When you think about a trip to the spa, you probably think about a massage, a facial and maybe a trip to the sauna. But have you heard about thalassotherapy, or treatments that utilize seawater and its components? Read on for more about its potential benefits as well as where you can try it yourself (hint: some truly stunning places).
What Is Thalassotherapy?
Thalassotherapy refers to any treatment that involves the therapeutic use of seawater. This could mean bathing or swimming in seawater, using seawater, or using mud, sand or any other substances found in the sea on the skin. The term comes from the Greek word thalassa, or ocean, and thalassotherapy dates back to the 19th century, though people from various cultures have bathed in the sea for its health benefits for much, much longer than that.
What Are the Supposed Benefits of Thalassotherapy?
Proponents of thalassotherapy say that the minerals found in salt water, including sodium, chloride and iodine, can help you relax, cleanse your skin, ease aches and pains, boost your immune system and more. While there isn’t much research on the benefits of thalassotherapy, a few studies indicate it may help with some conditions. (But note that it’s not a substitute for medical treatment.)
For example, one 2020 study by Spanish researchers found that, for 62 people who had experienced a stroke, the combination of aquatic therapy and thalassotherapy in a Mediterranean climate could improve pain, balance, mobility and certain aspects of a person’s quality of life. A 2013 study of 119 people with psoriasis published in the Israel Medical Association Journal concluded that being near the Dead Sea enhanced the quality of life in individuals with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.