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European Spas Association

Glossary

A

Accupressure
A three thousand year old Chinese system of healing and pain relief, where fine needles are inserted at key points of the body that relate to different organs (energy or meridian points as in accupressure). Relieves pain from muscular, neurological and arthritic conditions.

Acupuncture
A three thousand year old Chinese system of healing and pain relief, where fine needles are inserted at key points of the body that relate to different organs (energy or meridian points as in accupressure). Relieves pain from muscular, neurological and arthritic conditions.

Aerobic
A regime of rhythmic exercises performed to music in order to stimulate the heart and lungs, consume fat and improve muscle activity by using oxygen from the circulating blood.

Aerobic activity
This includes gentle exercise such as walking, slow jogging and swimming, ballroom dancing, but not Jiving or Rock and Roll! Aerobic means "in the presence of oxygen".

Affusion
See Vichy Shower

Ai Chi
A series of water exercises derived from Tai-Chi concepts combined with Shiatsu and Watsu regimes to relay body and mind. It is performed in shoulder depth water using deep breathing techniques.

Algotherapy
Use of heated seaweed wraps, which relieve pain and stress. Seaweed is a mild sedative with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Anaerobic
Muscle activity not completely dependent on the oxygen readily available from the circulating blood. Exercises such as sprinting, rowing, cycling, competitive swimming, weight lifting and body building use more oxygen than is available from the cirulating blood.

Aromatherapy
Body, face and/or scalp massage treatments that induce relaxation and improve the circulation through the use of aromatic essential oils derived from plants, trees and flowers. Acupressure points are used to restore a balanced flow of energy throughout the body.

Asanas
Yoga-exercises

Ayurveda
Indian treatment using heated oils and herbs to trigger the body's natural healing processes, enhance the immune system, increase the metabolism, soften the skin and induce deep relaxation and peace of mind.

B

Balneotherapy
A general term for water-based treatments using natural thermal, spring, mineral or seawater to induce relaxation, improve the circulation, stimulate the immune system and bring about detoxification whilst revitalising the body.

Body Composition Analysis
An evaluation process used to determine the ratio of the body fat against lean body mass. Results aid in establishing individual nutrition and exercise programmes.

Body Wrap
The body is wrapped in hot linens, plastic sheets and blankets. Heat penetrates the skin resulting in relaxation and skin revitalisation.

C

Chiropractic
Realignment of the spine and bone/body mechanics to relieve backache and postural problems. This treatment is used to analyse and correct vertebral spinal nerve interferences and helps to maintain the natural organisation of the body so that it can function at its fullest capacity.

Climatotherapy
Outdoor therapy in spas fulfilling severe regulations concerning air purity, a. o. to relieve respiration (according to indications: low mountain range, high mountain range, sea climate).

Cold Water Cure
The beginning of hydrotherapy (1843) as we know it today. It was devised in the early 19th century by Vincent Priessnitz (1799-1852), son of a Silesian farmer who had no medical training, as a therapeutic regime of cold water drinking and application by means of wet sheet packing, douches and immersion, combined with diet and exercise in fresh air. Swiftly swept through the whole of Europe and the USA. The cold water cure became known as hydropathy.

Crenotherapy
All types of treatment carried out with mineral water, mud or vapour.

Cures for children
Correctly indicated, structured and measured form of therapy, specially offered for children (see cure).

Cures for mothers
Correctly indicated, structured and measured form of therapy especially designed for mothers (see cure) in special spa clinics, sanatories or rehabilitation clinics.

D

Day Spa
A Day Spa offers a range of water-based, beauty and fitness treatments, but on a daily basis as there is no overnight accommodation. Also known as a Destination Spa.

Dead Sea mud
A mineral-rich mud from the Dead Sea in Israel. Used for the treatment of rheumatic conditions and to induce relaxation.

Detoxification
The elimination from the body of poisons and toxins which have accumulated through alcohol and drug abuse.

Douche
A jet or stream of water applied to the body as a form of treatment. See Scotch douche and Jet Blitz.

Drinking cure
Medicinal water for hydration and for the supplementation of minerals.

Dry Float
A body wrap of mud, salts, herbs and or hay applied directly onto the body or liquids and creams are soaked into non-woven sheets on a waterproof sheet. A platform is lowered onto the water surface to create a sensation of floating. The water is contained in a plastic envelope so that there is no filtration or purification required.

