The health benefits of sea water have long been known. Apart from the pleasure of swimming, a dip in the ocean has the power to relieve a multitude of ailments, from psoriasis, eczema and skin allergies, to reducing muscular tension, and boosting the immune system. If you can bring yourself to immerse your body in the slimy seaweed below, there are more advantages to be had still.
The ancient Greeks were the first to make a science of the ocean’s capacity to heal. Thalassotherapy – or water healing – might sound like a modern term, but was in fact coined by the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, over 2,000 years ago.
In his time and after, Greeks of note would soak for hours in sea water hot tubs and hot seaweed baths, and even receive facials and exfoliating body treatments using minerals from the ocean. It is pertinent to suppose that Athenian democracy, the great Aegean wars, and the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, were dreamed up under the influence of water healing.
I thus felt reassured in my masculinity as I entered Les Thermes Marins des Cascades, in La Résidence des Cascades Hotel, Hurghada, for a day of aquatic pampering. Spread out over two floors at the heart of the hotel, and with over 50 treatment cabins and a 750 m2 Aquatonic pool among its arsenal of facilities, Les Therme Marins is one of the largest Thalasso Centers in the world.
Massage, beauty and therapeutic treatments, using sea water, minerals and sea weed from the adjacent Red Sea, are offered at the center, utilizing the most advanced equipment modern science has to offer. Whether Hippocrates could have envisioned the level of sophistication used these days, to refine the practice he began in Greece so many years ago, or not, I am sure he would approve.
Bewildered by the vast array of treatments on offer, with names I did not understand (‘Lymphatic Drainage’, ‘Endermology sessions’, anyone?), I let the good ladies at the center decide what treatment I should undergo. After a quick once over, they prescribed for me a package of three treatments, consisting of a Soma Bay body scrub, a Seaweed Wrap, and an Under Affusion massage. These I would follow with a splash in the center’s Aquatonic pool.
Not entirely sure of what to expect, my masseuse, Simona from Romania, assured me that two hours later I would feel like a new man. My body still aching from an afternoon of golf the day before, it sounded promising. After dressing down to the underwear provided by the center – which for the purposes of the treatment, do not leave much to the imagination – I laid back on the treatment table, and left Simona to make me new again.
Your correspondent was first scrubbed head to toe in exfoliating mud, in order to remove dead skin (of which there was “quite a bit ), before being showered down in warm salt water. Feeling quite fresh, I wasn’t left to linger long. Soon after, I was receiving a massage with a warm, sludgy seaweed paste, and was then wrapped in a thermal blanket. Cocooned in sludge, I was left for 15 minutes, in which time, said Simona, my skin would absorb the seaweed’s detoxifying, circulation-improving properties.
Whatever it did, I certainly felt good afterward. And I was now in the ideal state to receive the under affusion massage. In this treatment, which involved a trip to another cabin, I had warm sea water sprinkled over my body, by a machine purpose-built for the task, while Simona massaged me with Red Sea mineral oil. Soft but penetrating, it felt like my muscles, bunched and tangled, were finally being ironed out. Weeks of stress, months even, disappeared in the space of a 45 minute session, and sure enough, I felt like a new man.
A catalogue of physical woes, greater than just tense muscles, are tended to at Les Thermes Marins. The center provides individual treatments for injuries, skin conditions, cellulite removal and more. The sea water Aquatonic pool, where I finished up, can cater to all three. Underwater jets blasting out along the sides of the pool’s various compartments, provide kneading massages for every conceivable muscle in the body. Many people come just to use this facility.
Considering how I felt after a single day’s treatment, I can but imagine the pleasure of a four, five, or six day package.
For those cynics (namely male friends) who may raise questions about the masculinity of such activities, I will say this: I have seen the way forward, and it consists of body scrubs, sea weed, and sea water massages.
For more information visit www.residencedescascades.comTel: +20 65 3542333