"The word spa is believed to be an acronym of the Latin phrase ‘salus per aqua’- health through water."
Resorts became fashionable hang outs for monarchs and artists of the day — some for the social scene and others hoping to relieve ailments including infertility, rheumatism and gout. Seawater therapy was termed “thalassotherapy” (thalassa means sea in Greek) by a French doctor in 1865. Patients were prescribed a strict regimen of ocean water, sea air, algae wraps, walks on the beach, massage and healthy meals.
In the U.S., many thermal springs were held sacred by Native Americans and later frequented by nobility, celebrities and presidents. Franklin Roosevelt enjoyed many a good soak in mineral waters throughout the country to relieve symptoms from his polio. Proponents of the “water cure” believed that it replenished our bodies as we absorbed needed minerals through our pores.