The last resort : spa therapy and the docile body in Victorian St. Catharines /
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By relying on existing cultural models, the Victorian spa promoted health and wellness. Advertising, together with other forms of promotion, strengthened the legitimacy of its claims to cure a variety of health problems. By the use of some links to science and a mystical folk belief about the efficacy of the local mineral waters, three spas emerged in St.Catharines: the Stephenson House, the WeIland House, and the Springbank. As the twentieth century approached, the spa movement declined and institutionalized medicine struggled to establish a monopoly on health care. This thesis argues that the health spas in St. Catharines occupied that transitional space in nineteenth century medicine between home remedy and hospital. The interplay between scientific discovery and business enterprise produced a climate in which the Victorian health resort flourished. This phenomenon, combined with the various maladies brought on by industrialization, nineteenth-century lifestyle, and the absence of medical options, created a surge in the popularity of health spas and mineral spring therapies. By the tum of the twentieth century, interest in mineral water treatments had declined. The health resorts that had blossomed between 1850 and 1899 began to experience a serious decrease in business. This popular movement became outmoded in the face of emerging medical and scientific knowledge. In St. Catharines, the last resort to remain standing, the WeIland House, finished out the city's spa era as a hospital.