The long history of hydrotherapy, and its therapeutic benefits for spa and self-care.
What Is Thalassotherapy?
Thalassa comes from the Greek word meaning sea. It involves the use of ocean elements including whole raw seaweeds, ocean water, ocean clay and ocean minerals on the body, allowing absorption of important vitamins and minerals in a chelated form, for the purpose of achieving mind, body balancing and healing.
In 1904, Dr. René Quinton published his work Sea Water, Organic Medium, where he demonstrated the chemical similarity between seawater and blood plasma as well as the makeup of mineral salts, proteins, and various other trace elements. In 1997, thalassotherapy was officially recognized as having curative properties and a board in France was created, forming the International Federation of Thalassotherapy. Ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans had also utilized the benefits of the ocean and its components for healing. Today thalassotherapy is practiced around the world but mainly in Europe, and France contains the highest number of spas and healing centres offering thalassotherapy treatments.
Thalassotherapy For Today’s Spa
Spa goers are seeking treatments which improve health, reduce stress, and offer wellbeing. Spa professionals should look for proven and innovative ways to support health and wellbeing by offering treatments that go beyond just topical care. There are many products on the market claiming to contain ocean elements such as seaweed, however it’s important to know the source of the seaweed and how it has been processed to ensure the product will provide the proper results and benefits. Look for products that contain pure sea salts and seaweeds that have not been over processed or dehydrated. Common thalassotherapy treatments can include: seaweed and ocean clay body wraps, seaweed and sea salt baths and foot soaks, and seaweed rich facials.
Exposure to stress and environmental toxins can create deficiencies of nutrients and minerals. This can lead to issues such as inflammation and chronic pain. Mineral imbalances can also show on the skin in the form of pre-mature aging, adult acne, pigmentation, psoriasis, eczema etc. These are signs that the body and skin are dehydrated and under nourished, and are missing the important components and building blocks for keeping skin healthy, strong, and vibrant. Ocean minerals from seawater, sea salts, and seaweed applied to the skin are absorbed directly in their ionic form and are ideal for replenishing essential minerals and assisting in detoxifying the body. As the skin immediately recognizes this bio-available form of nutrition, the absorption carries vitamins and minerals through the layers of skin, deep into the bloodstream. The infusion of vitamins and minerals such as iodine, magnesium, and calcium found in seaweeds and other ocean components help to support the body’s immune system. Brown seaweeds from the kelp family are richer in major mineral elements than their red or green alternatives.
Regular thalassotherapy treatments have been shown to help address symptoms relating to arthritis, visible signs of cellulite, muscle pain, inflammation, skin ailments, accumulated toxins, hormone imbalance, signs of age, cancer and post cancer through support of the immune system.
Seaweed And Skin Care
Depletion in collagen and elastin are most commonly seen as aging skin and wrinkles. Since kelp contains every essential amino acid the body requires, plus a multitude of others, it does well to convert these essential amino acids into proteins like collagen and elastin to help reduce the visible symptoms of aging.
Seaweed and intertidal ocean clay can also help to revitalize and firm the skin while re-establishing natural moisture levels. The benefits of seaweed for the skin include re-balancing, nourishing, hydrating, cell regenerating, detoxifying, purifying, oxygenating, and re-mineralizing. In my research and work with holistic ingredients including seaweed and other ocean elements, I have seen how thalassotherapy treatments have greatly helped to heal ailments, improve overall wellbeing and promote healthy skin. While there are so many great advancements in skin care and anti-aging technology, I truly believe if we look to ancient healing practices and what Mother Nature has provided we will find everything we need to support health and healing from the inside and out.
By Sherina Jamal & Co-Author Rod Mulholland