Sea Benefits

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Research suggests that the sea and ocean are our new, big frontiers for natural medicine, in the 21st century. You name them — fish oils, seaweed, sea salt, among others.

They are curative medicines. They are natural. They are available in profusion. Most importantly, they provide a great degree of therapeutic safety — for our optimal health and well-being, without the dangerous side-effects of conventional drugs.

The best part — sea ‘home-treatment’ is relatively safe, so much so you will wonder why you have not tried some of its wholesome health and beauty benefits yet. Here goes:

Fish Oil

Fish oil helps speed up the skin rejuvenation process. A natural sunscreen; it helps against the signs of aging. It also helps the body in cellular repair; it keeps moisture in the skin — and, this gives your body a healthier feeling and look.

Fish oil nurtures your skin from the inside-out. Fish oils stimulate the metabolism of fat; they help eliminate toxins — this helps you achieve a slimmer, toned figure. It’s good for your heart, joints etc., too.

Seaweed

There is nothing better than seaweed for body wraps. To enhance your body appearance and look.

The seaweed body wrap brings on sweating and this helps rid the body of excess water weight. Call it a natural detox process to increase weight loss.

  • Seaweed is most useful in slimming process following pregnancy.
  • Seaweed stimulates and improves blood, lymph circulation and thyroid gland.
  • Seaweed waters the skin, while re-balancing and ‘firming’ up the largest organ in our body — skin.
  • Seaweed is also used as an exfoliating, deep cleansing agent.
  • It stimulates circulation, relieves fatigue, muscle stiffness, mild headaches and lymphatic congestion.
  • It rejuvenates your skin and jazzes up your mind, body and soul.
  • Eating seaweed and applying it to your skin will positively benefit your whole body by supporting vibrant health and emotional well-being.

No wonder, seaweed spa treatment is a much-sought-after beauty plan.

Thalassotherapy  

The concept of thalassotherapy comes from two Greek words thalassa [sea] and therapeia [healing].

It includes a variety of treatments — body wraps, hydro-massage, and scrubs that use seawater, seaweed and other ocean derivatives with each designed to tone, moisturise and revitalise the body and skin, and also improve circulation.

Components: Mud baths, underwater showers, hydro-massage, aromatherapy, and seaweed, mud and algae wraps.

Effects

  • Whole-body relaxation [like Ayurveda relaxation procedures]
  • Muscle tone enhancement
  • Cleanses your skin
  • Reduces fat
  • Boosts metabolism and immune system
  • Improves sleep
  • Useful [as adjuvant] in the treatment of high blood pressure [hypertension], asthma and bronchitis, depression and stress, arthritis and joints aches.

Forms Of Thalassotherapy

Ionisation is a therapy where seawater is ionised with negative ions and inhaled or sprayed. Useful in upper respiratory tract problems.

Hydromassage. Underwater massage with jets of water.

Vinothérapie is a pot-pourri of thermal spring water and inigo-elements with wine and grape extracts — this therapy helps to strengthen blood vessels and enhance circulation.

Balneotherapy. This is the use of seawater, or thermal spring water, to improve your circulation.

Note: Thalassotherapy is evidence-based form of treatment; it is, however, not scientifically proven by way of tangible, clinical studies yet. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy.

Sea Salt

  • Sea salt, a salt obtained by evaporating seawater, is used in cosmetics.
  • Salt water is an acerbic and hustles wound healing.
  • Floating in sea water releases tension and stress of the day.
  • Sea air too helps release tension and stress.

Sea Salt: Healing Effects

For sinusitis and common cold: sinus wash with salt water flushes out nasal secretions.

Mouth care. The tissues in the mouth can benefit significantly from sea salt therapeutics. This also helps in:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Painful throat, mouth sores, or cankers.

Sea salt baths and scrubs are great for the body, your overall health and well-being.

Dead Sea Salt

Dead Sea Salt is cleansing and detoxifying.  Bathing in Dead Sea salts several times a week will pull toxins out of the body, while cleansing the problem areas from the inside-out.  There are many different products containing Dead Sea Salts available at your local health food store/chemist.

