Home Wellness Thalassotherapy: what it is and why it is good for you

Thalassotherapy: what it is and why it is good for you

Thalassotherapy is a medical practice widespread throughout the world, effective for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of many diseases. Let's find out which ones with the help of Dr. Fausto Bonsignori.

Thalassotherapy is an ancient and effective method of treatment that uses the combined action of all the resources of the marine environment: climate, seawater, sand, seaweed, and mud, which in this case is called silt.

In medicine, thalassotherapy is a chapter of thermalism, which it resembles in terms of the use of a mineral water for therapeutic purposes, general indications and contraindications, and also the use of the same hydrothermal techniques and application methodologies.

Hotel Rochevilaine - Ph: © Jérôme Mondière
Hotel Rochevilaine – Ph: © Jérôme Mondière


The beneficial virtues of the sea have been known since ancient times, but “modern” thalassotherapy developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Over time, centers offering thalassotherapy treatments, which some also refer to as marine spas , have multiplied especially on the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

At present, it can be said to be a widespread medical practice throughout the world.

Thalassotherapy techniques consist of the use of seawater(balneotherapy in single tubs, water trails, pools, or by inhalation) mud, sand (psammotherapy) algae, and the benefits of the marine climate.


In recent years, the evolution of scientific knowledge and studies conducted have demonstrated theeffectiveness of these treatments for the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of many diseases.

Major indications include chronic rheumatism, some skin conditions, venous-lymphatic and respiratory conditions. Very interesting and in full development are the indications in Wellness Medicine and Aesthetic Medicine.


The use of a mineral water for therapeutic purposes is the basis of classical spa therapy as well as Thalassotherapy: in fact, seawater can be considered the most complete mineral water in nature.


Thalassotherapy can only be practiced in centers that have certain requirements, which are useful in recognizing qualified centers.

1) Location and distance from the sea

First, the facilities must be located on the sea in areas of special environmental interest, far from polluting sources. The maximum distance from the sea shall not exceed 1,000 meters.

Indeed, it is not possible to think of a thalassotherapy center or to do specific treatments away from the sea, since the marine climate is also a fundamental part of thalassotherapy treatment. In addition, seawater is extremely rich in minerals and by its nature “living” due to the extraordinary richness of zooplankton and phytoplankton, so it cannot be reproduced in the laboratory.

2) Type of seawater

Natural seawater must be used for individual hydrotherapy treatments such as showers, bathtubs, pathways, irrigations and inhalations, and it must be quality-controlled at intake and delivery with periodic chemical and biological checks.

3) Technology and security

Finally, the facility must be equipped with certain technologies such that, under medical supervision with the utmost respect forhygiene and safety, an adequate number of basic thalassotherapy treatments can be carried out.

Dr. Fausto Bonsignori
Dr. Fausto Bonsignori

Surgeon Specialist in Medical Hydrology and Thermal Medicine, Specialist in Hygiene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University Master’s Degree in Aesthetic Medicine.

He has extensive experience as Medical Director of Thermal and Thalassotherapy Centers and is currently a consultant at the Montecatini Spa.

A former Lecturer at the Postgraduate School of Medical Hydrology at the University of Pisa and Postgraduate Master’s Degrees at the Universities of Pisa and Milan, he currently holds the position of Lecturer in Thermal Therapy at the Postgraduate Master’s Degree in Aesthetic Medicine at the University of Parma.

President of the Thalassotherapy Commission of FEMTEC (World Federation of Medical Hydrology and Climatology) and Vice President of EAPTC (European Association of Patients and Users of Thermal Centers). Author of the book “Thalassotherapy, cures and wellness at sea spas and the sea” (ETS Publishers, Pisa, 2011) and the forthcoming book “Thermal Wellness,” also for ETS Publishers.


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