Water has lengthy been linked to the paranormal, the mysterious and the divine.
From sacred springs to holy wells, and from hydropathic treatments and temperance reform to the trendy spa, Ian Bradley explores how water's artistic, health-giving and restorative powers were conceived, worshipped and advertised in an primarily religious means.
In pre-Christian occasions, springs and rivers have been visible because the residing locations of deities with magical life-giving and healing powers, linked particularly with the female and with ritual detoxification and rebirth. With the arrival of Christianity, water was once included into Christian ritual and culture via baptism and the cult of holy wells. From the sixteenth century onwards, some great benefits of water got here to be obvious extra when it comes to healing therapeutic than the amazing. in the course of the improvement of ingesting and bathing remedies, spas and hydrotherapy, a extra medical yet nonetheless primarily non secular figuring out of the healing homes of water used to be built. through the eighteenth century, spas and watering areas had obtained their very own enchanted and mysterious characteristics, in lots of methods taking where of medieval pilgrim shrines. Now, a brand new, extra hedonistic form of pilgrim involves smooth spas to event a effective post-modern elixir of self-oriented well-being.