Water has been used as a source of healing since ancient times.  Ancient Roman public bath houses included baths and steam rooms and was a place where people would relax and socialize, and the mineral springs of  Spa, Belgium became a place of healing and health as early as the 14th century.  Even the word “spa” originates from the Latin phrase “Salvs per aquae” which translates to “healing through water.”  The benefits of bathing in hot springs has been well known for centuries and help us to relax tired muscles, heal skin ailments, and can even be drunk as a tonic to cleanse the body.  Many modern European spas still incorporate water and hydrotherapy as a vital  part of wellness and the spa experience, while in the United States water therapies tend to be viewed as a luxury.  Adding hydrotherapy to your spa is a great way to enhance your spa services and add value to your business.  A relaxing mineral soak, steam treatment, or Swiss shower before a massage treatment helps to relax the muscles for your clients and rid the body of impurities.  Your spa patrons will leave feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated with the addition of these healing therapies.

Let’s a do a quick rundown of  water therapies used in the spa.  The first and most well known are the Greek, Roman, and Turkish bath houses.  In these bath houses patrons would go through steam or sauna rooms with gradually increasing heat, then cool off in a cold room at the end.  They would then receive a massage and scrub down, and relax in a warm room before leaving.  These bath houses were places to socialize and unwind, and were the beginning of today’s modern spa treatments.

Therme Vals Hot Spring in Switzerland

Today the traditional bath house treatments have been reinterpreted into water journeys and wellness resorts.  In a water journey spa-goers travel through pools, steam rooms, saunas, and spa showers with varying temperatures and massage therapies.  They are then treated to the massage of their choice.  Wellness resorts built near hot springs featuring soaking pools and various wellness treatments using natural remedies can be found throughout the world.  They are especially popular in Germany where people escape the daily grind to rejuvenate or seek physical therapy in what they called the “kur”.

Swiss and Vichy showers were developed at the spas near the natural springs in Switzerland and France.  Swiss showers feature and overhead shower and vertical shower heads that alternate warm and cold water for an invigorating experience.  Vichy showers are mounted horizontally above a bed on which the client lays face down and simulates rain fall.  Vichy showers and Swiss showers are gaining popularity in the United States and when done correctly are a fantastic addition to spa services.  Depending on where your spa is located these showers can be used with mineral spring water or warmed sea water to add even more restorative properties to the treatment.

Executive Retreats Vichy Shower in Australia
Executive Retreats Vichy Shower in Australia

The simplest way to add hydrotherapy to your spa is with a soaking tub or whirlpool.  With this simple addition you can create dozens of beneficial treatments.  Herbal baths like the Krauter bath sooth aches and pains, while dips in hot and cold baths cleanse the body and strengthen the immune system.  Spas also  add dead sea salts or mineral salts, and even have entire baths of warm mineral or sea water. Jetted tubs offer the additional benefit of massage to the bathing experience.

Traditional Japanese Ofuro Tub

The health benefits and calming affects of water treatments can’t be denied, and adding hydrotherapy is a great way to add variety to your spa menu.  What great hydrotherapy treatments have you incorporated into your spa?

At Spa Style we’re always looking for new unique items to add to our offerings, and just recently we were lucky enough to be introduced to the inspiring artwork of Barbara Westfall.  Barbara is an artist and curator who specializes in creating works of art that focus on the connection between art, people, and the natural environment.  We feature her Reflections On Water Reliefs, handmade sculptures inspired by water, plants, and sunlight.  To create these unique pieces Barbara layers acrylic paint, hundreds of layered fused glass pendants, and natural willow branches, resulting in luminous, textural, beautiful works of art.

Estuaries #1

Blue Ponds #2

Mangroves #1

To learn more about Barbara’s work and art, visit her webpage http://www.barbarawestfall.com.

It’s mid April and although Spring officially began a few weeks ago, Chicago’s weather didn’t get the message.  We woke up to snow this morning and it’s making me wish more and more for warm, sunny days and time spent outside.  Here are some beautiful outdoor spa spaces  to get my mind off our wintery morning, and to inspire your dream spa.

The Nusa Dua Westin Resort in Bali outdoor massage pagodas.  The warm orange massage bedding really adds drama to this already beautiful space.

The Mykonos Grand in Greece at sunset.

This massage room at the Four Season Koh Samui in Thailand blends nature with their interior with tall open windows overlooking the forest.  The combination leaves the space feeling private and warm, while still having the airiness of the outdoors.

I couldn’t help but share this beautiful outdoor bath at the Madikwe Hills Private Lodge in Africa.  Kick back, relax, and wait for an elephant to stroll by!

Meditation space at the Blue Palace Elouda Spa in Crete, Greece.

I also had to share this amazing lounge area at the Blue Palace in Crete.  Such a striking architectural space, you’ll feel like you’re sipping wine with the gods at this Grecian retreat.

Dazzle your spa guests this holiday season with thoughtful additions to your decor.  These cozy details will keep your customers coming back, even after the stockings and trees have been packed away!


