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Thalassotherapy

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Thalassotherapy is a word that comes from Thalasso, the Greek word for sea; and therapia, or treatment. The Greeks, from the most ancient of times, have always been a seafaring people; they have always placed great faith in the healing powers of the sea, and the marine environment.

Plato said, "The Sea cures all ailments of man." Euripides said, "The Sea washes away all men's illnesses." Plato, Hippocrates and Aristotle recommended hot seawater baths. Cato the Elder served his slaves a mixture of wine and seawater to restore their energy.

Everyone can experience the health benefits of a trip to the beach and a swim in the ocean. The ocean air is filled with healing, refreshing negative ions. Science today even tells us that all life evolved out of the ocean, so the desire to take a healing, refreshing dip in the ocean can be seen as the desire to return to our source.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the French biologist Rene Quinton did the first full chemical analysis of seawater. What he found was that it contained all the 104-odd minerals and trace elements present in human serum, or plasma. So close is the similarity between seawater and human plasma that experiments have shown that human white blood cells can live and function for up to five weeks in seawater. This has led many balneologists (The science of baths or bathing, especially the study of the therapeutic use of mineral baths) to conclude that seawater is the most complete of all mineral waters.

The writings and discoveries of Rene Quinton formed the foundation for the modern science of Thalassotherapy. From his findings, French physicians started formulating treatment plans and therapeutic protocols in Thalassotherapy and started constructing seaside balneotherapy resorts where seawater was pumped in to large thermal treatment pools.

Some of the health problems treated by Thalassotherapy include eczema and psoriasis, joint problems, arthritis, poor circulation, immobility and post-operative conditions, which are treated with seawater baths and sea algae packs. Thalassotherapy is also very beneficial against the ravages of stress, fatigue and aging, and also other minor or banal health complaints we all suffer from, like depression, overweight and joint and back pain, which can slowly sap our vitality and immunity.

The French government's healthcare program is so impressed by the results of Thalassotherapy that they will partially reimburse patients for a treatment regimen if prescribed by a doctor. The French health ministry has statistics proving that those who undergo Thalassotherapy treatment become healthier, and therefore consume less in terms of healthcare services over the 6 months following their treatment.

The secret to seawater's effectiveness lies in its trace minerals, which act as catalysts to activate the cellular enzymes. Without these vital trace minerals, cellular activity gets sluggish; this adversely impacts all major bodily functions. The nutrients from food ingested by a de-mineralized body can't be properly absorbed, digested and metabolized. The devitalized, hypo functioning cells also can't properly expel wastes and toxins. Cellular sluggishness can produce a whole plethora of symptoms, including fatigue, insomnia, edema, a slow metabolism, poor circulation, and poor immunity, all of which lead to more serious health problems and diseases. All of these conditions are remedied by the healing effects of seawater and Thalassotherapy.

Some of the standard procedures in Thalassotherapy's treatment arsenal include algae poultices, algae hand and foot baths, hot seawater baths, underwater massage and jet showers. Supplemental treatment modalities offered at Thalassotherapy spas include cryotherapy, aromatherapy, lymphatic drainage, electrotherapy, osteopathy and reflexology.

Another common treatment modality of Thalassotherapy is the application of various marine muds. These muds, which can also be found at the bottom of fresh water

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