The Digital Journalist
Spa Journeys
January 2004

by Linda Troeller

With the proliferation of AIDS in Africa, conflicts in Bosnia, Chechnya, Israel/Palestine, Afghanistan, 911 terrorism and the Iraq war, our society's health is in crisis. Individually, and as a culture, we are using up what is left of our "reserve" energy. The philosopher Julia Krestiva says that we need to heal our inner wounds to be able to participate in society.

My father had his health destroyed by fighting in World War II. He had his heel bone shot off and shrapnel ripped through his head and legs. As a disabled veteran, he discovered poetry in order to release the pain of his experience and to inspire his afflicted spirit. To survive he moved us from the city with its noise and chaos to a house at the seashore.

Once a week he brought me to a lush green glen with a cedar pond and would ask me to help him take off the bandages wrapped around his foot. It was difficult for him to walk even after years of therapy in an Army hospital. He would soak his foot in the water; sit there in quiet meditation, and smile, seemingly transported from his distress and the memories it created.


Spa Journeys Book Launch
Thursday, February 5, 2003, 6-8pm
at powerHouseBooks
68 Charlton St, New York City

  • → mini spa treatments
  • → raffle of Mandarin Oriental Time Ritual
  • → Spa Goody Bags
  • → Exhibition
There I began to comprehend the soothing power of water and its impact on my mental state. My father had to drop out of conventional society in order to find a place where he could be in a healthful state. Though most people don't need the radical change that would have helped my father, we are at risk from stress, illnesses or accidents, and the depletion of nutrition from our soil and environment.

Centuries ago, horses were discovered resting by springs burying their wounds in mud. Soon people congregated at this "source." Roman soldiers returned from the battleground and then soaked in the thermae and sweated in the caldarium, to detoxify, relax and renew from the rigors of travel and endless killing. Today people turn to both ancient and exciting new combinations of treatments at springs and spas.

Saint Julian of Norwich fell ill at the age of 30 in 1733. As she recovered, she had a vision, and became known for the following quote, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Such sentiments reflect the state that such spas create for those partaking of their benefits and in doing so enhance the fundamental experience of life.

Health is not a destination; it is a process.

© Linda Troeller

Linda Troeller is a fine art and editorial photographer represented by Zuma Press, Photonica, and Monsoon Images whose books include The Erotic Lives of Women (Scalo 1998) and Healing Waters (Aperture, 1998), which won the Book Award for Excellence in 1999 from Pictures of the Year.