Invite lounging guests to kick their feet up and relax with a bold patterened ottoman.  It’s a simple and afforadable way to add seating, color, and interest to your space. 

Cloud Nine Throw

It’s that time of year when a cozy throw and a hot cup of tea can make even the coldest day feel cheery and warm.  Pamper yourself and your guests to a fluffy, warm throw to snuggle up with.


 Add soft touches of color and texture with pillows.  A mixture of patterns, solids  and  stripes give a luxurious and balanced look.

Holiday Inspiration:

Get inspired with these beautiful spa spaces…

The lounge room of the Dolder Grand Spa in Zurich


Soaking up the serenity ::  Soaking tubs face a stone wall with cutouts gazing into the frosted forest outside.


The Dolder Grand’s modern indoor pool.


:: Recipes ::

Warm up with Mulled Apple Cider

What you’ll need:

1 Gallon fresh cider
1 tsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp whole allspice
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 square of cheesecloth or a  coffee filter
large stock pot or crock pot

1. Pour one gallon of fresh cider into a large pot on the stove or into a crockpot or slow cooker.

2. Add a half cup of brown sugar.

3. Place 1 teaspoon of whole cloves, 1 teaspoon of whole allspice, and 3 cinnamon sticks on a square of cheesecloth or coffee filter and tie up. Add to the pot.

4. Heat the cider to a boil, stirring regularly. Leave the pot uncovered so that you and your family or guests can enjoy the warm, delicious aroma.

5. Once the cider boils, lower the setting to simmer for at least another 15 minutes to allow for thorough infusion of the spices. Stir occasionally.

6. Remove the spices from the pot and ladle hot mulled cider into mugs.  Sip, relax, and enjoy!



Color is one of the most powerful tools we can use to set the mood of our interiors.  It can affect our senses so gently that we hardly perceive it, or hit us so hard that it takes our breath away.  So much of what we comprehend is achieved through sight, and powerful memories can be made through the use of light and color.  The easiest way to transform your spa’s interior is to buy a can of paint or add a pop of color through accessories.  Below you can learn about how different hues affect our moods and senses.

I’ve also put together some great Benjamin Moore paint selections you can use to transform your space.  Enjoy!

Indigo & Sky

Mario Tricoci Spa Pedicure

Blue is well known as a color that soothes tension and relaxes the mind.  It brings to mind the airiness of a clear blue sky, or the expansive and deep oceans.  It can also suppress the appetite (To those of you on a diet: Eating from a blue plate can help you eat less!), and fuel artistic expression.   Blue can help slow people’s heart rate and increase concentration.  It can also make a room feel too cold, so be sure to accent this watery hue with warmer tones.  This color is also said to enhance communication, reduce anxiety, and help provide restful sleep.  It’s a good color to use in treatment rooms & pedicure areas to calm your guests and help them feels at ease.

Plums & Purples

Waka Di Ume Resort Meditation Room

Light purple tones and lavender are known to enhance spirituality and wisdom.  It’s also a very feminine color, and is known to reduce stress.  Deeper hues of purple are associated with royalty and creativity – it’s even been said to make people more arrogant!  Use deep purples as an accent in your spa’s relaxation areas to make your guests feel like royalty!  Lighter tones of lavender and lilac provide a serene atmosphere in meditation areas & the yoga studio.

Sage & Moss

The Herborist Spa

Green hues are said to be calming and soothing IF you choose the right shade.  Bright lime green, for example, can be cold an unwelcoming when it’s not used sparingly or in the right application.  Soft and warm green can create a calm and restful atmosphere – just imagine  a walk in a lush forest.  This color is also linked to harmony & balance.  Use throughout your spa’s interior to add a peaceful feeling.  Using natural materials like moss in your retail displays will draw your customers eye & add a pop of natural green without being overwhelming

Sunshine & Chartreuse

Markus Oliver Spa Reception

Only the boldest of the bold can handle a bright yellow room!  This color is linked with happiness, energy, and warmth, but too much can cause irritability and has been said to worsen some medical conditions  (Check out the book “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman for a story about too much yellow).  In small doses this color can add that little touch of sunshine that we all need every once in awhile.  Use within a pattern or in thoughtful accents to lift  spirits and energize a room.  Some well placed yellow accents in retail area signage will really  grab your customer’s attention.

Petals & Perfume

Fuschia Spa & Hotel Bel Ami Cafe'

Oh pink, you’re so girly!  I have to admit that pink is one of my favorite colors – it comes in so many hues and variations from peachy to bold and fearless fuchsia!   It also adds its own unique warmth and comfort to a room.  While pink is mainly associated with all things feminine it also offers stability, reassurance (think: Mom), and romance.  It also curtails aggression and provides a cozy sense of calm.

