EWA Special Show "health"

The European Waterpark Association and Koelnmesse presented a special exhibition at the fair duo FSB/Aquanale

“Healing Waters”

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Actively looking after your health can also be fun – this thesis has been impressively illustrated in the special exhibition, which the European Waterpark Association e.V. presented together with the Koelnmesse GmbH at the fair duo FSB/Aquanale in October. For a long time now, prevention and rehabilitation have been not just topics of the traditional health spas, but also substantial reasons for going to fitness and recreational spas. The exhibition was inspired not least by the proposal of a prevention act, which aims to face the challenges of “the demographic change with its persistently low birth rate, rise in life expectancy and the associated ageing of the population, as well as the changing spectrum of diseases towards chronic-degenerative and physical illness”, with an “effective promotion of health and prevention” (according to the preamble of the bill).

According to a study by the Hamburger Stiftung für Zukunftsfragen (Foundation for Future Studies), “promoting one’s own health” ranks firmly in second place as a reason for leisure activities outside. 67% of the interviewees saw it as a motivation to go outside and to be active – which is more than the 59% who preferred to meet friends and acquaintances.

“Our waterparks and spas are ideal places to link both interests”, said the president of the European Waterpark Association Dr. Michael Quell, describing the increasing importance of waterparks and spas as “Third Places” (besides the home and the workplace), in which people spend ever more of their free time. Years ago, it was mostly the movement in water, which was the most common way to actively promote one’s health in a public bath, but today there is a whole bundle of activities and possibilities, which connect the aspects of recovery and relaxation with therapeutic and generally health-promoting offers in the waterparks and spas.

For a long time now, the use of water with healing minerals and active ingredients has not been bound only to the places in which water sources come out of the earth. Salt water baths and other baths that use active ingredients are now almost “standard offers” also in waterparks and spas. Along with balneotherapy, when it comes to saunas, a complex offer of other forms of therapy has developed which rounds off the range of services – from heat therapy to the classic massage and physiotherapy.

“Our spas already recognised this trend decades ago and have adjusted to the huge growing demand with appropriate offers”, said the EWA managing director Dr. Klaus Batz: “With the research for the special exhibition even we were surprised at the great variety of therapies and health-promoting offers such as courses, fitness studios and individual treatments that we have on offer in our spas”.

Presented in the special exhibition has been not only the different forms of balneo-, heat and physical therapy, but also particularly successful models of the combination of offers from the day-spa concept to healthcare and the wellness resort. The EWA managing director states that while the term wellness, in general usage, has become diffuse, in the waterparks and spas it is fastidiously linked with the topic of promoting health: “Our leisure-oriented spas extensively integrate the function of the traditional health spas”, said Dr. Batz, describing the development of the past ten years. He also points out that this is owed not least to the enormous rising demand for such offers, which already reflects the announced demographic change: “And the great thing is that it all takes place in a holiday-resort atmosphere and no longer in clinical facilities”. One thing that the special exhibition “Healing Waters” must clearly show the visitors of the two trade fairs is that the readiness of the population to spend time and money on its health (in the sense of rehabilitation and in particular prevention) has grown so much that the topic of health-oriented recreational offers has also become an important economic factor for public baths, whose significance will continue to grow in the future.