From early times, people from the four corners
of the globe have benefited from the therapeutic qualities of hot
water. Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Turkish, Japanese, and Nordic cultures
have long partaken in hot springs baths.
The very earliest examples of spas may
have actually been calderas into which hot stones from campfires were placed
by primitive people to heat the
||Ancient Egypt - 2000 B.C.
Archeological evidence shows that as early as
4,000 years ago, hot therapeutic baths were enjoyed by the early Egyptians.
Perhaps the first known hot tub was chiseled
of solid granite for King Phraortes of ancient Persia (then called
Media) in about 600 B.C. The Persians went on to conquer
Egypt in 525 B.C., but we don't know if the invigorating aspects
of hot tubs had anything to do with that adventurism.
The Greeks - 500 B.C.
||We do know from the writings of
the great philosophers of Greece, including Plato, Homer, and
Hippocrates, that the therapeutic value of hot water was
appreciated and well understood. Grecians
built elaborate structures around hot water springs.
The Greeks often centered social activities
around public bathing establishments.
Roman Baths - 25 B.C.
Emperor Agrippa designed Rome's first
large-scale spa, originally called a thermae. Typical of Roman
rulers, each subsequent emperor would outdo his predecessor in
designing and building ever more extravagant facilities.
It is a little known fact that word SPA is
actually an acronym originating from the Roman Empire as well.
When battle weary legionnaires tried to find a way to recover from
their military wounds and ailments, they sought out hot wells and then
built baths to heal their aching bodies. They named these
bathing treatments "Sanus Per Aquam" (S. P. A.) meaning "health
through water." The Belgian town of Spa was founded for
this purpose, renowned throughout Europe the 14th
century, and still existing to this day.
|Over time health spas were
built across the Roman Empire, from Africa to England. These
evolved gradually into full-scale entertainment complexes
featuring sports arenas, massage parlors, restaurants, and even
Roman Baths at Bath, England
A typical routine consisted of a workout in the
palestra or arena, followed by a visit to three progressively
warmer rooms where the body was alternately bathed, anointed
with oils, massaged, and exfoliated.
ended with a bracing cold-water dip in the frigidarium followed by
relaxation in the library room.
Hot water's healing power has been revered for
thousands of years in Asian culture, from China to Japan. The Japanese
even have a saying, known as Mizu-no-Kokoro which translates:
Mind Like Water,
referring to a peaceful state of being in harmony with all things.
||In Japan, hot water bathing in freestanding
wooden tubs called ofuro has been a family custom for centuries. Occupation forces
brought knowledge and admiration of this custom home with
them after World War II. Hot water soaking has always been popular
with Japanese Americans.
Early America - 1700
|In the United States, hot water soaking has
been a part of our culture for a long time. Beginning more or
less about a century ago, a number of resort spas gained
popularity in various parts of the country, including High Rock
Spring, in Saratoga, New York. Drawn by these springs, native Americans were
likely the first to visit the area, using it for portage
and a short-cut to fishing and hunting grounds.
Legend has it that in 1771, his handlers carried
an ailing British patriot, Sir William Johnson, to High Rock
Spring in hopes of a cure. Other notables later followed including
General Philip Schuyler, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.
Turn of the Century
Other early spas included Calistoga in
California, Gregson in Montana, Mt. Princeton in Colorado, and Warm Springs in Georgia. These resorts,
some fashioned in the mold of the famous European resort spas,
initially attracted wealthy Americans with the allure of their
therapeutic mineral springs.
||Post card from 1907
showing elegant resort at Glenwood Hot Springs, Colorado.
Wooden Hot Tubs - 1958
Legend has it that the first home hot tubs began
to appear around 1958, mostly in California. These were
makeshift vessels crafted from old redwood vats and discarded wine
barrels. Perhaps it was an attempt by some to bring the
experience of a luxury spa resort right into the sanctity of their own
backyards. But it was going to be a few more years before the
phenomenon really took off...
The Sixties, oh... the Sixties!
By 1965 hippies began flooding the coast of
California, looking for peace, love and... whatever. With little
money, and lots of free time on their hands, they set the stage for
the proliferation of wooden hot tubs. Many if not most of these
were homemade. Innovative individuals even installed
smoke-belching wood fired heaters, although water circulation,
filtration, and sanitation were hit and miss at best.
||Those quaint but cramped wooden tubs leaked and didn’t
work very well. We now know that redwood not only contains
its own natural toxins, the porous wood fibers can harbor a
breeding ground for all types of bacteria, mold, algae and slime.
Many hippies grew up to become yuppies, and to
this day you can still see leaky wooden
hot tubs in the backyards
of some of California's middle-aged well to do.
Fiberglass and Acrylic Shell Spas -
When the shortcomings of wooden hot tubs became
apparent, the first fiberglass shell hot tubs began to appear on the market
in 1969-70. The gel-coat fiberglass construction had its
own drawbacks, and was replaced by cast acrylic in the early
seventies. For the first time it was easy for the owner to
achieve water cleanliness in an
easy-to-maintain, attractive package.
Manufacturers installed pumps, filters, control
systems and of course jets, although the first spas only had a handful
of them. Many of these components were largely borrowed from the
swimming pool industry, down-sized to fit under or around the spa,
which when skirted with lumber, became self-contained and known as
Modern Portable Spas - 1990
Heat Retention Design
Since the early nineties, the home spa has evolved into a completely
modern hydrotherapy system, with
programmable controls & filtration systems, plus many other amenities.
Belize Spas led the way in focusing engineering
on quality, performance, and energy-saving design in home spas.
The Spa Depot - 1997
The first online spa supply, The Spa Depot,
in 1997 and began offering
spas factory-direct to consumers (both acrylic and soft-sided)
as well as a huge selection of discount supplies, filters, covers,
chemicals and accessories with free shipping.
We believe that we became America's leading hot tub supply
by focusing on customer service and great values.
We've come a long way since King Phraotes took
delivery of his granite hot tub in 600 B.C. Now everyone can
enjoy the luxury and benefits of warm water hydrotherapy at home
without paying a king's ransom!
In addition to full-sized acrylic models seating
up to 7 adults, we also offer the largest selection of take-anywhere
portables which are great for singles, apartment dwellers and RV
enthusiasts, or anyone on a budget.
It's really no big secret why our spas cost
a lot less. A typical retailer sells only a few tubs per month,
and so must make several thousand dollars profit on each in order to stay
in business. With our factory-direct-to-consumer program, we
sell lots of spas with only a very small profit on each. With no
middleman, these savings go to you.