From the Roman Baths of Pompeii to the hot springs of Japan and Iceland, people around the world have long enjoyed the therapeutic pleasures of soaking in hot water. Yet the modern spa or 'hot tub' didn't appear until the 1960s, in California.
Those early spas were made from large oak wine barrels. The trend towards using wood continued, with Western Red Cedar wood still considered the best. As well as looking gorgeous, wood is great natural insulation and expands to form a very tight seal when wet.
The term 'spa' actually refers to a location where mineral-rich spring water, or seawater, is used to give medicinal baths. However, when we refer to a spa in the beauty and wellness industries, we generally mean a manmade spa or hot tub.
Usually these spas will be fitted with jets to increase the therapeutic effects of the treatment.
As well as the obvious enjoyment of soaking in bubbling hot water, spa use offers many benefits. It aids relaxation, reduces stress, improves sleep, and gives an overall feeling of wellbeing.
More specifically, it can also help treat chronic pain and mobility problems, decrease the frequency of headaches and migraines, and lower blood pressure.
The pummelling action of the jets relaxes sore, stiff muscles, and by boosting blood flow, can actually improve skin condition.
Some medical professionals believe submerging yourself in a spa can improve your cardiovascular health. When we sit in water, there is a certain amount of pressure against the body. This, in turn, can increase cardiac volume, which helps the heart stay healthy. It's kind of like a workout!
One study suggested that regular spas could help diabetics reduce their blood sugar and blood glucose levels. Another proved that spa use helps speed up weight loss - when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.
You have to wonder why we're not all taking spas every day of the week, right? But wouldn't it be bliss to be able to do it at least every week?
Having a weekly spa session is actually far more possible these days, with many of the venues we feature here on Bookwell offering spa use. It is particularly blissful when combined with other treatments, such as a massage.
There's just something about taking a spa. For starters, you feel so clean and refreshed afterwards. This is largely because the warm water opens up the pores and helps rid the body of toxins. That in itself is a huge health boost.
And then there's the psychological benefits of being immersed in water. Perhaps it subconsciously reminds us of being in the womb. Or maybe it's because the average human body is 50 to 65 percent water.
Body water can be found in our fat cells, blood, bones, muscle - in fact, just about everywhere. It's crucial to the correct functioning and survival of our bodies.
When we soak in bubbling water infused with minerals, the negative ions increase the flow of oxygen to our brains, improving our mental energy. The salt boosts serotonin and melatonin, which boosts feelings of wellbeing, and diminishes depression.
From ancient times, water was believed to contain healing powers for the mind, body and soul, so it's definitely something we should be doing more often.
Our venues offer many different types of spa experiences. For example, an essential oils or aromatherapy spa is highly recommended. The combination of the hot water, oil and wonderful aromas is just so soothing.
If you choose an aromatherapy spa, be sure to tell your therapist if you wish to target a particular issue or ailment. That will affect the choice of essential oil.
From Chinese medicine spas to ginger spas and even red wine spas, you'll find them all at Bookwell. So go on, jump right in and spoil yourself!