From north to south, whether on a long or short visit to Sweden, there is a large variety of high-class spas to choose from: from old spas with traditional saunas to peri-urban day spas with state-of-the-art gyms – some centrally located in cities, while others are havens for relaxation well worth a detour.

The Swedish spa culture has its roots in old health resorts. Since the late 1600s, people have gathered at these resorts to drink the healthy water, have therapeutic baths and to recover. The 1700s and 1800s were the resorts’ greatest years, only to decrease in number and almost disappear in the 1900s. At the beginning of the century, there were about 100 wells; today there are only a small number left.

In recent years, much emphasis has been given to improving and refining the old well locations, and today they can showcase some of the most modern spas. But other niches have also blossomed, and many Swedish spas currently have distinctive themes and all sorts of different settings. However, common to the mall is that a visit is about health and wellbeing, peace and quiet, and to replenish one’s energy stores. Even training, exercise and mental balance are given wide scope. Larger spas in Sweden are primarily active as resorts and/or hotel spas. Many offer magnificent natural splendour, while others are in sync with the city’s pulse.

What you will find at a Swedish spa

A spa can be a vast facility with spacious areas, but it can also consist of a smaller space with a few treatment rooms and a pool. At high-quality Swedish spas the four cornerstones of motion, rest, nutrition and physical contact are themain focus. Water is of course a central concept of the whole spa experience.

Nutritious meals, spa treatments performed by well-educated personnel, and soothing and energizing activities are also essential elements. Many spas are investing in beautiful and enjoyable environments, with elements of different kinds of saunas and swimming pools, and space for relaxation. Modern spa facilities of the highest quality can be found all over Sweden. The organization Swedish Spa Hotels includes quality certified Swedish spas, guaranteeing the high quality of its members.

Treatments at a Swedish spa

The classic Swedish massage has become famous worldwide and is a treatment option at almost every spa in Sweden. Its roots lie in the early 1800s with gymnastics teacher Per Henrik Ling. It is a form of massage that increases circulation and improves the balance between bone andmuscle, and that can be used for both relaxation and therapeutic purposes. The masseur uses five different techniques – long strokes (effleurage); kneading (petrissage); rapid, rhythmic taps (tapotement); friction and vibration.

By Föreningen Svenska Spa Hotel, published in SCAN Magazine issue 38 – March 2012 | Photos: Föreningen Svenska Spa Hotel

To find companies and organisations within the Scandinavian wellness industry, please visit our SEARCH – The Ultimate E-Resource for Scandinavian beauty and wellness. 

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