Seaweed bathing helps to reinvigorate tired and aching muscles, warms the body and relaxes the mind. Seaweed, one of nature’s sponges and hand-harvested from the unspoilt Atlantic coast brings from the sea an incomparable wealth of minerals, nutrients and trace elements.
The Science bit
The absorption of seaweed and seawater minerals works on the principle of osmosis, whereby the skin is capable of absorbing the nutrients through the skin cells. Some of the benefits include:
- Skin moisturiser - Essential Fatty Acids in seaweed help maintain the suppleness and elasticity of skin leaving the body feeling silky smooth
- Circulation boost – the hot water increases blood circulation and cell oxygenation. The increased flow of oxygen rich blood throughout the body brings improved nourishment to organs and tissues
- Detoxification - the increase in blood flow also helps dissolve and eliminate toxins from the body and may reduce the appearance of cellulite
- Salt water acts as an antibacterial to the skin
- (See below for benefits of eating dried seaweed)
How does seaweed bath therapy work?
The seaweed wrack is first steam-treated so that it releases minerals, trace elements, and essential oils. You then get to bathe and relax for an hour in the seaweed bath while your body absorbs the essential nutrients (we had the bonus of looking out over the majestic mountains of Leenane while listening to soft ambient music). Once the 60 minutes of bliss is up, one must bravely stand upright in the bath and pull the fresh water chord releasing 30 seconds of fresh cool spring water (from the mountain across the road) to close the pores and lock in the mighty nutrients.
If you are seeking an effective natural detoxifying process for the skin, this is definitely one of life’s simple pleasures. Next time you are in the West of Ireland or near the Atlantic Ocean, I recommend you take the plunge!
Don’t worry if you can’t get to a seaweed bath you can still reap many more benefits by eating sea vegetables:
Most sea vegetables come dried in sheets, flakes or powders from health food stores. You can add flakes to a salad, sprinkle pasta with powder or use instead of salt in cooking. Kelp is available in flakes and powder and requires no preparation. Kombu can be used as a soup base. The Hebridean company Seagreens is a good place to start for a variety of seaweed foods and supplements.
Benefits of eating seaweed:
- Rich source of iodine to support thyroid function as iodine is needed to make thyroid hormones
- Contains lignans and therapeutic levels of folic acid which support female reproductive health. Lignans are especially useful during the menopause as have a balancing effect on hormones
- Anti-inflammatory substances called fucans
- Have antithrombotic properties to inhibit blood clots
- Antiviral phytonutrients which supports the immune system
- Studies show sea vegetables may have the ability to inhibit tumour development and contain anti-carcenogenic properties
- Rich in magnesium to support healthy bones, heart and optimal muscle and nerve function
- B vitamins to support the body’s nervous system
- Also contain energy producing iron, calcium for strong bones and sleep promoting tryptophan
- Can be used as a natural food supplement in place of a multi mineral tablet. Check out the Seagreens range.