Thalassotherapy, by definition, is the therapeutic use of seawater, marine algae and marine mud in various body treatments. It incorporates the use of warm seawater with its living organisms to reload the body with minerals and trace elements which are absorbed through the skin by the process of osmosis. But that isn’t quite as simple as it might appear. There is strict criteria in place.

1. Sea water used in Thalassotherapy must be drawn from a certain distance offshore and a certain depth to ensure its purity.

2. The sea water must be heated to around 96/98 degrees F (34-35 degrees C) to keep the micro organisms alive. It is the presence of these micro organisms that make sea water unique. Because of the chemical similarity between blood plasma and sea water, ions pass into the body through the skin. The fact that the density of sea water and of human cells is similar results in the treatment being far quicker and more profound than the same treatment using fresh water.

3. The water remains “alive” with micro organism for just 48 hours – a fact that makes transportation and reconstruction impossible. Consequently, since, treatments have to take place within that period of time, Thalassotherapy centres need to be located close promximity to the sea.

Credit: Thinkstock – Juan_Algar


The use of seawater and marine components for health and wellness dates back to Antiquity. In 480 B.C. Euripides wrote, “The sea heals man’s illnesses.” Hippocrates, the father of medicine, evokes the beneficial effects of seawater in his Treaty of Medicine. Until the Middle Ages, seawater was knowns and used for its therapeutic powers, then in the 18th century, seawater thermal baths and the practice of “taking the waters” became fashionable in England. During the nineteenth century, all along the French coast, thermal stations were offering seawater treatments. Three wars and the introduction of antibiotics and chemotherapy stopped the natural evolution of sea thermalism.

During the 20th century, scientific studies were able to prove sea water’s effective therapeutic qualities.


A significant number of therapies have been developed using seawater, marine algae and mud all of which are applied through different techniques. Treatments are taken to prevent and improve specific conditions especailly in the locomotive, cardiovascular and nervous systems as well as in the skin itself. Thalassotherapy also offers specific programs such as weight loss, anti-cellulite, anti-strees, leg fatique as well as holistic and cosmetic treatments.

Thalassotherapy is mainly recommended for the following:

Preventative health treatments
Physical and emotional exhaustion
Peripheral circulatory problems
Recovery from surgery or illness
Ear, nose, throat and dental conditions

Maxime Cormier has an extensive background in thallasotherapy including Thalgo LaBoule in France and the Thallasotherapy Spa at Paraiso de la Bonito in the Mayan Riviera. Maxime is Spa Director at Maroma in the Mayan Riviera.