(iStock photo)
(iStock photo)

Unwind with sea-derived scrubs, masks and soaks

Soak yourself in seawater pools, slathering marine algae face masks and seaweed packs for the wellness of your skin. Called as thalassotherapy, they help healing skin conditions, soothe the muscles.
Hindustan Times | By Puneeta Mahadevia
PUBLISHED ON OCT 12, 2019 07:53 PM IST

For the Greeks, Thalassa is simply The Sea. And the Greeks,have been using sea-derived ingredients and techniques in wellness for centuries. But the 1800s, the French modernised some of those rituals into what we now call thalassotherapy. Drawing largely from sea minerals, soaks in seawater pools, sea-salt scrubs, seaweed packs, and mud masks it’s aimed to heal and restore. Perhaps that’s why mermaids always look so radiant.


Your doctor or physical therapist will recommend treatments based on your concerns but prepare to get wet, and smell the sea - even the fishy bits.

Algotherapy: This includes everything from consuming algae tablets to slathering on face masks and body wraps. The algae used can differ depending on the requirement. While red algae have hydrating properties, green algae can help reduce inflammation.

Hydrotherapy: Warm baths in seawater tubs allow your body to absorb minerals like potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium and zinc. It’s said to be restorative and relaxing.

Physiotherapy: You might be asked to do specific exercises in warm sea water, which is less stressful on joints and offers additional resistance to movements, giving you a better workout.


It’s great for your skin: Thalassotherapy often uses Dead Sea salt, which is packed with sodium, sulphur, calcium, iodine, bromide and potassium. It can help treat conditions like psoriasis and acne.

It’s good for hydration: Dermatologists might prescribe spirulina tablets, made from algae, for dry skin and hair. Other forms of thalassotherapy, like sea water soaks, also help replenish water in your skin.

Relief for joint problems: The warm sea water used in hydrotherapy can alleviate joint swelling. It also enhances muscle health, which can help with toning.

It’s like a spa: Many types of algae, like green algae, are said to have anti-aging properties, which keep fine lines at bay. Warm sea water baths, scrubs and seaweed packs can help you unwind.


Bring the sea home this weekend. “Spirulina powder is widely available,” says dermatologist Dr Akanksha Shah. “Add a few drops of water and use it as a mask. You’ll be amazed at how your skin looks after that.”

Also try a sea-salt foot soak after a long day on your feet. Add a handful of seasalt in a shallow tub of warm water, immerse both feet in, play a YouTube audio clip of ocean sounds and close eyes as you start to unwind.


· If you have a sensitive stomach, ingesting large amounts of algae may cause stomach irritation. “We usually don’t recommend it to people with a sensitive gut. We tell them to apply algae externally,” says Dr Shah. Algae is also animal-derived so vegetarians and vegans may want to avoid it.

· Dr Shah says that certain types of algae may not suit people with sensitive skin. Dermatologists usually do a patch test on the back of your to see if they can safely proceed with the treatment.

· The salts used in hydrotherapy should also be avoided by those who have iodine toxicity. If you suffer from any other condition, check on what kinds of salts are used in the treatment and steer clear of the ones that don’t agree with you.

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