Fire & Spice

Gary Charles Salon and Spa

Bold and boastful red can easily overwhelm a room.  This color has been know to increase the heart beat, increase energy, and therefore cause aggression.  It also helps increase your circulation, willpower, and even your libido.  Adding some red in the right place can add energy and warmth to your room.   It also encourages people to eat more and socialize, perfect for a bustling spa cafe or as an accent in your spa’s party room.

Citrus & Nectar

Neroli Day Spa Makeup Bar

Orange tones are often associated with joy and optimism, and can help to combat depression.   Beware of using to much of this sunny hue, though – an overdose of orange is said to cause pessimism and drowsiness.  This tone is linked to warmth, stability, and reassurance.  Some say it even aids in digestion.  Use it in areas where you’d like people to buy and go – your storefront spa cafe, spa makeup area, or in accents in your retail checkout area.

Cotton & Clouds

Hotel Bel Ami Treatment Room

White embodies ideas of purity, cleanliness, and serenity.  White rooms layered with lots of texture can be some of the most comforting and calming spaces.  It provides a great, clean backdrop for displaying merchandise with bright colors, and give a pure sense of cleanliness to your spa rooms.  If your lighting is too bright or your space doesn’t have texture, white rooms can easily become too sterile and bright if proper lighting and layering isn’t introduces.  Make it work for you by adding hints of your favorite colors throughout and utilizing architectural details in your interior.

Cashmere & Chocolate

The Peninsula Spa Manhattan Tea Lounge

Neutrals & browns ground your space and provide stability & security, much like the strong and mighty oak.  Introduce brown tones to your relaxation areas through the use of natural wood, warm toned fabrics, and grassy textures.  Brown is also a great color to balance green, blue, and lavender hues and bring these dreamy tones back down to earth.

Charcoal & Twilight

Panpuri Spa Treatment Room

Sophisticated, sultry, and moody!  Black is best used as an accent color, and is another great shade to help you bring depth and drama to your space.  Use matte black shelves to make light, bright art pieces and retail stand out, or add a black table to your lounge to add depth.  Black can easily become dark and dreary and make a room feel closed in, but with the right layering of texture and color a black room can make a dramatic, memorable statement.

For more on spa design:  Click Here

Get the look of an ultra-modern European spa…  Architectural lighting, soft clean colors, and lots of texture are the signature staples of this look.

Check out our inspiration spas below :

Shui Urban Spa

Shui Urban Spa in Shanghai offers a clean white space with swirling sculptural panels.

Agua Spa

Agua Spa is super chic and glammed up!  Shimmery mirrored tiles and patterned panels add tons of texture to this South Beach hot spot.

Silver Rain Spa Lounge

The Silver Rain spa offers a cool color palette in tropical Grand Cayman.  Airy blues and creamy whites are combined with inviting textured rugs and curtains.

Dubai Vases

Display your organics and your good taste with funky modern vases.

Komaki Pouf

Add in texture with pouf pillows and ottomans.

Atom Chaise Lounge

The Atom lounger has clean lines and easy-to-care-for white leather upholstery.

Morning Mist Tile

Frosted glass mosaic tiles add a hint of color and misty texture.

Polar Glass Flooring

Infuse ethereal color into your space through your floor.  The Polar Glass flooring gives the look of water-blue glass tiles without the high installation cost.

It’s easy on the eyes and your feet!

Palm trees swaying in the breeze, waves crashing on the beach, the sun warm on your skin…. there’s nothing quite like a tropical vacation!   Why not recreate the feel of the island life and give your spa-goers a mini-vacation each time they visit?

Our Inspiration:

Angsana Spa of Cape Town, South Africa

Couple's Spa Room at Angsana Spa

Reception Area and Retail

Glow I, Glow II, & Glow III

Get the look with tropical-paradise-inspired artwork.  The Glow series is reminiscent of sunlight filtered through lush banana leaves.

Udon Guest Chair

The Udon woven wood guest chair has a beautiful Wenge wood finish.  It’s also a commercial grade furniture piece made to stand the test of time.

Display Tables

Show off your favorite spa products for your guests to bring home with stacking display tables.  Coconut sugar scrub anyone?

Waran Lounger

Bring the feeling of a luxury resort anywhere in the world with seating made of natural materials like rattan and deep-hued woods.  Make cleaning easy with removable, washable cotton seat covers.

Pietra Borgogna Porcelain Tile

Stone flooring is synonymous with tropical locales, so get the feeling of cool tile under your feet with durable porcelain.  You don’t have to worry about staining or cracking, and full color body porcelain makes accidental scratches and chips barely noticeable.

Antigua Treatment Table

Make your clients and therapists happy with this multifunction spa table.  It’s not just pretty to look at!  This table is a fully functional workhorse with super quiet hydraulic lifting,  space for a hot towel cabinet, built-in electrical, and an electric flex top.

Spa Linens

Carry your spa’s theme into your treatment room with soft spa linens.  Be creative with your spa tables – add a tray with a fresh flower and an artful arrangement of tea, a bamboo mat with rolled towels, or a beautiful fabric saddle in an accent fabric.  Anything to make your clients feel welcome and comforted!