World Renowned Czech Spas
Czech spas are world renowned, well respected with a long-standing tradition and illustrious history. Especially throughout the 19th and early 20th Centuries, they were among the most sought-after in Europe. Their past clients include royalty Czar Peter the Great, King Edward VII of England, Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I, composers Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, and Wagner, writers Casanova, Goethe, Schiller, and Mark Twain and other great minds of the day, such as Sigmund Freud.
A brief look at the history of Czech spas: Their development at the end of the 18th century coincides with major strides in science, technology and social communication. Large spa houses were being built along with colonnades and decorative structures above and around the springs. The spa towns began to adopt a systematic approach to their architectural planning and strive for a unified appearance. Much attention was devoted to the mineral springs themselves, with geological probes and chemical analyses of the waters' contents performed; this was a very dynamic era. Tough competition became the hallmark of the spa industry, while the local spa entrepreneurs thrived. Czech spas were frequented by a highly sophisticated clientele. To this day, the spa towns of Karlovy Vary and Teplice pride themselves on the visits by Czar Peter the Great, King Edward VII of England, or Albrecht of Wallenstein, a famous general and politician. Frequent spa guests were also such giants of European culture as Goethe, Schiller, Chopin, Beethoven, and Wagner. And, lest we should forget, a large number of visitors consisted of prominent aristocrats, industrialists, businessmen and bankers...
The 18th century was the period of birth and development of the spa industry; but it was the 19th century in which the spas truly flourished. The spa complexes were expanded and modernized; a number of new treatment methods were introduced. Spa procedures became specialized, and the Czech spa industry gained renown for its medical efficiency. Spa stays were no longer considered just a form of treatment - they became a hallmark of social status. Spa towns have developed into centers of social and cultural life and magnets for tourism. After Prague, they were the second most visited destination in the country.
The nineties of the past century opened up new horizons to Czech spas. Lifestyle changes dictated the expansion of spa programs to include new forms of relaxation and regeneration, beauty stays and stress-reducing programs. These are all ideally complemented by a range of sports and fitness activities such as golf, cycling, hiking and walking, tennis, gym routines and other activities. Expanded spa programs are offered by no fewer than 40 spa towns in the Czech Republic.
The European Spa Concept
have been popular in Europe for centuries. They were usually
founded around natural mineral and thermal springs; the waters
were used both for drinking cures and for bathing and topical
applications. It was discovered early on that natural mineral
waters had beneficial health properties, and their use (as well
as the use of mineral mud, peat, mineral salts, and related
products) continues to this day, in medicine as well as cosmetics
and body care.
Unlike Asian spas, European spas developed to primarily serve those who come to improve their health. Recreation was, of course, part and parcel of the cure, but the main emphasis was placed upon addressing a specific medical condition, be it allergies, asthma and pulmonary complaints, rheumatism, all sorts of metabolic and gastrointestinal issues including obesity, joint and muscle complaints, as well as neuroses and psychosomatic disorders. A typical spa stay could extend over many weeks, and would involve a regimen of treatments, such as daily massages and baths, exercise, especially walking; most European spas are located in scenic natural spots, and specially designed walking paths made it easy and enjoyable for visitors to take their daily "constitutional", as well as a light, healthy diet. All of this was complemented by a variety of amusements such as scenic carriage rides, outdoor concerts on the promenade, gambling, and all kinds of soirées and balls. The lavish architecture of many Czech spas is an eloquent testament to the comfortable lifestyle enjoyed by their clientele.
The present day
Over the past few decades, many European spas including those featured here have begun offering also stays focusing on wellness and recreation. Nowadays, many people come to the spas not for a "cure" but to relax, increase their energy level, and get away from the grind of their daily life. A spa stay is also a great opportunity to start a healthier lifestyle, spend time with your own thoughts, or reconnect with your partner in a stress-free, beautiful and pleasant environment. A stay of no less than a week is recommended; however, weekend packages are also available in some of the spas.
What is involved?
A typical weeklong spa stay would include an entry examination by a spa physician, who will then recommend a regimen of daily treatments specifically tailored to your needs. This is not only to address any existing medical problems but also to make sure that the treatments taken don't present an unduly strain on your body - e.g., people with high blood pressure shouldn't take long hot baths, etc. You can skip this step if you opt for a hotel stay and take your treatments independently, but the range of treatment options available to you will be somewhat limited; this is, however, perfect if you want just a little pampering and don't wish to go through a full spa program. Full board or half board is typically part of the package, but you can opt to dine on your own if you prefer.
The treatments might include:
· Baths (effervescent bath, carbonated bath, sulphuric bath, Jacuzzi bath, steam bath, hot air bath, or aromatherapy bath)
· Massages (classic deep-tissue massage, reflexive massage, lymphatic massage, underwater massage)
· Pack and mud treatment (peat and mud packs, mud baths, peloid packs, paraffin packs)
· Inhalation treatment (oxygen, enriched steam, aromatherapy); as well as a range of other specialized treatments (electrotherapy, magneto therapy, injections, exercise - such as swimming, poolside gymnastics, or yoga)
Some treatments (or "procedures," as they are usually called) may seem unfamiliar, but be aware that all are founded on decades of research and experience, administered by highly skilled staff and supervised by specially trained physicians; absolutely none are dangerous.
Famous spas spots in the Czech Republic:
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