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The Wonders of Thalassotherapy

Thalasso is the Greek word for 'sea' so 'thalassotherapy' is the use of seawater, sea air and marine life & minerals therapeutically to aid a healthy body and lifestyle.................and it's wonderful!

Have you ever wondered why you feel so good when you go on a relaxing holiday by the beach? Or when you take a day trip to the seaside with friends? Without putting a toe into the water, your body is still benefiting from the sea air. Really?  Yes, really!

Sea air, as well as the water,  contains minerals and trace elements and a day at the beach is enough to boost mineral levels, giving a healthy glow and added energy....just by being there. To get the full benefits, then take a daily swim in energising, warm seawater.

Our bodies rely very heavily on these trace minerals, especially these days where mineral enriched soils are virtually non existent and so we are missing them in our food. Synthetic minerals just barely do the job effectively. Sea water contains all the trace minerals our bodies need. Magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium and iodide are just a few of the minerals found in seawater and these are then absorbed through the skin when we bathe in it or stroll close by.

Sadly, not everyone lives close enough to a warm body of seawater, so all that free therapy is not always an option, but do not despair, there are quite a number of centres around the globe that provide thalassotherapy, which are named, quite aptly, Thalassos and you can get the right therapy even if the sea is far too cold.


What is a Thalassotherapy Centre?

Thalassotherapy is an alternative to sea-bathing


The International Federation of Thalassotherapy was incorporated in 1986 and is an official group of facilities who all voluntarily adhere to their charter. All 'true' thalassotherapy centres have to guarantee a rigorous standard for quality and care. They must also respect the name 'Thalassotherapy' which is defined as "in a privileged marine facility", operate under medical supervision and have a 'preventative and curative' aim in mind by benefiting from a marine environment which includes marine climate, sea water, marine mud, algaes and other marine substances.

The standards to which all Thalassotherapy centres must adhere to include:

  • Are always situated in a seaside location, within 1000m of the sea. 
  • They use real sea water, not just a normal pool with a handful of dead sea minerals thrown in.  
  • The water is collected from the sea at a specific distance and depth. (700m and 9m)
  • Involves the use of substances from the sea such as algae, mud and sand.
  • Follow strict water quality controls


Thalassotherapy centres are all sea water fed, which comes straight from the sea in massive pipes. This water is then heated to a temperature of around 31 - 35 degrees.


A History of Thalassotherapy.

The Greeks and Egyptians were first to understand the healing values of warm seawater.  As early as 414 BC, the Greek poet Euripides wrote about the healing properties of the sea in the line "the sea cures humans' ailments". These days thalassotherapy stands as a fully recognised medical branch.

Do Spas offer Thalassotherapy?

If they are no more than 1000m away from the sea, then yes that spa might offer thalassotherapy. Most spas, however, only try to replicate the sea in their pools but this is simply not possible. The sea is a living thing, it breaths and gives life. It is very similar in composition to the water in our own bodies...the plasma... which is why it is of great benefit to us.  A salt water pool is good for us but it isn't 'thalassotherapy'.

Visiting a 'thalasso' in moat Spas is just an extension of their beauty treatments and this is not true to what thalassotherapy actually is. It can, however, still be of benefit to ones overall well-being.

One of the major negative effects of a spas 'thalasso' pools is they chlorinate their waters which is a real nuisance when striving for a healthy lifestyle. Thalassotherapy pools contain no chlorine and no other harmful chemicals.

Chlorine

Chlorine is a carcinogen

Chlorine, when all said and done, is a poisonous substance and a known carcinogen......yet we swim in it.  It is used because it kills bacteria, it oxidizes and it helps to control algaes. What could it be doing to our bodies?  It doesn't bear thinking about.


Top Tips for Swimming in Chlorinated Pools

~Be well hydrated prior to swimming. This prevents your skin from taking in too much chlorinated water.

~ Make sure you wash off all traces of perfume, soap etc before entering the pool. Those signs asking you to shower before bathing are there for your wellbeing and not because you need to be cleaner before entering the water. Chlorine reacts with sweat, perfumes, soaps and creates a gas, which you then breath in. If the gas is coming from your own skin, it will do you more harm. So wash before getting into the pool

~ Try to swim in outdoor pools. Outdoor pools help to dissipate the gas caused by chlorine mixing with other chemicals. 

~ Shower thoroughly after swimming. Wash all that chlorine off your body as soon as possible.



Seaweed Baths

Seaweed is Amazing stuff

Not everyone afford a trip to a Thalasso so here are my tips for treating yourself to some real Beach Loving at home.

A long soak in a seaweed bath is a reasonable alternative to swimming in the sea, if you use the right ingredients. Its a wonderful experience and definitely worth treating yourself to.

I like to use a bath blended with two different seaweed:

  • bladder wrack kelp
  • knotted wrack kelp. 


Both these seaweeds are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, iodine, potassium and other trace minerals and vitamins that our bodies are lacking.

Seaweed baths are very therapeutic because of this very high mineral content and are a real boost to a healthy body and organs. The endocrine system in particular benefits greatly from seaweed infused baths as the iodine is natural and missing from most of our bodies these days.

You can use wet seaweed or dried seaweed. If you are close to the sea and can harvest your own seaweed, try to get it from the water rather than use the seaweed washed ashore. You'll need around 2 lbs per bath.  I cannot recommend the fresh highly enough as it gives a much nicer feel overall.

Dried seaweed comes in quite a few different forms and types. Different blends of seaweeds, with or without dead sea minerals, with or without a herbal oil...... I like the blend of seaweeds from a little company called............

When using dried seaweed, its always a good idea to fill a bag or stocking with the amount you want to use and add it to your warm bath. This keeps the seaweed in one place and you won't lose it all down the plughole.

The seaweed will release a soft gel/oil  once added to the water and will coat your skin. After 30-40 minutes, you will feel the oil dissolving into your skin and it very nicely tells you your bath is done and all those lovely minerals have been absorbed into your skin.