Thalassotherapy originates from the Greek word “thalasso,” meaning the sea, so thalassotherapy literally means sea treatments. In France and some other European countries, thalassotherapy is so revered that treatments are available in coastal resorts on their national health service or standard health insurance.
Seaweed is thought to have a natural affinity with the human body, because they are both composed of a similar mix of minerals, vitamins, trace elements, and water. This similar composition means that the minerals from the seaweed can easily pass through the skin into the bloodstream and out again, binding themselves to toxins and withdrawing the toxins from the body in the process.
A growing number of sea plants, including blue-green algae and the common kelp that is found on beaches, are available in tablet form and as seaweed drinks. They are high in nutrients, minerals, and proteins and help to boost energy levels.
Chlorella is a blue-green algae that is commonly available as a nutritional supplement. It is rich in iron and the whole spectrum of nutrients needed for human health. Just Moi (10 g) of chlorella contains the full recommended daily allowance of iron, and in a form that is much more easily absorbed than iron from meat or vegetable sources, and even other supplements.
MARINE AND ROCK SALTS
Sea salts are minerals that have been collected from the sea, cleaned, and dried. You can add them to your bath water or use them while showering to recreate the therapeutic qualities of natural sea water. The most common ingredients of mineral salts are bicarbonates, sulfates, nitrates, chlorides, and calcium. Usually taken from the Dead Sea in Israel, mineral salts help to ease stress and provide relief from health complaints such as arthritis and psoriasis. Rock salts are useful for relieving muscular aches and pains.
Seaweed is bursting with vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial elements, including large amounts of iodine. It can be used to ease aches and pains, detoxify the body, soothe the skin, boost the circulation and metabolism, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Seaweed is also a potent diuretic, so it can even cause temporary weight loss. If you live by the sea, you can collect your own seaweed, steam-clean it, then add it to your bath water to bring the sea into your own home. Alternatively, buy fresh or dried seaweed from health food stores and Japanese delicatessens. You can also buy seaweed by mail order.
Marine treatments help to stimulate circulation, soothe muscular aches and pains, reduce cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. When combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, seaweed’s detoxifying and circulation-boosting properties also make it ideal for toning the body. In addition, seaweed destroys bacteria, so it is excellent for the skin. It is particularly effective for spots, acne, blemishes, and dry-skin conditions.
WHICH TYPE OF SEAWEED?
Seaweed is the generic term for over 20,000 species of sea plants and algae (single-celled organisms) that live in the world’s oceans and seas. The table below shows the varieties most commonly used in thalassotherapy spa treatments.
|Bladderwrack||Brown algae from Atlantic Ocean and English Channel||Softens skin, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying|
|Laminaria digitate||Brown algae from Atlantic Ocean and English Channel, rich in iodine and mineral salts||Stimulates, metabolism, encourages efficient functioning of bodily systems, diuretic|
|Seaweed harvested from coast of Brittany in France, rich in iodine and Vitamin C||Detoxifying, diuretic|
|Kombu||Japanese sea plant rich in vitamins and mineral salts||Detoxifying, stimulates circulation, improves skin tone|
|Wakame||Japanese sea plant rich in mineral salts||Stimulates circulation, softens skin, improves skin tone|
How to Make a Soothing Seaweed Wrap
You can utilize the therapeutic power of sea minerals at home by making your own treatment wrap. Rather than buying fresh seaweed, it is easier to use dried seaweed powder. Drink several glasses of water after the treatment to prevent dehydration, because seaweed has a strong diuretic effect.
- 8oz (225g) concentrated, dried, micronized seaweed powder
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 drop rosemary essential oil
- 3tbsp (45ml) almond oil
Mix the dried seaweed powder with a little warm water to make a paste. Add the essential oils to the almond oil, then stir this mixture into the seaweed paste.
Take a warm shower and exfoliate your skin using a loofah or body scrubber to aid absorption of the seaweed minerals. Apply the seaweed paste over your whole body, starting from your feet. Ask someone to apply it to your back and other areas you cannot reach. Cover yourself in plastic wrap and lie in a warm place for 20-30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and rinse off the seaweed paste with a warm shower.
When mixed to the correct consistency, the seaweed wrap is very easy to apply. If you find that the mixture is too runny, just add a little more seaweed powder.