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An Industry of Progress, Part III

By: Mario Montalvo
Posted: December 1, 2011, from the December 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Rancho La Puerta in its early days.

Rancho La Puerta in its early days.

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Hydrotherapy, formerly called hydropathy, had many uses in ancient times and evolved into acceptance as a medical method of treating certain illnesses and diseases when it was rediscovered in the 1900s. In many aspects, hydrotherapy was used in European spas, in the early form of immersions in therapeutic waters, and was later expanded into treatments used in day spas.

Hydrotherapy is used as a therapy in the form of Vichy showers, hydrotherapy tubs, Scotch hosing and immersions, and helps relieve fatigue, sports injuries, stress, as well as promotes healthy circulation and revitalization of the body.

Thalassotherapy is another form of hydrotherapy, but is singular in its use of sea water, as opposed to waters of a nonoceanic origin. This is another ancient cure that has been refined and modernized throughout the years. It is often used in the United States with marine extracts being placed in a hydrotherapy tub, mixing with water generated by several strategically aimed jets directed at multiple areas of the body.

Some purists will argue that this procedure is not legitimate thalassotherapy in the strictest sense, but merely a form of it. The premise is that the treatment should only use sea water, which contains all the vital minerals, vitamins, amino acids, algae, kelp, seaweed and other countless compounds in their native state, and any treatment that does not use genuine sea water cannot achieve the same therapeutic results.

The economic recession

At the beginning of the 21st century, industry professionals were supremely confident that growth would prove unstoppable. The number of day spas had grown from 4,000 in 1998 to more than 20,000 by 2010. The day spa evolved from being a source of curiosity and misconception—because for so many Americans, the word “spa” denotes a hot tub. Destination and day spas continued to gain new adherents, and their services adapted readily to the new clients, who were, more than ever, focused on wellness.