Spa Traditions: Across the World to Our Wellness Center

Spa Traditions: Across the World to Our Wellness Center

Soaking in natural hot or cold springs to achieve health has been practiced by many civilizations as far back as prehistoric times. According to Greek mythology, certain tidal pools were blessed by the gods to cure the diseases of mere mortals.

The world’s most powerful rulers have benefitted from various spa treatments as well. Queen Cleopatra is believed to have slept in a gold mask to treat allergies, while Julius Caesar underwent daily massages to treat neuralgia, and Bladud—King of the Britons (and father to King Lear)—was healed of leprosy by rolling in mud with his pigs near the springs of Bath.

These spa therapies and countless more—including several practiced in The Marmara Park Avenue’s own Wellness Center—have roots in ancient practices from around the world. Here are some of our favorites.


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Indian Mind-body Wellness

Traditional Indian spa therapies are mainly based in Ayurvedic mind-body health principles.

Ayurveda is a “science of life,” according to Deepak Chopra. It is an ancient system of holistic wellness practices dedicated to keeping the body healthy while preventing disease from occurring or addressing the root cause of a disease. Ayurveda does this without interrupting the body’s natural mix of energies and intelligence. Two of our favorite Ayurvedic therapies are:

  • Shirodhara: As you lie on your back, a steady stream of warm, medicated oil is poured onto your forehead where there is a concentration of nerves. The gentle vibration of rhythmically-flowing oil gently massages the forehead and scalp, causing a relaxed, meditative state. This relaxing therapy also treats illnesses to the neck, head, and central nervous system.
  • Marma Chikitsa: Arguably the most restorative treatment in Ayurveda, gentle pressure is applied to 107 marma points (also known as acupressure points). This procedure releases trapped energy (prana) within the body to rejuvenate organs, tissues and other systems.

Japanese Hot Springs

Hot springs or “onsen” are one of Japan’s most restorative natural resources.

Located throughout the countryside, these geothermal mineral springs have been a part of Japanese culture for millennia. Everyone from ancient Samurais to royalty, to monks and common folk have soaked in these pools to energize their metabolism, recover from wounds, improve the skin, restore spirituality, cure illness, and relieve pain.

Located in many picturesque spots around Japan, these meditative spots offer a quiet respite from the stress of urban life and are also used by health facilities to treat conditions such as hypertension and rheumatism.

The Healing Hands of China

The Chinese culture has always treated wellness and health holistically. There is a belief of deep interconnectivity between systems/processes in the body as well as its environment. Health and well-being is restored through harmony and balance.

Acupuncture is one of China’s (and the world’s) oldest wellness treatments. Tiny needles placed on specific points along the body stimulate and release energy (chi), to relieve pain and illness.

Massage has been practiced in China as far back as the Shang Dynasty (16th-11th century BC). There are over 20 forms of Chinese massage, which are widely used for medicinal purposes, as well as relaxation, and keeping fit and beautiful.

The Marmara Park Avenue Wellness Center’s massage studio offers two varieties of Chinese massage techniques: Cupping—which uses cups that exert suction to improve circulation and boost immunity—and Hot Stone, which radiates deep therapeutic heat to ease muscle tension and relax the body.

Nordic Therapies

The Marmara Park Avenue Wellness Center also offers our guests Swedish massage.

This form of massage is extremely popular worldwide. Developed by a Swede known as Per Henrik Ling, Americans have been reaping its benefits since he introduced it to our country in the mid-1800s.

This full-body massage combines other forms of massage along with long strokes, stretches, tapping and kneading to increase blood flow, release muscle tension, improve flexibility, enhance relaxation, and rid the body of toxins.

The Nordic bathing culture has helped citizens deal with the rigors of living in severely cold climates for centuries.

Developed nearly 2,000 years ago in Finland, saunas helped warm and cleanse citizens while relaxing their muscles, boosting their immune systems, and elevating their moods during prolonged winter months.

Although the saunas have become more luxurious and techniques for creating steam more advanced, the basic nurturing effects on skin, muscles and spirit remain the same.

Getting Steamy in Turkey

As Turkic people from Central Asia relocated to what is now known as Turkey, their steam bath rituals mixed with that of Roman culture, and the Turkish Hammam emerged.

Turkish Hammam houses were social and political hotbeds, where people of all societal classes gathered to socialize, do business, and, of course, cleanse and restore their bodies.

Turkish hammams—like the one at The Marmara Park Avenue—often reside under a domed ceiling. The ritual begins in a steaming chamber where impurities are sweated out and rinsed off.

Then, lying on a flat, heated stone in the center of the room (the center stone), you are cleansed and massaged with a cascading stream of aerated, scented bubbles.

After being rinsed in cool water, your body enjoys both invigorated circulation and immune systems, total relaxation, and a total restoration of the mind, body, and spirit.

The Marmara Park Avenue Wellness Center

Our wellness center has borrowed the best spa treatments and traditions from around the world:

    • Turkish Hammam: Relax and experience a truly unique spa treatment in our authentic Turkish Hammam

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  • Subterranean Pool: Another rarity in New York City—a serene and spacious subterranean lap pool open 365 days a year
  • Massage Studio: Our professional massage therapists are skilled in many disciplines of massage therapy. They will customize your session to address your specific needs.
  • Fitness Center: Our state-of-the-art facility offers Precor cardio & strength equipment, accessories, and even personal instructors (upon request)

Experience the best spa experience the world (and New York City) has to offer without leaving our doors!

Learn and see more about The Marmara Park Avenue’s Turkish Hammam.