© Anassa Hotel

Trend Watch Thalasso: The power of the sea

Immersed in the salty waters of the sea, with your skin covered in soothing algae or nourishing mud, experience the power of Thalasso, the spa movement that's becoming increasingly popular. We reveal what's behind the trend.

July 23, 2022

A dip into cold – or hot – water can be well worth it, and Thalasso therapy is the proof. The name itself comes from ancient Greek meaning "sea" – and that's just what the treatment method is about. Heal your body and your mind with the help of salty, soothing seawater.

On the one hand, seawater itself – whose high salt content soothes inflammations and heals wounds, among other properties – is essential. But the air by the coast plays a role as well: studies show that coastal residents suffer from infections less frequently – an observation made as early as 1750. Algae are another important, which are rich in highly concentrated protein, lots of vitamins, fiber and minerals. Their firming, rejuvenating and detoxifying effects on the body are well documented as well. 

The history of Thalasso

Thalasso: Die Macht des Meeres

Thalasso relies on the power of the sea – the method was already used in China around 6,000 BC to heal the body. © Andrzej Kryszpiniuk

Despite the root of the word, the Greeks were by no means the first to discover algae, salt water and the like. Bathing cures in the sea were already widespread in China around 3,000 BC. Over the centuries, numerous other peoples relied on the healing properties of water, including the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans. In short, the cult of bathing flourished until the outbreak of numerous epidemics in the 17th century put an end to the healing waves.

The rediscovery of water

It was in 1750 that the English physician Richard Russell wrote his extensive doctoral thesis on the health-promoting properties of seawater – and triggered a veritable boom in Western Europe. Numerous other discoveries, studies and treatment methods followed; seaside resorts and institutes were founded as a result of the hype. The term "thalassotherapy" was finally coined by the Arcachon doctor La Bonnadière in 1867.

Thalasso continues to make waves today – not only as a healing practice, but also to enhance the well-being of mind and body.

How does seawater therapy work?

Die Heiltherapie Thalasso mit Wasser

Thalasso has found its way into many hotel spas – like here at Forte Village Aquaforte Thalasso & Spa. © Forte Village

People bathe in seaweed or immerse themselves in healing salty seawater; hydro massages and sand baths are on the menu as well: Thalasso doesn't just work with the water of the rough sea, it uses all the elements that are found in and around it. From algae to mud and from sand to the salty air and the sun, it uses everything that nature has to offer.

Typical treatment methods include:

  • hydrotherapy: 
    • with ice, cold, tempered or warm water and steam
    • typical methods are Kneipp water treading, pressure jets, wraps, rubs, (motion) baths, steams, and "aquatic bodywork" such as Water-Shiatsu
  • pressurized massage
  • electrophysiotherapy
  • inhalations with aerosol
  • algae and mud packs
  • Vichy or jet shower
  • baths in tubs or basins
  • heliotherapy (sun therapy)

Effect: When to Use Thalasso?

Thalasso: der Trend mit dem Meereswasser

Diving under: thalassotherapy is used as both a healing procedure and a wellness trend. © Haley Phelps

In the wellness field, the treatment with the elements of the sea is mainly used for relaxation, revitalization and general well-being. As an actual healing procedure, it can alleviate the following diseases and ailments (when properly applied):

  • rheumatism
  • skin diseases: eczema, psoriasis
  • circulatory disorders, 
  • chronic constipation 
  • back problems
  • Crohn's disease
  • fibromyalgia
  • respiratory illnesses

thalasso spa anassa

Seaside hotels, like the Anassa Resort in Cyprus, use their access to salt water for their wellness offerings. © Anassa Hotel

Good to know:

Real thalassotherapy happens where the necessary elements can be obtained directly: by the sea, where all the elements – salt water, mud and algae, the soothing sea breeze and the sun – come together for a healing stay.

Related: From Thalasso to Mountain Streams - On the Healing Power of Water

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