Sea water, such as that found in oceans, contains approximately 35 grams of salt per liter of water, according to the National Weather Service. This salty water offers several health benefits, although it should be noted that drinking excessive sea water, or salt water for that matter, can potentially lead to several diseases, including hypernatremia. Using sea water as a form of therapy, also known as thalassotherapy, has been around for centuries and was used by the Ancient Egyptians.
Skin Sores and Ear Infections
An Australian study published at the National Institutes of Health website suggests that salt water swimming pools can have a positive effect on pyoderma (skin sores) and “perforations of the tympanic membrane” (ear infection) in children under the age of 17. The study concluded that the incidences of these two medical issues decreased by 50 percent in Aboriginal children after regular exposure to the sea water in newly constructed salt water swimming pools. The study goes on to say that “swimming in a salt water pool provides the equivalent of a nasal and ear washout and cleans the skin.”
Treatment for Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a type of chronic skin disease characterized by inflamed, itchy skin; it’s also a type of eczema. A Japanese report published by the National Oceanographic Data Center, suggests that sea water is an effective treatment for atopic dermatitis. The sea water provides itching and burning relief to those with this type of eczema. The study goes on to say that the treatment is more effective when deep sea salt water is used rather than surface sea water because of the various bacteria found near the surface.
Inhaling sodium chloride, or salt from sea water, in aerosol form is called halotherapy. Traditionally, this type of therapy was accomplished through prolonged exposure to salt mines and other high salt concentrated areas, but today the same effect can be reproduced via aerosol forms of salt. This type of therapy was used in a 1995 study for treating patients suffering from acute bronchitis. The results showed favorable changes in metabolic activity, normalization of serotonin levels, and a decrease in the unbalance of the lipid peroxidation-antioxidant system. Halotherapy is commonly used in Europe and other Eastern countries as a treatment for COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as for other types of respiratory diseases.
Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment
Sea water treatment has been shown to improve the effects of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in patients suffering from the diseases. A study published at PubMed.gov was conducted on location at the Dead Sea, which is the most salt-concentrated body of water in the world, and the study consisted of a steady regimen of bathing in sea water along with exposure to solar UV rays. The results showed substantial improvements in joint pain and skin irritation by the participating patients, especially when mud packs and sulfur baths were added to the sea water bathing regimen. Many homeopathic treatment centers now offer sea water baths as a way to “recreate” the positive health benefits of the Dead Sea.
- National Weather Service: Sea Water
- National Institutes of Health: Swimming Pools Provide Health Benefits
- National Oceanographic Data Center: The Application of Deep Sea Water in Japan
- PubMed.gov: The Use of Halotherapy for the Rehabilitation of Patients with Acute Bronchitis and a Protracted and Recurrent Course
- PubMed.gov: Treatment of Psoriatic Arthritis at the Dead Sea
- Sea coast, the beautiful colors sea water image by Supertrooper from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.