Spa, which literally means salus per aquam, is the name of a town in Belgium, in the province of Liege, known for its mineral springs since the time of the Romans. Spa began to develop in the 16th century, when the reputation of its hot springs attracted business and tourism, above all thanks to English visitors.
So the term ‘spa’ has become synonymous with hot springs. Recently, especially in the United States, the meaning has been extended to any ‘equipped space’ that produces hot water used for physical wellness (in hot tubs), while in Europe, it no longer matters if the place has real hot springs, as long as the focus is on beauty and/or physical wellbeing, relaxation and detox.
The spas with a holistic approach (physical, psychic and spiritual wellness), though not very popular in Italy (with the exceptions of Val Aurina, in the Southern Tyrol), are still the best, with their commitment to rebalancing the relationship between body, mind and spirit, rather than simply focusing on the beauty of showgirls.
In Europe, the most striking example is Swiss, inside The Chedi Andermatt (a five-star luxury hotel) – designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, and opened a year and a half ago – which not only offers a large holistic spa (2400 m2), but also oriental and Alpine treatments, as well as a Tibetan relaxation lounge, with the presence of Loten Dahortsang, the monk-yogi from Lhasa (Tibet) who lives in Switzerland, who visits The Chedi once a month for a course in Lu Yong, the Tibetan yoga, an ancient practice based on a series of movements, breathing exercises and methods of concentration to free up the channels of vital energy, nurturing psycho-physical wellness and stimulating natural self-healing potential.
So a tip of the hat to the farsighted approach of The Chedi, but also to the spas of Alto Adige, which at least know what a Kneipp route is… After all, Youth, the latest film by Paolo Sorrentino, set in the Waldhaus Flims Mountain Resort & Spa of Flims-Laax and the Berghotel Schatzalp of Davos (which had already inspired Thomas Mann), tells the story: musicians, directors, young actors and even Miss Universe are attracted by facilities where the main accent is only living well, as long as possible, without worrying only about cellulite and wrinkles.
by Olivia Cremascoli