Valuable information from the world of spas and spa medicine

The glossary of the European Spas Association contains a variety of definitions and explanations of all sorts of terms related to spas and health resorts. This extremely useful dictionary can be ordered from bookshops (ISBN 3-88907-014-0) or directly from ESPA's head office in Brussels. As a foretaste, a few excerpts from the dictionary containing plenty of interesting information are listed below.


Health vacation

Vacation spent in a spa in order to balance health deficits by fitness, exercise and relaxation under medical supervision as well as by using local spa resources.

Herbal Wrap

This treatment, employed to eliminate impurities and toxins and to promote muscle relaxation, uses strips of cloth soaked in a herbal solution to cover all or part of the body. This is followed by a period of rest.

Holistic Health

An „alternative“ or „complementary“ approach to health and fitness which focuses on lifestyle, mental well-being and spiritual awareness. The person is treated as one or a „whole being“, hence the name.


A system of therapeutics devised by Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) employing the concept of „like cures like“ and using minute quantities of natural substances which would produce the symptoms of the disease in healthy individuals. Possibly uses the body’s natural ability to heal itself, using electromagnetic energy released from natural sources such as plants, herbs and minerals.


Use of water jets to massage parts of the body either hand-held or fixed underwater as in a hydrobath where the person is immersed to the neck lying down.


Name used from 1876 for a system of water based treatments such as underwater massage, hot and cold showers, plunge pool, immersion in mineral baths and jet sprays. Wilhelm Winternitz (1835-1917) a Viennese physician, is credited as the „Father of Hydrotherapeutics“. The therapeutic effect of water depends on the temperature, depth and duration of immersion and its mineral content to soothe painful muscles and joints as well as stimulating the circulation and immune system.

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