In Asia, spa has evolved into a concept focussing on the spiritual and natural, drawing from traditions of meditation, respect for nature and the desire to achieve physical and mental well being, the key to maintaining health and beauty.
In Thailand, the concept of spa blends with the ancient traditions of natural healing through herbal baths, massage, meditation, and the continued pursuit of inner and outer beauty. Before the arrival of modern medicine in Thailand, the temple was the the centre of learning for all disciplines, including medicine. Monks therefore played the role of doctor and pharmacist, prescribing herbal remedies, steam compresses, massages and other such treatments for the relief of various ailments.
One can still try ancient massage therapy in its original form at certain temples such as Wat Po in Bangkok, where treatments are offered daily for a small fee. Most major hotels also offer traditional Thai massage as part of their health and fitness services, as do natural healing and spa centres where herbal steam bath and sauna treatments are derived from holistic therapies practiced for centuries.