Taking the Waters
Legendary healing springs inspire rejuvenation for wellness-minded travelers.
Never underestimate the power of a good hot bath. Before plumbing advanced to the point where in-home tubs became de rigueur, natural hot springs around the world provided the pleasures of a peaceful soak to untold numbers. Bathers noticed other benefits as well, from easing achy muscles and joints and relieving the pain of rheumatism to less-likely claims of curing heart and kidney trouble and a litany of other ailments. As legends grew around the purported healing powers of the mineral-rich waters of certain springs, towns arose to serve the pilgrims who came to drink and bathe. Inevitably, some spa towns evolved from medicinal meccas to full-fledged resorts where “the worried well” indulged in both legitimate and fad treatments, the robustly healthy played sports and other vigorous activities, and those in rude health scurried off to gamble. Just as you may have a hot bath without a natural hot spring, you can visit hundreds of spas that do not depend on local springs, even if they exist. But the culture of the spa—the focus on health, wellness, rejuvenation, and pampering—was first nourished by those historic waters.
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