Healing Waters: A History of Victorian Spas


Modern spas are wellness resorts that offer beauty treatments, massages and complementary therapies. Victorian spas were sanitariums, providing “water cure” treatments supplemented by massage, vibration, electricity and radioactivity.   Rooted in the palliative health reforms of the early 19th century, spas of the Victorian Age grew out of the hydrotherapy institutions of the 1840s–an alternative to the horrors of bleeding and purging. The regimen focused on diet, rest, cessation of alcohol and foods that upset the stomach, stress reduction and plenty of water. The treatments, though sometimes of a dubious nature, formed the transition from the primitive methods of “heroic medicine” to the era of scientifically based practices.

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Review

“The author describes in detail many of the spa therapies…[This book] covers so much more than just the history of Victorian spas. It encompasses everything from the beginnings of different types of hydrotherapy around the world to the introduction of patent medicines and the decline of many alternative healing modalities…. easy to read…much to learn within…many gems of unique and fun information…an enjoyable read”–Watermark

From the Inside Flap

Modern spas are wellness resorts that offer beauty treatments, massages and complementary therapies. Victorian spas were sanitariums, providing “water cure” treatments supplemented by massage, vibration, electricity and radioactivity.

Rooted in the palliative health reforms of the early 19th century, spas of the Victorian Age grew out of the hydrotherapy institutions of the 1840s”€”an alternative to the horrors of bleeding and purging. The regimen focused on diet, rest, cessation of alcohol and foods that upset the stomach, stress reduction and plenty of water. The treatments, though sometimes of a dubious nature, formed the transition from the primitive methods of “heroic medicine” to the era of scientifically based practices.

About the Author

Jeremy Agnew, a biomedical electronics consultant, holds a PhD in engineering and has been involved in the design and manufacture of medical devices for more than 30 years. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has written several books on the Old West.

Modern spas are wellness resorts that offer beauty treatments, massages and complementary therapies. Victorian spas were sanitariums, providing “water cure” treatments supplemented by massage, vibration, electricity and radioactivity.   Rooted in the palliative health reforms of the early 19th century, spas of the Victorian Age grew out of the hydrotherapy institutions of the 1840s–an alternative to the horrors of bleeding and purging. The regimen focused on diet, rest, cessation of alcohol and foods that upset the stomach, stress reduction and plenty of water. The treatments, though sometimes of a dubious nature, formed the transition from the primitive methods of “heroic medicine” to the era of scientifically based practices.

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