The History of Hot Tubs

Posted on July 25, 2012 · Posted in Hot Tub Info

Most people believe that the word “spa “comes from the Latin phrase “salus per aquae,” or health through water, “but it has also been said that “spa” comes from a Belgian town of the same name. The town Spa was a famed site of healing hot springs and has been used as a watering place since the 14th century. Many other mineral springs have become famous throughout the world but it is Belgian town of Spa that possess special health giving properties, as a spa.

Bathing in hot springs and mineral waters goes back to the Greeks who used to take to the waters to restore their health. Also the Roman citizens bathed daily in the now famous Roman Baths. During the reign of Caesar there were approximately 170 baths in Rome. Many of these were public baths and were built and used by the Roman soldiers.

During the 17th and 18th century spas were also frequently built in secluded mountain towns providing visitors with majestic views. Also during the turn of the 17th century a new bathing culture had spread over Italy and other parts of Europe which were popular with the elite. It is said that two types of spas existed, hot springs for drinking and bathing, and cold springs for drinking cures only.

Around the 19th century, Europe’s great spas were only really for the very wealthy and they went to a spa to “take the waters” believing that it would heal their aches and pains. Doctors were convinced that for each disease that there was an appropriate medicinal spring, which could be discovered through chemical analysis of the waters. Individual treatments were prescribed, based on the composition and temperature of the water.

Spas in Britain never really took off as they were run by amateurs and the medical hydrology was badly organized. They aimed more at pleasure, rather than medical treatments so eventually they were exploited by estate developers with commercial interests. Strong competition from seaside and foreign resorts and an economic depression in the 1930s led to a further decline. Spa therapy was eventually excluded from the NHS which meant that many spa resorts in Britain closed down.

It is thought that the first Hot Tub was chiselled out of solid granite for King Phraortes about 600BC in which sizzling stones were placed in the water to heat it.

Eqyptian Queen Cleopatra built a spa in the Dead Sea in its spring fed waters. This was due to the high concentration of salts and minerals. One of the chemicals “Bromine” is still extracted there today for worldwide export. This is very popular due to the fact that Cleopatra is famed for her love of bathing to preserve her legendary beauty.

It was back in about 836BC in the UK that King Bladud discovered a natural hot spring which is said to have healed both him and his pigs from leprosy.

Hot water healing power has been used for thousands of years in Asian culture, from Japan to China. “Mizu-no-Kokcro” in Japanese means “Mind like water” referring to a peaceful state of wellbeing. A Japanese custom for centuries has been hot water bathing in freestanding wooden Hot Tubs called “ofuro”. These tubs were at least 2 ft deep so that when you were submerged you benefit from the spine being fully covered. This was led to believe that it helped Arthritis and also a help for Insomnia.

In the USA back in the 1850s the New York Saratoga Springs were very popular with Roosevelt and Edgar Allen Poe who were said to have taken frequent visits to the springs.

Moving into the 20th century in Budapest the Gellert Baths were opened and made the city the Spa capital of Europe. Amazing Art Nouveau architecture and Turkish inspired thermal pools have been built all around Budapest and they now have in excess of 100 baths and pools.

The word “Jacuzzi” was developed around the early 1950’s by brothers with the surname Jacuzzi. They patented a whirlpool pump which was later further developed. They built this to help a member of there family who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Later in the 1960’s Roy Jacuzzi a younger member of the family who had been learning from his brothers realized that in America the interests were great with fitness, health and leisure activities. This inspired him to invent and market the first self contained whirlpool bath in 1968. This was done by incorporating jets into the tub sides.

Fibreglass material was being used in the 1960’s and this is when the Hot Tub shells first came into use. It was not until the 1980’s when electronic computerised controls were being developed and it was a Californian electronic design company that started to develop the technology for the Hot Tub spa installations. These controls were soon incorporated in the leading Hot Tub manufacturer’s products.

Hot Tubs are now used not only for the help of stress relief, but to help people with blood pressure, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain, headaches and moving forward people are using them just for pure pleasure.