Germany has a long history of spas and wellness. Romans discovered and appreciated the hot mineral springs at Baden-Baden, and beginning with 19th century, German spa resort towns became the centers of European bathing industry.

Today almost every German town has at least one Thermen - a public baths and swimming pool complex. The outcome -nearly 900 spa resorts, including mineral and mud spas, climatic health resorts (known for fresh air), sea-side resorts, and hydrotherapy spa resorts. These places are without a doubt the most advanced and sophisticated wellness business in the world.

There are a few essential differences between American and German spas. German spas have a more relaxed attitude towards nudity at the spa. The therapists don't worry so much about elaborate draping techniques, and the saunas and steam baths are co-ed and nude. Usually there are many different saunas and steam baths with a range of temperatures and humidity, hot and cold plunge pools, scents and special lighting. Some are very elaborate - think igloo rooms, open fires you can warm your feet by, chamomile-scented steam rooms and a real live person to whip the air in the Finnish sauna - just to make it hotter. A good restaurant is a necessary feature of these complexes and an important part of the bathing tradition.

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