E

(at the moment there is no information available)

F

Facial treatment
A deep cleansing treatment of the face, neck and shoulders, using masks, creams and massage to tone, exfoliate, moisturise and revitalise the skin and underlying tissues.

Fango
The Italian word for mud made from solid clay and liquid organic material. The mud which is rich in minerals, undergoes a slow "maturation" process in vats, prior to therapeutic use.

Fangotherapy
Mud treatments applied to all or part of the body as a heated pack to detoxify, soothe muscles, stimulate the circulation and relieve pain.

Floatation Bath
A warm bath containing oils or salts, where the client floats on the water, usually in the dark or in subdued lighting. A floatation tank is bed-sized and, in total darkness, it can be very claustrophobic.

G

(at the moment there is no information available)

H

Health vacation
Vacation spent in a spa in order to balance health deficits by fitness, exercise and relaxation under medical supervision as well as by using local spa resources.

Herbal Wrap
This treatment, employed to eliminate impurities and toxins and to promote muscle relaxation, uses strips of cloth soaked in a herbal solution to cover all or part of the body. This is followed by a period of rest.

Holistic Health
An "alternative" or "complementary" approach to health and fitness which focuses on lifestyle, mental wellbeing and spiritual awareness. The person is treated as one or a "whole being", hence the name.

Homeopathy
A system of therapeutics devised by Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) employing the concept of "like cures like" and using minute quantities of natural substances which would produce the symptoms of the disease in healthy individuals. Possibly uses the body's natural ability to heal itself, using electromagnetic energy released from natural sources such as plants, herbs and minerals.

Hydromassage
Use of water jets to massage parts of the body either hand-held or fixed underwater as in a hydrobath where the person is immersed to the neck lying down.

Hydrotherapy
Name used from 1876 for a system of water based treatments such as underwater massage, hot and cold showers, plunge pool, immersion in mineral baths and jet sprays. Wilhelm Winternitz (1835-1917) a Viennese physician, is credited as the "Father of Hydrotherapeutics". The therapeutic effect of water depends on the temperature, depth and duration of immersion and its mineral content to soothe painful muscles and joints as well as stimulating the circulation and immune system.

I

Inhalations and douches
Treatment involving the nasal intake of steam derived from mineral springs and seawater which is often mixed with plant extracts and oils such as eucalyptus. Used in respiratory diseases to relieve congestion of the sinuses or lungs.

Integrative Medecine/Practitioner
Medicine bringing together complementary and orthodox (or conventional) treatments. A practitioner using both complementary (or alternative) and orthodox Western medicine.

Iodine
Chemical element improving the arterial and mircro-circulatory skin circulation and lowering the arterial (high) blood pressure.

J

Jacuzzi
Named after the inventor and manufacturer, this is a bath large enough for several persons sitting down to be massaged by underwater jets.

K

Kneipp-Therapy
A 19th century adaptation of hydrotherapy formulated by Pastor Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897) and consisting of hot and cold water treatments, walking barefoot in the morning dew, the use of herbal bath oils, all combined with physical exercise and a diet of natural food. Popular in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Kompaktkur
Special form of ambulatory preventional and rehabilitative cures. Treatments in groups (max. 15 persons) considering structural multi-disciplinary therapy concepts.

Kur
Correctly indicated, structured and measured form of therapy using special local resources. Ambulatory, policlinical and clinical for rehabilitation, curation and prevention. Duration: 2-4 weeks in Europe.

L

Liquid Sound
Therapy using light and sound above and under water.

Lomi-Lomi Massage
An ancient Hawaiian healing technique set to the soothing rhythm of drums.

Loofah Body Scrub
A body scrub using a Loofah sponge to exfoliate the skin and stimulate circulation. Used with sea salt, sand, oils, marine and plant extracts.

Lymph Drainage
Therapeutic massage using a gentle pumping technique to encourage the flow of lymphatic fluid to drain the body of excess fluids toxins and waste products. This can be achieved by manual, hydro- or aromatherapy massage or mechanical compression.

M

Massage
Muscle and soft tissue manipulation usually by hand but can be by water jets, to improve the circulation, relaxes muscles, reduces stress, relieves stiffness and soothes the body. May involve the whole body, face, neck or back as required.

Medicinal water
Mineral water with a proved therapeutic effect. Medicinal waters are drugs. Their use as local remedies requires an official recognition of the spring as a medicinal spring.

Mineral water
Water of natural purity with certain dietary effects the source of which has to be in a subterranean and protected water deposit. The content of certain substances must not exceed the indicated limits.

