Greeks, Romans and Egyptians already spoke of the healing properties of the sea and advised the marine baths as a source of health. “The sea heals all the evils of man,” said Plato. In fact, the use of sea water for therapeutic purposes dates back more than 100 years, when the French René Quinton established the scientific bases of modern thalassotherapy that had been created in 1869 by the doctor of La Bonnardière. Nowadays, the so-called marine resorts keep intact the principles of this ancestral therapy. We take a tour of some of the Spanish thalassotherapy centers, while discovering its enormous benefits.
What is thalassotherapy?
Thalassotherapy (from the Greek Thalassa -mar- and Therapy-treatment) uses the therapeutic power of the sea and the marine environment (algae, mud, climate, sea water, sand, plankton …), all with astringent and fortifying effects . According to several studies, such as that led by Dr. José Miguel Sempere together with researchers from the University of Alicante and Quinton Laboratories, is more than proven that sea water activates the immune system and protects our body from viruses, bacteria, low defenses and pathogens.
Therefore, thalassotherapy is not only about taking baths with sea water, but, as we said, different elements of the marine environment such as sun, breeze, climate, air, mud, algae … also contribute to improve our health. Thus, we can choose the classic whirlpool baths, shower, jet … to massages with algae, mud wrappings, sprays, sprays, and so on.
In addition to the natural properties of sea water, thanks to its composition in mineral salts and trace elements almost identical to our blood plasma, we add the benefits that are obtained by keeping hot water at body temperature. In this way, thalassotherapy facilitates that the trace elements and minerals can penetrate more in the organism thanks to the vasodilation. According to the official thalassotherapy trade union in France (France Thalasso), which, although not regulated, offers a regulation with the requirements that a seaside resort must fulfill – this is the reason why a thalassotherapy cure does not replace a simple stay on the banks of the sea; since we should stay a few hours in the cold sea water to enjoy the effects of a 12-minute bath in hot water.
Other benefits of thalassotherapy
- Sea water contains many essential minerals for the body that we absorb through the skin like iodine, magnesium, selenium, zinc, silicon, sodium …
- Excellent for the skin: it contributes elasticity and favors the circulation. Also to combat skin problems such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis.
- Recommended by therapists to treat problems in joints, arthritis, and also asthma.
- Emotionally the sea helps us to feel good, relaxes us and brings tranquility, calm, harmony … This is because it favors the production of serotonin.
Where to enjoy thalassotherapy?
In Spain we find several health centers with facilities at the edge of the sea that take advantage of the benefits of sea water and offer hydrotherapy circuits with jets that stimulate lymphatic massage in different areas of the body: head, shoulders, back, abdomen, legs, buttocks … use of sludge, etcetera.
- Hotel Gloria Palace San Agustín, in Gran Canaria. One of the largest and best equipped thalassotherapy centers in Europe with about 7,000 square meters dedicated to relaxation. Pioneering health tourism center in Gran Canaria, its swimming pool Fitness, with different temperatures (33 – 37 degrees,) has 33 whirlpool facilities and treatments supervised by a medical team for the treatment of rheumatic conditions and problems arising from stress . Different types of massages are part of your treatment chart.
- Hotel Louxo La Toja, in Pontevedra. Located on the island of A Toxa, famed for its hot springs, its thalassotherapy center with direct access to the sea also has hydrotherapy treatments and medical supervision; as well as all kinds of treatments.
- Talaso Poniente, on the Cantabrian coast. Another of the largest thalassotherapy centers in Spain. It has several swimming pools -exterior and interior- and different circuits.
- Thalassotherapy Zelai, in Guipuzcua. It is located near the beach of Itzurun, which is attributed beneficial properties because of its high concentration in iodine.
- La Perla, in San Sebastian. One of the oldest seaside resorts that first opened its doors in 1912.
- Centro Vital Hotel Lodomar, in Murcia. On the shores of the Regional Park of the Salinas and Arenales of San Pedro de Pinatar, its water has a high concentration of iodine and mineral salts.