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  1. II INTERNATIONAL HEALTH TOURISM CONGRESS ANTALYA – TURKEY. FEBRUARY 27th – MARCH 2nd 2009THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF THALASSOTHERAPY IN HEALTH TOURISM ALL AROUND THE WORLD NOWADAYSJoão Viegas Fernandes * Filomena Maurício Viegas Fernandes ** *SPA/THALASSO Expert, Professor, University of the Algarve Faro, Portugal **Medical

  2. Health Tourism • Health tourism includes travelling to places and also facilities such as hospitals, thermae, thalasso wellness and fitness centers.The purpose of health tourism is medical care and health, beauty, relaxation, recovery and rehabilitation treatments. There are more than a hundred million health tourists around the world per year. • Thalassotherapy is included in health and wellness tourism. Wellness has to do with good health and quality of life. In a holistic approach to health, the treatments and therapies aim to restore the vital balance between body, mind and spirit, towards an equilibrium and health harmony. This harmony rebalances and restores the energy flow bringing about overall wellbeing. • Nowadays, human beings are aware of the healing wonders of mother nature, namely the sea. The time spent near the ocean enhances our ability to recover from injury, illness and stress.

  3. Thalassotherapy concept • The denomination thalassotherapy is a neologism created by the French Doctor Joseph de la Bonnardière in 1865, based in two Greek words – thalassa (sea) and therapea/therapeuin (therapy). • The therapeutic benefits of thalassotherapy stem from the similarity between seawater composition (92 different substances) and that of the human blood plasma. • The health concept thalassotherapy implies the performance, under medical supervision, of several treatments with natural ocean resources for therapeutic benefits, both preventive and curative: marine environment; natural, pure, clean, fresh seawater; algae; seaweed; sponge; anemone; shells; corals; sand; mud; salts scrubs and seafood. • A good Thalassotherapy Center is located on the sea coast. In order to comply with hygiene and sanitary safety, the seawater is drawn from a safe distance from a ashore.

  4. Thalassotherapy treatments • Thalassotherapy makes use of several equipments and treatments, such as: • Climatotherapy (therapeutic use of the environment- air, climate, atmosphere, temperature, humidity and light) • Pelotherapy/fangotherapy (peloids, fango or mud treatments) • Drinking seawater • Aquamedic pool/dynamic pool which use heated (body temperature) seawater therapeutic jets (underwater jet massage). • Whirlpool (tub of hot water with high pressure jets). • Watsu (healing massage treatment performed in a warm pool. Shiatsu under water) • Algotherapy • Aquaerobics • Affusion shower massage • Blitz shower (standing body massage with a high pressure shower jet)

  5. Body scrub (exfoliation body treatment). • Salt glow (exfoliation treatment with salt) • Flotation therapy (float on seawater at body temperature) • Hydrobath/Jacuzzi (bath tub with water jets that pummel all parts of the body) • Lymphatic drainage massage • Marine aerosol treatment/inhalation therapy (individual inhalation of ionic seawater) • Maniluve and pediluve • Sand bath • Vichy shower (hidromassage with microjets. May also include a two or four hand massage) • Other treatments: chromatherapy, crystal and gem therapy, light therapy, aromatherapy, two or four- handed massage, shiatsu, irodhara, hammam (turkey steam), stone massage therapy, marine SPA cuisine, hydrocromatherapy, halotherapy, musictherapy, seaweed body wrap.

  6. Thalasso Center requisites • The International Federation of Thalassotherapy– sea and health, has defined the fundamental requisites of a thalasso centre. The international Thalasso Centers accreditation and certification are based on the accomplishment of the following requisites: • 1. Location on the seashore to benefit from the maritime (climatotherapy) climate. The marine environment is rich in seawater aerosols full of healthy substances and negative ions. The negative ionization promotes the production of serotonin in human beings. Serotonin has relaxing and tranquillizing effects, helping to fight depression, stress and strains. • Thalassotherapy Centres are located on ecological preserved places of the coast, no more than 800 metres from the shore. • 2. Using pure, fresh/live seawater and marine derived substances (algae, seaweed, sand, mud, salts scrubs, shells, corals). The seawater used in the individual hydrotherapy treatments has to be pure fresh/live, without any treatment. To allow seawater mineral and trace elements osmosis with the human skin, the seawater should be heated according to body temperature.

  7. 3. Operating under medical supervision. The treatments are prescribed by the centre Doctors, according to each customer specific requirements. The Thalassotherapy treatment programmes take place over at least six consecutive days, with four or five treatments per day. • 4. High requirement standards concerning sanitary hygiene and purity of the seawater. To avoid surface and bottom pollution, the seawater must be drawn from within 10 m from the sea surface and 10 m from the sea bottom, at a safe distance from the coast. • 5. Continuous control of high standards of sanitary hygiene, treatment quality and equipment safety, with feedback about the satisfaction level of customers. • 6. Existence of specialized talassotherapy professionals as permanent staff members, in order to ensure high quality standards. • 7. Customer welcome, reception and information office.

  8. Therapeutic indication of thalassotherapy treatments • Human beings are currently faced with major setbacks such as anxiety, stress and depression. The fact that many are isolated from nature and other human beings serves to aggravate the referred illnesses. Thalassotherapy caters to human beings basic needs such as physical touch by offering a wide variety of hydrotherapies and massages. • Physical and psychological wellbeing, body’s immune system, detoxification, chronic fatigue, insomnia, stress syndrome, tension strains, scoliosis, sciatic, lumbalgia, brachialgia, contusions, fracture, dislocation, osteosynthesis, calcium metabolism, childhood illness, acne, eczema, psoriasis, skin exfoliation, cleasing, lymphatic congestion, cellulite, swelling, myogeloses, chronic joint rheumatism, muscular rheumatism, arthritis, fibrositis, myalgia, sprains, spastic paralyses, sinus attacks, breathing problems, bronchitis, asthma, laryngitis, hoarseness, headache, migraine, cervical muscle tension, heavy legs, subacute blood and circulation problems, digestive and intestinal problems.

  9. Contraindication of thalassotherapy treatments • Acute bacteriological or viral infection; high grade hypertension, thrombophlebitis, thrombosis, angina pectoris, acute cardiovascular problems, varicose veins, acute blood and circulation problems, venous disorders, hyperthyroidism, acute sinusitis, acute hepatic insufficiency, kidney malfunctioning, lymph edema, open skin ailments/skin lesions, malignant tumours, sun allergies/photosensitivity, recent fracture, acute rheumatic problems, tuberculosis.

  10. Thalasso Hotels/Centers localization • From our recent research we identified two hundred thirty four Thalasso Hotels and Centers around the world nowadays. Fifty five in France, fifty five in Spain, forty four in Tunisia, twenty eight in Italy, eight in Portugal, seven in Greece. There are also Thalasso Centers in Belgium (2), Brazil (5), Cuba (1), Cyprus (3) Finland (1), Germany (2), Indonesia (2), Israel (2), Jordan (2), Malta (2), Mexico (2), Monaco (1), Morocco (5), Philippines (1), Singapore (1),Tahiti (1), Thailand (1), Turkey (3), United Arab Emirates (1) and the United States of America (2).


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