo: sistemas hidráulicos y aguas mineromedicinales en el contexto de la Galicia romana. Fundación Barrié de la Maza, A CoruñaGoogle Scholar
  19. González Soutelo S (2014) Medicine and Spas in the Roman period: the role of doctors in establishments with mineral-medicinal waters. In: Michaelides D (ed) Medicine in the Ancient Mediterranean World. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp 200–210Google Scholar
  20. Guérin-Beauvois M, Martin JM (eds) (2007) Bains curatifs et bains hygiéniques en Italie de l’Antiquité au Moyen âge (actes du colloque tenu à Rome les 22 et 23 mars 2004). École française de Rome, ParisGoogle Scholar
  21. Gutenbrunner C, Bender T, Cantista P, Karagülle Z (2010) A proposal for a world-wide definition of health resort medicine, balneology, medical hydrology and climatology. Int J Biometeorol 54(5):495–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hauser S, Zumthor P, Binet H (2007) In: Zumthor P (ed) Peter Zumthor therme vals. Scheidegger and Spiess, ZurichGoogle Scholar
  23. Horatius, Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Epistulae (Letters) Google Scholar
  24. Jackson R (1990) Waters and spas in the classical world. Med Hist Suppl 10:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Khan MW, Choudhry MA, Zeeshan M, Ali A (2015) Adaptive fuzzy multivariable controller design based on genetic algorithm for an air handling unit. Energy 81:477–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Knorst-Fouran A, Casas LM, Legido JL, Coussine C, Bessieres D, Plantier F, Lagiere J, Dubourg K (2012) Influence of dilution on the thermophysical properties of Dax peloid (TERDAX (R)). Thermochim Acta 539:34–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Limón Montero A (1697) Espejo cristalino de las aguas de España: hermoseado y guarnecido con el marco de variedad de fuentes y baños cuyas virtudes se examinan... Alcalá de HenaresGoogle Scholar
  28. Maraver F (ed.) (2006) Establecimientos balnearios: historia, literatura y medicina. Balnea 1:1–186Google Scholar
  29. Martial, Marcus Valerius Martialis, Eppigrammaton libri (Epigrams) Google Scholar
  30. Mourelle ML (coord.) (2009) Técnicas hidrotermales y estética del bienestar, MadridGoogle Scholar
  31. Mudry Ph (2015) Le thermalisme dans l’antiquité. Mais où sont les médicins ? In: J Scheid, M Nicoud, D Boisseuil, J Coste (dirs) Le thermalisme. Approches historiques et archéologiques d’un phenomène culturel et médical. Pigeaud Richard, Paris, pp 65–78Google Scholar
  32. Nicaud M (2015) Le thermalisme médiéval et le gouvernement des corps : d’une recreatio corporis à une regula balnei. In: J Scheid, M Nicoud, D Boisseuil, J. Coste (dirs) Le thermalisme. Approches historiques et archéologiques d’un phenomène culturel et médical. CNRS: Paris, pp. 79–104Google Scholar
  33. Nicoud M, Boisseuil D (2010) Séjourner au bain. Le thermalisme entre médicine et société (XIVe-XVIe siècles). Presses Universitaires de Lyon, LyonGoogle Scholar
  34. Oribasius, Collectanae medicinalia, Oeuvres complètes, I-VI, U.C. Bussemaker y Ch.V. Daremberg (trads.) (1851–1876), ParisGoogle Scholar
  35. Oró Fernández ME (1996) El Balneario romano: aspectos médicos, funcionales y religiosos, El balneario romano y la cueva negra de Fortuna (Murcia). Homenaje al profesor PH. Rahtz. Antigüedad y Cristianismo, nº13, Murcia, pp 23–151Google Scholar
  36. Pliny the Elder, Gaius Plinius Secundus, Naturalis historiae (The Natural History) Google Scholar
  37. Pliny the Younger, Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, Epistulae (Letters)Google Scholar
  38. Routh HB, Bhowmik KR, Parish LC, Witkowski JA (1996) Balneology, mineral water, and spas in historical perspective. Clin Dermatol 14(6):551–554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sammama E (2015) Sources chaudes et eau médicale: un « thermalisme » grec ? In: J Scheid, M Nicoud, D Boisseuil, J Coste (dirs.) Le thermalisme. Approches historiques et archéologiques d’un phenomène culturel et médical, Paris, pp 13–30Google Scholar
  40. Seneca (The Younger), Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Naturales Quaestiones (Natural questions)Google Scholar
  41. Seneca (The Younger), Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium (Moral letters to Luculius)Google Scholar
  42. Tölle-Kastenbein R (1990) Duschen in archaischer Zeit, Frontinus-Symposium beim Kongress “Wasser Berlin”, Jahrestagung 1989 in Hannover und weitere Beiträge zur historischen Entwicklung der Technik, 14:191–201Google Scholar
  43. Turner W (1568) A book of the natures and properties as well od the Baths in England as of other baths in Germany and Italy, LondonGoogle Scholar
  44. Varro, Marcus Terentius Varro, De lingua latina (On the Latin Language)Google Scholar
  45. Vitruvius, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, De architectura (Ten Book son Architecture)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. P. Gómez Pérez
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. González Soutelo
    • 2
  • M. L. Mourelle Mosqueira
    • 1
  • J. L. Legido Soto
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Physics Department, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of VigoVigoSpain
  2. 2.GEAAT. History, Art and Geography Department, Faculty of HistoryUniversity of VigoOurenseSpain

Personalised recommendations