The History Of the Hot Tub | What Were The First Spa’s We Used

Although many people are delighted to feel the benefits of a hot tub, they may not have considered the history of the hot tub in great detail. There is no need to know the progress and development of the humble hot tub to be able to enjoy it but many people like to know a little about a subject that they find interesting or which brings joy to their life. Whether you want to impart some wisdom while you are relaxing in your hot tub or you just feel as though this is something that you want to know, the history of the hot tub can make for interesting reading.

While the earliest hot tubs may not be too similar in style or form to the hot tubs that are available in a commercial way today, the basic premise and principle has always been the same. Hot tubs have always had a social element to them and they have been designed and created to be used by more than one person. This contrasts with a standard bath or shower which is generally seen as a single person activity. The fact that hot tubs have been welcomed as a social outlet for a considerable period of time means that they have often been installed in public places as opposed to just being made available within homes, hotels or spas.

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The first recorded use of a hot tub is with calderas. These hot tubs were utilised through the use of hot stones which were used to warm the water. This proved to be extremely relaxing and soon the habit of warming water to provide a soothing soak caught on. This was around the birth of hydrotherapy as people learned of the healing and relaxation benefits that arose from water.

Therma is a name that is synonymous with the hot tub

One of the most important times and places when it comes to the development of the hot tub is Therma in Ikaria around the time of the 4th century BC. This was where the benefits of hydrotherapy came to the fore and much of the modern thinking and consideration of this technique came to light around these times. Ruins and remains have shown us that there were many places in this part of the world that had bathhouses and which would cater for people looking to enjoy a warm soak. The finding of wrecked bath-tubs, along with the makings of a pre-historic aqueduct indicates that hot tubs were an integral part of the culture in this time.

There is also evidence and a belief that Cleopatra, the famous Queen of Egypt, was a fan of spas and that she had a spa built in the Dead Sea. This was down to the fact that the Dead Sea has a high level of minerals and salts. One of these minerals, “Bromine”, is still found in the Dead Sea today and it is regularly exported around the world. One of the biggest beliefs around Cleopatra is that she was a woman of immense beauty and it is said she had a strong love of bathing which was said to help her preserve her beauty.

Britain had its experience with spas and hot tubs

While there were a number of hot tubs and spas developing across the world, Britain was not being left back. There is enough evidence to suggest that the benefits of hydrotherapy were exalted by King Bladud in 863 BC in the United Kingdom. The King is said to have utilised a natural hot spring which provided considerable benefit to himself and his pigs, who were suffering from leprosy. You would think that the Royal seal of approval would help to develop the spa and bathing connection in the United Kingdom but many things hampered the progress of bathing in Britain. For a considerable period of time, right up until the 20th century, there was a large mismanagement of hot tubs and baths in Britain, which meant that many people did not get the benefits that they were supposed to obtain from hot tubs and springs. Nevertheless, there has been a marked history of hot tubs in Britain, and this is something that should never be overlooked.

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Asian culture led the way with respect to spas

Another early recording of a hot tub came from Japan in 737 AD. This was when the very first onsen was set up and opened in an area close to Izumo, Shimane. There was also the first inn, known as a ryokan, which opened centuries later which catered to the needs of people. This inn offered accommodation and food but it also offered patrons the opportunity to leisurely soak in a warm tub. This was referred to as ofuro and it was a freestanding hot tub allowing you to submerge your entire body. It was believed that this hot tub would have healing powers which helped to alleviate the suffering of arthritis. It was also said that a hot tub could benefit people suffering from insomnia and this is in line with modern thinking where medical experts believe that soaking in a hot tub can increase the likelihood of someone falling asleep.

The popularity of baths in the ancient Roman times was so widespread that there were three main different types of baths. There was a bath that would be found in people’s homes, which was called a balnea. There was a private bath, referred to as a balnea private and there were the very popular public baths, which were referred to as balnea publica. Bathing was hugely important to every Roman life and this was seen when the Romans conquered lands across the continent. The Roman settlers would build their own baths at the thermal and mineral springs they uncovered in the places they conquered. This meant that the popularity of baths spread across Europe and many of these ruins or at least origins can be found in the present day.

While the Romans were huge fans of cleanliness and of the benefits of taking regular baths, this was not a view shared by all. There was a notable change to bathing attitudes after the Roman Empire fell and Christianity rose. This was due to a belief of Christians that bathing was seen as a prelude to behaviour that was forbidden or not allowed. Of course, over time, this attitude to bathing diminished and it became popular once more and there was a rise in the number of private bath rooms that could welcome a number of bathers at one time. A stylish example of this layout can be found in Leeds castle, where there is a bath room which could play host to many bathers at any one time.

The popularity of bathing and hot tubs grew around the 13th century and baths were introduced across Europe. This was especially the case in Southern Europe where the influence of the Moors ensured that bathing was back in vogue.

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America pushed things forward

With respect to what is known and regarded as the hot tubs from the modern era, there is no doubt that the influence of America in the 1940s has had a part to play in the development of this activity. The US manufacturers were hugely influenced by the Japanese and the ofuro option. It was then that the Jacuzzi company struck upon the idea of using pumps to place hot warm water in jets into the pool. The development and evolution of the hot tub progressed in the 1970s when the first fibreglass shells were placed onto the market. This made it easier to own hot tubs but these were soon superseded by hot tubs made from cast acrylic shells.

You may not spend too much time thinking about the origins of the hot tub when you are having a relaxing soak but there is no doubt that a lot of time and effort has been involved with the evolution of the hot tub.

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