AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractWater and spa are ubiquitous geographically and culturally, but the relationship between that water and bathing rituals has led directly and indirectly to the organic growth of many of today’s spa products. The aim of this chapter is to explore the use of thermal and mineral waters for bathing, and it begins with a review of the origins, cultural and religious associations of bathing rituals. The current industry suggests that the approaches to hot spring bathing are broadly defined by three main categories: Relaxation and connection with the environment, as seen in Asian cultures; Health based and spiritual treatments, largely seen in European cultures; Religious connections, evident in Indian and indigenous cultures. This categorisation creates a debate within the industry as to whether globalisation fosters a blurring of these distinctions. Questions that result from this are: Is connection to the environment evident in cultures other than Asia? Where else are spiritual treatments seen other than in Europe? Do religious connections exist outside of indigenous cultures? The chapter also provides a historical illustration, drawing on examples of thermal and mineral spas from different continents, from the ancient Greek and Roman baths, the glamorous European spa resorts, to the onsen of Japan and hot springs of North America. The context is exampled in size and shape where Davidson (cited in Global Spa and Wellness Summit, 2013) and the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) (2014) concur in estimating that the global market is now worth over fifty billion US dollars. Furthermore, this market. growth is driven by new manifestations, such as the rejuvenation of the Eastern European industry based around emerging tourism destinations. For example the Hungarian resort of Heviz, developments such as the Crescent Hotel in Buxton, England and in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. The efficacy of bathing in thermal and mineral waters is then discussed as is the relationship to the notion of ‘existential authenticity’.
CitationBuxton, L. (2016) ‘Thermal and mineral springs'. In Rawlinson, S. and Heap, T. (Eds.) 'International Spa Management: Principles and Practice'. London: Goodfellow Publishers.