City of spa
Originally, spa had nothing to do with massage. Or even with herbs, mud wraps, much less with beauty products like whitening peel-off mask or other skin-cleansing agents.
Unlike traditional massage and foot reflexology, which have been around for centuries, the spa is a new phenomenon in Thailand.
Some hotels may have had spas for a decade or two now, but they were few and far between then. And they were limited mostly to hotels belonging to international chains. These hotels then had full-fledged spa services abroad, particularly in Bali. With Thailand emerging as a major tourist destination in Asia in the 80s, hotel spas became a matter of course.
Just a decade ago, only a handful of people knew exactly what a "spa" was, and even fewer had enjoyed first-hand experience. Today, spas have become the talk of the global village. Thousands of places have been springing up all over the world offering "spa" facilities in response to the demand.
Thailand has been on the cutting edge of this trend. With its tradition of natural healing arts such as ancient Thai massage, natural springs, an abundance of medicinal flora and a deserved reputation for excellent service, Thailand was ready to accommodate the demand and literally hundreds of spas have sprung up over the past few years.
Originally, spa had nothing to do with massage. Or even with herbs, mud wraps, much less with beauty products like whitening peel-off mask or other skin-cleansing agents. The word, in fact, was a simple abbreviation for Sanum Per Aqua, Greek for “health through water.”
In the past, spa involved nothing more than water. Only during the past several decades has it come to mean a center for healing and nourishing the mind, body and spirit. More lately, it has even come to mean a place for fitness, stress management, peace of mind, pampering and pleasure, and health and wellness.
It has become a place to go for many other things. A business traveler goes into it to minimise jet lag. A mother of three relishes a spa session primarily to have time for herself. A group of friends sometimes go for it as part of birthday celebration. A man with back pain goes there to seek relief, so is a teenager troubled with acne or a weekend warrior sore from overexertion. In some cases, even a man deciding to quit smoking enters a spa. So does a busy executive want to rediscover his spirituality.
In Bangkok, there’s a proliferation of spas offering a wide variety of techniques and services, including Swedish, Japanese Shiatsu, and Thai massage, European facials, acupuncture, Dead Sea salt scrubs, Moor mud wraps, thalassotherapy, aromatherapy, reflexology, microdermabrasion, endermologie, reiki, aura imaging, watsu, rasul, hypnotherapy, classes in nutrition, meditation, journaling, yoga and Tai Chi. And believe it or not, you can even find here a place that styles itself as nail spa.
Truly, visiting some of these unique spas can be part of your exploration of this mystical city.