Research has proven the efficiency of the Dead Sea salt in alleviating health problems, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Acne
  • Atopic Dermatitis [eczema]
  • Hair Loss [alopecia]
  • Aging and skin problems
  • Stress
  • Dry skin
  • Dandruff
  • Psoriasis
  • Wrinkling
  • Sleep disorders
  • Skin allergies.

What’s more, the beneficial effects of the Dead Sea minerals on the skin and their unique therapeutic and beautifying powers have been recognised since time immemorial.

Natural Hair Dye

Research suggests that seaweed could be successfully used in creating natural hair dyes. The idea is to extract the natural chemical compounds from the seaweed and use them to replace synthetic chemical dyes.

Endnote

A sea salt soak prepares your hands and nails for gentle exfoliation — to remove dry skin followed by nail and cuticle grooming,

The ancient practice of bathing in hot springs and mineral waters dates back to the time of the Babylonians and Greeks. Cleopatra, known for her great beauty, bathed in mineral-rich, salt-filled waters of the Dead Sea.

Brown Seaweed Extract is a useful adjuvant in diabetes, obesity, breast and prostate cancer, chemical surplus and more.

Chlorella and spirulina may be the best answer against global malnutrition. They may also be useful for treating and reversing certain diseases.

Fermented fish protein may be the best natural answer to migraines, neurological disorders and also IBS and Crohn’s disease.

ADDENDUM

More On Seaweed

Words: Ginger WEBB

To people whose cultures have evolved by the sea, where seaweed has been a dietary staple for hundreds, if not thousands of years, the benefits of sea plants are well-known. In the West, seaweed is best known as an exotic ingredient, especially in Japanese and macrobiotic cuisine. To coastal people everywhere, however, it’s a dietary staple, enjoyed in Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands and coastal regions of the United States. A treasure chest of good nutrition, seaweed absorbs nutritive elements directly from the ocean water in which it lives.

By eating seaweed, we tap into the ancestral source of all life, the ocean, and replenish our bodies from this vast reservoir with essential and sometimes hard-to-get nutrients. Most varieties of seaweed contain between 10 and 20 per cent protein and they are rich in fibre and vitamins, including A, C, E, B complex and minerals, viz., calcium, iodine, potassium, iron and trace minerals.

“People are like walking oceans. Our bodily fluids have the same composition as sea water,” says Dr Ara Der Marderosian, PhD, Professor of Pharmacognosy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. “Sea water has been shown to contain organic acids, sterols, carotenoids, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, peptides, amino acids, free enzymes and many other materials, including essential trace minerals.”

Ocean Of Promise

Among herbalists, seaweed is treasured for its ability to nourish and strengthen the body. Bladderwrack [Fucus spp], for instance, has been used in steam baths by Native Americans for rheumatism and illness. Dulse [Palmaria palmata] is used by people in Japan to treat colds. Because of its high iron content, seaweed is often given to anaemic people by herbalists, as well as to menstruating and lactating women whose iron requirements are high.

Adding seaweed, particularly wakame [Alaria spp] to the diet is believed to increase hair growth and lustre and improve skin tone.

In Japanese folk medicine, the seaweed Digenea simplex has been used traditionally to rid the body of intestinal worms. Today, kainic acid, derived from this seaweed, is sold commercially for this purpose. Laminaria spp, another seaweed native to the Japanese coasts and valued as a folk medicine, has been shown to be capable of lowering blood pressure.

Several studies on the usefulness of seaweed derivatives, other than Curacin-A, for protecting against cancer and heart disease are currently underway.

Despite scientific studies, most of our knowledge about the benefits of seaweed are still derived from folklore and the herbalist tradition. Western doctors may be catching on, lately.

A Manhattan plastic surgeon, Dr Michael Joseph Pober, MD, FACS, uses seaweed topically with post-surgical patients to restore skin texture and reduce swelling in surgical incisions.  — Ginger Webb is a US-based herbalist [This article was first published in Vegetarian Times. ©Ginger Webb]

PS: Speak to your holistic therapist as regards your healthcare needs, the precise mode of using sea products, as also dosages. Do not self-treat.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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