By Dr. Jonathan Paul de Vierville
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, February/March 2000.
Taking the Waters. It’s a phrase that holds mysterious connotations from a simpler, ancient time. Just as with water therapies today, Taking the Waters was, and is, a physical venture into healing, cleansing and rejuvenation. What has been significantly lost from the Taking the Waters experience of old is the integration of domains. Art, socialization, nutrition, honest leisure, discussion, music — these interdisciplinary elements were all part of the spa culture of which Taking the Waters has historically been a part.
Where once spa-goers Took the Waters in natural springs or temple baths, today’s spa client is often found Taking the Waters in a hydrotherapy tub or mineral bath. And while the physical benefits remain, there is something of the original concept missing in the singularity of the experience and the forgotten notion of spa culture. Still, some of the greatest spas in the world — Karlsbad being one of them — hold fast to the notion of integration of experience.