The Canada Spa Directory contains links to spa and health resorts around the country.

SPA is the term used from the Latin,
Sanus Per Aquam and translates as "health/healing through water"


In Canada the traditions of bathing range from the traditional sweat bathing, dirt bathing, smoke bathing, and dust bathing to the modern practices of cleansing in natural rivers, lakes and falls.

In the past some bathing was as much for cleanliness as it was part of ritualized behaviour.


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historically

Documentation from India and ancient Egypt suggests that bathing rituals have been practiced for over 4000 years. Cleopatra was famed for her love of a bath in the milk of an ass; A ritual meant to preserve her highly proclaimed beauty. And where are the remnants of the western bathing culture? The Greeks and later the Romans used sacred sites of wells, springs and naturally mineralized waters, to locate their public bath houses. The Emperor Caracalla, believed the hot springs of Baden Baden in Germany cured his arthritis and there he built one of the finest bathing houses outside Rome.

In India, the bathing culture is part of the spiritual practice and also part of the daily routine. Special occasions call for holy dips in sacred rivers and lakes. The traditions of Yoga, and Ayurveda cleanse the body using breathe, posture, and nutrition. The Middle East is most likely the original birthplace of mud bathing. For the Ancient Egyptians the mud of the Nile delta, rich with minerals was used in the same manner.

today

In Europe today, mares' milk is still used in hair, and bathing products. The Dead Sea is renowned for the mineral rich silt. The nutrient rich mud is used for treating skin conditions. It is also famed for its' healing salt.

around the world

Europe is overflowing in bathing traditions and the spa is known through many "Bad." These towns where Victorians went to "take the waters" or "go for a cure," and modern health bohemians soak and soothe. Almost anywhere with a natural spring of hot or cold, saline or mineral water source; there you can find a bath.

In Finland it is the sauna, in Russia it is the Banya; almost identical, ritualized steam and sweat baths. The sweat bath could be as old as the similar ritualized sweat lodges of the First Nations of the Americas such as the "Temazcal" an Aztec sweat bath tradition. In Estonia the "sauntatuba" is a Christmas Eve steam bath tradition.

The Hamam, or Turkish Bath arrives during the Ottoman empire. Again using sweating as a form of cleansing. The traditional Hamam is a spiritual bath before attending the Mosque. The old Hamams of Istanbul are beautiful examples of Muslim ceramic and mosaic art. Inscriptions from the Koran are often found on the walls, lending it the feel of a holy place. Syria, Lebanon and Jordan also follow the Hamam tradition.

The traditional Japanese public bathhouse called a sento, is rooted in the ancient tradition of bathing in hot springs known as onsen, and staying in traditional inns or ryokan.

Today the traditions of East and West meet in sophisticated natural treatments. Many marry massage and meditation, with its origins in India and the Far East; with the water and steam of the sauna and western bath culture. Add aromatherapy and infused water treatments in the modern spa and it is divine.



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