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This revitalising and invigorating form of therapy is beneficial for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Read on to find out more about thalassotherapy.
1) Thalassotherapy,: what does it involve?
Combining marine and climatic elements, establishments offering thalassotherapy must meet specific criteria:
Thalassotherapy establishments are obliged to be located on the coast, usually no more than 800 metres (half a mile) away from the water at high tide. They must also be located away from industrial areas.
Not only does seawater contain minerals and trace elements, it also contains animal and plant plankton. When heated up, it transmits its beneficial properties to the body.
Algae are a real concentration of mineral elements (iodine, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, copper, etc.) as well as vitamins, amino acids, chlorophyll, etc.
Collected from non-polluted sites, the algae are dehydrated then presented in the form of a powder, with all their properties intact. Just before they are used, they are mixed with seawater and heated to 40°C before being applied to specific areas of the body, or wrapped around the whole body.
- Sea climate:
The sea is renowned for its purity which can be measured. Along with this purity, another phenomenon exists: at the surface of the sea, little bubbles of air, containing droplets, are blown by the wind and burst. These form natural aerosols that penetrate as far as the pulmonary alvioli and kill off bacteria.
Sea air is also filled with negative ions which have sedative and anti-stress effects.
2) What happens during thalassotherapy treatment?
A visit to a thalassotherapy centre usually involves the following:
- Consultation with a doctor:
At the start of your stay, this allows you to come up with a schedule and detect any health problems that might mean certain treatments are not suitable.
There are usually around 4 a day on average, taking place in half-day sessions, alternating between the morning and the afternoon. On the first day you will usually be handed a personal schedule indicating the times and exact locations of the treatments.
On the first day, you'll be given a bath robe and perhaps a bathing cap as well. Sandals are compulsory for going from one area to another. Treatments take place while you're naked, in swimwear or in disposable pants.
- Wellbeng facilities:
Swimming pool, hammam, jacuzzi, tea room, gym... these facilities are often offered for free to those having a treatment.
Riding on the success of spas, many thalassotherapy centres offer a range of massages, wellbeing, weight-loss and beauty rituals, etc.
Despite this trend, thalassotherapy revolves around some traditional treatments:
- Massage bath:
This takes place in an individual bath, in water heated to about 34°C and containing essential oils, algae or salts. Underwater jets massage your body to relax or tone, depending on the chosen treatment.
- Jet shower:
Standing in a cabin, a hydrotherapist sprays a jet of sea water onto your body, using different pressures and temperatures.
- Algae wrap:
Your body is coated in a seweed paste, wrapped in transparent plastic and then in a heated blanket to help the active ingredients penetrate your skin.
- Underwater shower:
In an individual bath or in a pool, you're massaged by a powerful jet of water that a hydrotherapist sprays onto different parts of your body. It's an alternative to the jet shower and isn't as harsh because it's under water.
- Vichy shower:
Lying down on a bed placed under a rail of jets of sea water that alternate and cross, you're showered from head to toe, on each side of your body.
4) A variety of treatments
At a time when the demand for wellbeing services has never been so high, thalassotherapy really has the wind in its sails. As a result, thalassotheapy centres continue to innovate, offering more specific packages than ever.
As well as the classic treatments (heavy legs, anti-stress, slimming, post-natal, back problems, etc.) there are also treatments for those who want to stop smoking, get rid of cellulite, start up sport again, improve sleep, fight the effects of the menopause, etc.
To meet the demand, many establishments also offer short stays, designed to get your health back on track over a few days.
5) Information and addresses
Health and Fitness Editor