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America's Most Spiritual Spa 2010: Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary

Even a first award requires a history. And any history of spiritual spas leads inevitably to the ancient Greek city of Epidaurus and the Temple of Aesculapius. As you may remember, the temple was named for a physician from about 1200 BC who was immortalized as the God of Healing and is remembered now in the Hippocratic oath.Aesculapius had a healing ministry likened to the ministry of Jesus, with the emphasis on love and always putting the patient’s needs first. Yet even after the great doctor’s death, the healing reputation of his temple continued to grow — as if the place itself was healing. And so it was. The ritual journey to the temple began with a bath in the sea and a five-mile walk to the sanctuary. The entry structure was beautiful, designed to render the supplicant in a proper frame of mind before entering the dwelling place of the gods. Engraved above the entrance were the words: “Going into the fragrant temple, one must be pure; purity is thinking holy thoughts.”Looking back, much of the extraordinary healings recorded at the temple likely had to do with a power, which we often deride, calle …

About the Author

Stephen Kiesling

Stephen Kiesling is a former Olympic rower, co-creator of the Nike Cross Training System, and editor at large of Spirituality & Health. A 35th anniversary edition of The Shell Game: Reflections on Rowing and the Pursuit of Excellence has just been published.

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