Moor (peat)
Bath Body wrap using a natural peat preparation rich in minerals and organic material, used to relieve pain and stiffness and induce relaxation.

Mother and child cures
Correctly indicated, structured and measured form of therapy especially designed for mothers with children (see cure) in special spa clinics, sanatories or rehabilitation clinics.

Mud Bath
The body is coated with organic thermal mud to release tension and nourish the skin.

N

Naturopathic treatments
Natural therapies using the scientific knowledge and experiences of naturopathy.

Naturopathy
Natural healing techniques and prescriptions using plant, shrub, tree and flower extracts.

O

(at the moment there is no information available)

P

Parafango
Treatment using volcanic mud mixed with paraffin wax and used to relieve the aches and pains from muscles and joints. This forms a thin layer which is more easily disposed of than traditional mud.

Paraffin Treatments
Paraffin wax is brushed over the body, hands or feet and then covered in a plastic wrap to trap the heat. As the wax solidifies, dirt and dead skin cells are drawn from the surface leaving it silky-smooth. The heat generated helps to relax the body.

Physicotherapy
Series of cures using physical energy (mechanotherapy, electrotherapy, ultra-sound therapy, light therapy, etc.).

Physiotherapy
Total of all natural (non-chirurgical) therapies applied to reestablish, to maintain or to improve the harmonic function of the human organism.

Phytotherapy
Healing treatments using plants, shrubs, trees, aromatic essential oils, seaweed, herbal and floral extracts. Applied through massage, packs or wraps, water and steam therapies, inhalation, homeopathy and drinking of herbal teas.

Pilates
A series of gentle, muscle strengthening exercises formulated by Dr. Joseph Pilates during the 1920's.

Q

(at the moment there is no information available)

R

Radon
Analgetic and anti-inflammatory inert gas used to treat illnesses like Morbus Bechterew and rheumatoid arthritis.

Reflexology
An ancient Chinese technique using pressure point massage, usually on the feet, sometimes on the hands and ears, using sites corresponding to the organs of the body. This is thought to relax the body and heal the areas stimulated.

Rehabilitation
Therapeutical measures to reestablish health and the ability to work after sickness or accidents.

Relaxation
Relaxation treatment to soothe illnesses caused by civilisation as well as neurological and physical overtaxing.

S

Salt Glow
An exfoliating treatment to remove dead skin and stimulate circulation by rubbing coarse salt and aromatic oils on the body.

Scotch Douche
An invigorating water jet massage with variable temperature and pressure levels which stimulates the circulation and relaxes muscles. Also known as the Scotch Hose Shower and Jet Blitz.

Shiatsu
Traditional Japanese accupressure massage technique used to promote relaxation, healing and rejuvenation. Pressure is applied to specific points in the body which stimulate and unblock the "meridians" (pathways in the body through which life energy flows).

Spa resources
Physical therapy, e. g. massages, packs with fango and peloids, physiotherapy, inhalations, Kneipp treatments, balneo-physical treatments with special consideration of local therapeutical remedies.

Spring water
Water originated in a subterranean water deposit that must not be disinfected and that should be bottled at the source.

Sulfur therapy
Balneotherapy using sulphur to soothe motional illnesses.

Swedish Massage
A European massage technique intended to relax muscles and improve circulation with the use of massage oils and gentle manipulations such as long strokes, kneading and tapping.

Swiss Shower
A multi-jet bath with alternating hot and cold water.

T

Tai Chi
An ancient Chinese martial arts form of meditation with a constant flow of energy and movement. It combines mental concentration, slow breathing and dance-like movements to increase chi (life energy).

TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine
Thai Massage - An oilless massage performed on the floor and designed to increase flexibility and decrease stress.

Thalassotherapy
Treatments using sea water for preventive or curative purposes. Includes seaweed and algae wraps and hydrotherapy.

Thermal bath
Bath run with thermal water, the pool of which has to be exclusively filled with thermal water.

Thermal Water
Naturally hot water, rich in mineral salts, iodine and gases.

Thermotherapy
Improvement of the thermo regulation by sauna baths, steam baths and heating baths as well as by hydrotherapeutical measures.

U

(at the moment there is no information available)

V

Vichy shower
Parallel massage under flowing thermal water.

W

Whirlpool bath
Named after the inventor and manufacturer, this is a bath large enough for several persons sitting down to be massaged by underwater jets.

X

(at the moment there is no information available)

Y

(at the moment there is no information available)

Z

(at the moment there is no information available)

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