The “Spa” toponym finds its origin in the town of Spa, principally in Liège, having developped as the European thermal center in the XVI century.

In the XX century, the “Spa” toponym becomes progressively and internationally a common name comprising different meanings. The term designates in a generic fashion, a thermal station, a body of mineral water, an eddy pool, a health center and even, an equestrian obstacle.

What is a spa?
We observe the general belief whereas SPA is an ancient roman acronym signifying “Sana Per Aquam” or “Sanitas Per Aquam” or even “Sanare Per Aquam”.

SANITAS PER AQUAM which can be translated by
“Health Through Water”

It is of paramount importance to understand that a spa is not a whirlpool, a jetted-bath, or a jacuzzi but an establishment.

SPA: Establishment contributing to people’s wellness in an environment conducive to relaxation, offering as the main activity one or more forms of water therapy and one or several types of professional treatments, at least including massage therapy, offered in two or more treatment rooms and comprising a relaxation area reserved for this purpose.*

* Definition from the BNQ SPA Standard SPA BNQ 9700-040 (published in September 2011, English version).



Here are the main categories of spas you’ll find in Quebec:
  Destination Spa
  Hotel or Resort Spa
  Day or Urban Spa
  Nordic Spa
However the following definitions are used throughout the world:
  Health Spa
  Cosmetic Medical Spa
  Wellness Medical Spa
  Hydrotherapy Spa
  Dental Spa
  Hair Spa
  Pregnancy or Maternity Spa
  Family Spa
  Sleep Spa
  Beauty Salon Spa
  Mineral Spring Spa
  Cruise ship Spa
  Airport Spa
  Casino Spa
  Home Spa
  Ayurvedic Spa
  Garden Spa
  Fitness spa /Club Spa
  Natural Mud Spa

Latest trend….wellness tourism

With the confirmed trend in the growth of well-being tourism and the demands of modern life; filled with challenges and stress at the health level, and our professional and personal lives, the number of people going to spas answers to a better balance in life.  A recent study demonstrates that the spa is no longer a luxury but is now part of an integrated lifestyle.

The trend shows that people are more and more conscious of the problems caused by stress, the ever demanding level of performance, poor eating habits and posture, that the balance between family and work and the time allocated for one’s self is more precarious.  The touristic industry for spa experiences has appeared to respond to this need but the types of services and products associated with the spa experience – especially the quality of service – is variable and often misses the mark.

In a few decades, the wellness industry has seen growth at all levels.  The concept of overall well-being has done much to contribute to the market.  Resources and services related to this last is now part of daily life.  To confirm this trend, during the 3rd annual Global Spa Summit, held in May 2009, an inquiry conducted showed that segment of health prevention presented the biggest future business opportunity (37%).

The most recent study was conducted by the CTC in 2006 and estimated 72,000 spas in the world, 2338 in Canada where the majority was in Ontario.  For that same year, the industry generated 1.2 billion dollars in revenue.

Quebec for its part represents a market in full growth while counting 390 establishments (16 % of the market) generating revenues of $219 million dollars, 21% of overall industry totals. However, we estimate there are approximately 200 spas in Quebec actually corresponding to the definition of a spa as stated in the spa standard published by the BNQ in December 2011.