What is a Spa?

The word “spa” is derived from the name of a Belgian resort. Beginning from the early XIV century Spa became a favorite place for visitors to Belgium. Sometimes during the 17th century the Brits started to call their mineral water springs a “spa”. Only in the second half of the 20th century the word “spa” gained a new meaning and started to get applied to various types of wellness centers available primarily exclusive to resort and hotel guests. We have seen some interpretations of the word “spa” as an abbreviation of Latin “sanus per aquam” – or “health through water”. However, this is a relatively new interpretation. The phrase simply has a wrong Latin grammar, because the word “sanus” actually means “healthy”, and not “health”. The correct interpretation of the phrase “health through water” into Latin would be “aquae vi sanus, aqua sanatus”.

Nevertheless, the word “spa” has become a very familiar term to all of us. We see spas on almost every city block these days. It may seem like there are now more spas than gas stations in any U.S. city. Are all of them really “spas”? Are they offering the same spa services? And, what makes a spa a spa?

It could be relatively easy to make a distinction between various types of spas if all of them would state clearly what they do out-front. Unfortunately, today even a trivial hair or nail salon puts a fashionable word “spa” on its façade, only because it has a massage chair sitting in the corner. It has become such a fashionable hype that you can probably tally more places around one city having the word “spa” in their name than places truly akin to a real spa.  So, what is a true spa and what do we expect, when we decide it is time to go to a spa?

Now let us make it clear that we are not talking about medical spas, skin care clinics, hair or nail salons. A true spa is a wellness complex that is primarily designed for relaxation and utilizes water, healing herbs, clays and minerals combined with natural therapies to sustain or improve your health and bring your body, soul and spirit to a desired harmony. A spa may utilize various types of programs, such as fitness, diet, skin rejuvenation, etc. The most appropriate place for one is a resort. When the majority of people go to a spa, they want to relax and visit a place of total pampering. If a person’s time and budget do not permit traveling they should expect to find something similar to a resort spa in the city where they live.

We have done some research and found out that there are many real spas in the U.S., but Oklahoma occupies one of the last places on the list. Also, in accordance with an unwritten definition of a true day spa, there is probably only a handful of them in Tulsa. In our humble opinion, we believe, that currently only Spa Lux, Spa Southern Hills and Elite Day Spa can be identified as actually real spas in Tulsa, OK.

What makes these spas “real” is the fact that they do actually have spa facilities (as described above) and they do not provide hair salon services or act as clinics (i.e. providing medical services). These places are designed for and are in business of providing relaxation and wellness services combined with health improvement procedures of various degrees.

As inscribed in a brochure of one of these spas: “You don’t have to wait for your next vacation to enjoy a spa. Now you have a destination spa only minutes away from your home.” Let’s hope that the busy Tulsans who can’t go on a vacation because of time or even financial considerations can still choose and enjoy the real spas and not settle for just a hair salon offering massage services.

Visit us at http://www.spalux.org or call (918)615-3339