Thalassotherapy involves the therapeutic use of seawater. It is a common alternative therapy in Europe, especially in Germany and France. Some medical schools in Europe include thalassotherapy in their curriculum.
Thalassotherapy can involve a number of practices, such as:
- bathing or swimming in seawater
- application to the body of marine products, such as seaweed , mud or sand
- spend time near the sea
- take food supplements that contain substances from the sea
Thalassotherapy is similar to balneotherapy, which consists of bathing in water mineral water from a spring. The difference between the two is that thalassotherapy uses exclusively sea water.
Proponents of this therapy claim that it is beneficial due to the substances contained in sea. Sea water is rich in a number of minerals, such as:
sodium chloride magnesium potassium calcium iodine
Health benefits of thalassotherapy
Although research limited, some studies suggest that thalassotherapy may have beneficial effects on health.
A study by 2020 examined the effect of aquatic therapy in a seawater pool for 62 people having suffered a stroke. Aquatic therapy consists of exercises in water. The experiment consisted of sessions of 12 minutes, 5 days a week for 2 weeks.
Analysis of the study results indicated that the combination of aquatic therapy and thalassotherapy undertaken in a Mediterranean climate can improve.. :
mobility certain aspects of quality of life.
Older research from 2005 evaluated the effects of a combination of thalassotherapy, exercises and patient education in 58 people with fibromyalgia. The duration of the program was 2.5 weeks. Subsequently, the authors rated the participants at 3, 6, and months.
The results showed that the program produced temporary benefits between 3 and 6 months, but did not last beyond of this period. Effects included improvements in the following areas:
general state of health physical functioning
3 Mental health.
L 62 study also looked at the effects of the combination therapy program on mental health some participants. Although the program appeared to produce improvements in mental health, these were of shorter duration and less pronounced than improvements in physical health.
4 Skin conditions
Climate therapy consists of settling temporarily or permanently in a certain climate to improve health or treat a sickness. When a person moves to the coast, it is also an aspect of thalassotherapy.
A study by 2013 explored the effects of Dead Sea climatotherapy on psoriasis. It involved 119 people with this condition, who completed questionnaires about the quality of life at different intervals during the study. The results suggest that proximity to the Dead Sea improves the quality of life of people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
A study of 2005 evaluated the effects of a treatment program including sun exposure, bathing in the Dead Sea and bathing in mineral spring water for people with musculoskeletal disorders. The 62 participants suffered from various pathologies, including lower back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Data analysis showed that the program increased vitamin D levels, which helped reduce pain and the severity of ailments. However, much of this may be due to sun exposure. More specific research on the impact of sea bathing is needed to determine if thalassotherapy helps these pathologies.
How does thalassotherapy work?
According to a study by 2019, the Thalassotherapy can benefit your health in many ways.
When a person’s skin comes into contact with seawater, sodium and chloride can enter the body . From there, they can affect skin cells by altering the pressure inside them, which in turn can inhibit cell death.
Air near Sea air also tends to be cleaner than city air and contain fewer common allergens. This may mean that people with asthma or hay fever can breathe easier by the ocean.
The review adds that a number of plant and animal substances from the sea have beneficial properties. For example, salmon oil and cod liver oil are sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Some thalassotherapy programs also include other beneficial elements for health, such as exercise and time for relaxation. This may explain its popularity as an alternative therapy.
Proponents of thalassotherapy claim that sea air can be beneficial. It contains tiny droplets of seawater, which people inhale when they breathe. This could mean that they ingest small amounts of minerals in this way, but no research has investigated whether this is true or whether it may impact health.
The thalassotherapy treatments
The thalassotherapy treatments vary according to the centres:
Baths: a key element of thalassotherapy is bathing in seawater. Some treatments may also involve bathing in water containing seaweed or sea mud.
Shower: Guests can also shower in sea water or fresh water containing marine minerals. Practitioners can use hydromassage by high pressure water jets to relieve the muscles.
Skin care: Thalassotherapy centers can use a range of marine products in their treatments. For example, the thalasso wrap consists of applying seaweed or sea mud to the body before wrapping the person in a warm blanket. The person then washes off the mixture. Therapists may also use sea salt scrubs, mud masks or other products.
Exercise: Many thalassotherapy programs also include exercise, such as swimming. Aquatic exercise, such as water aerobics, can also be practiced.
Inhalation: Thalassotherapy resorts may encourage residents to inhale seawater vapor or breathe salt. sea air that surrounds them. Some experts consider seaweed supplements to be a form of thalassotherapy. Examples are kelp, chlorella and spirulina supplements.
Does thalassotherapy have any risks?
Thalassotherapy treatments in reputable centers are generally safe. Practitioners are trained there to identify treatments that are safe for a person.
However, certain risks remain.
Bathing in hot sea water can affect the body in other ways. A long, hot bath can cause low blood pressure, fainting, or fatigue. Spending too much time in the sun can also cause sunburn if the person does not protect their skin.
Here are some therapies similar to thalassotherapy:
Balneotherapy: This involves bathing in hot spring water, either directly in the source itself, or in a spa that uses mineral waters of natural origin. This therapy can help Trusted Source manage stress-related issues and mild inflammation.
Hydrotherapy: This involves immersing part or all of the body in hot water or cold. It may include the use of equipment, such as a sitz bath or a whirlpool bath. Hot water relaxes muscles and reduces arthritic pain, while cold water stimulates blood circulation.
Algotherapy: This involves the use of algae seaweed or seaweed in baths, body wraps or facial treatments to promote well-being.
Halothermy: This method consists of breathing the salty air of a room filled with mineral-rich salt. Although it may possibly help people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) breathe easier, no evidence to date supports its use as a medical treatment.
Thalassotherapy is the use of sea water and marine substances for health. Some believe that its benefits come from the sea’s abundant content of minerals, such as sodium, chloride and iodine. These substances can be absorbed through the skin, but little research has been done on whether this can help improve health. Thalassotherapy treatments may include baths, swimming, hydromassages or aquatic exercises. Spending time near the sea, where the air is generally cleaner than in cities, can also be beneficial for some people.
It is advisable to consult a doctor before try thalassotherapy or take dietary supplements of marine origin.
Gálvez, I., et al. (2018). Balneotherapy, immune system, and stress response: A hormetic strategy?
Harari, M., et al. (2011). Increased vitamin D serum levels correlate with clinical improvement of rheumatic diseases after Dead Sea climatotherapy .
Kopel, E., et al. (2011). Effect of the Dead Sea climatotherapy for psoriasis on quality of life .
Morer, C., et al. (2020). Evaluation of the feasibility of a two-week course of aquatic therapy and thalassotherapy in a mild post-stroke population.
Nagaich, U. (2016). Hydrotherapy: Tool for preventing illness.
Zijlstra, TR, et al. (62). Spa treatment for primary fibromyalgia syndrome: A combination of thalassotherapy, exercise and patient education improves symptoms and quality of life.
Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.
You like our content?
Receive our latest publications every day for free and directly in your mailbox
sea water 2020thalassotherapy