Spas. Among dreams and relaxation
Let yourself go. Take a deep breath. Close your eyes, then open them. Before you lies an expanse of sea that merges with a dense band of Mediterranean maquis shrubland. Or, unveiling flashes of emotion, a landscape of gentle groomed hills beneath snow like whipped cream that adorns unattainable peaks. From here, the panorama opens up. Huge glass windows in rooms and suites overlook every corner of our Bel Paese. We are in the much-coveted spa. A place filled with hot steamy vapours, with gushing water that soaks bodies hungry for pampering and hands ready for relaxing tired limbs. Water, an irreplaceable resource. Water, a precious gift. Spring water. Sustenance for all living species and the regulator of ecosystems. Thousands of years of Italian spa tourism gush from the belly of the earth, enhancing a country already incomparable for its countryside, art, food and wine. Today, the spa offer is increasingly diversified, rich and personalised, and now, the proposals of eight regions have been combined in a single interregional project (www.termeditalia.net). There’s no excuse then, for not escaping the bustle of the city to recreate a bond with nature and find ourselves, discovering the apparent secrets of these exclusive (but open) places, in spas where people have always come to relax, shaking off rules and conventions and breaking down class differences. Secluded oases, where body and mind are one, and the search for psychological and spiritual wellness rotates around the centrality of the human being in its entirety. The symbolic and cultural value of water, which, across the ages, from the Romans to the Greeks, had a sacred, gratifying and social quality with literary nuances, is also part of today’s concept of spa tourism, which incorporates studies on the therapeutic properties of mineral waters and on the exchange of synergies created during time spent at the spa. Programmes are determined from a scientific perspective, creating a wellness plan most suited to the guest, which may include classical energising hydrotherapy treatments, specific spa treatments, balneotherapy with showers, baths, compresses, water massages to relax the body, gentle exercise for regaining vitality (yoga, chi ball, Qigong …), massages for muscle decompression (shiatsu, reflexology), and lastly beauty and fitness treatments. But also, crenotherapy (crené, in Greek, spring), hydropinotherapy, irrigation, inhalation, insufflation, whirlpool baths, vascular hydrotherapy, Finnish saunas, bio-saunas, saunas with herbs, infrared treatment, laconium treatments (dry sweat room) and antistress treatments. This network of itineraries is now available through Italian spa tourism, and as a result, spas, without forsaking their healing character based on medical science, have expanded the concept of salus per aquam or sanare per aquam (health and healing through water), identifying the needs of a new and more sophisticated group of consumers. Incentives and motivation in synergy with therapies. Comfort and functionality. This has led to the creation of wellness centres, the modern, sophisticated evolution of a phenomenon that is now considered the norm in today’s tourism context, which feature all the alchemies that enliven these exclusive resorts. Located among the natural beauty of a great many regions, at the sea or among hills or mountains, these centres offer charming buildings and innovative, qualified offers. A subtle “liquid” thread that links hydrotherapy establishments (which provide health treatments of proven efficiency) and spas - both wellness centres and beauty centres - which offer pampering and relaxation together with bien vivre, attracting tourists desirous of promoting their health. Italy remains a treasure in this respect, as it houses gems of art and culture, striking scenery and a land that is a source of wellness. Because water to nourish body and mind arises from the “La Terra con le Terme dentro” (the Land of Spas). Lifestyles and natural therapies: an essential combination.