While for many, the thought of being surrounded by seaweed is something straight out of a horror movie, for me, having one of Ireland’s famous ‘seaweed baths’ has been on my bucket list for some time.
Seaweed baths are popular in Ireland, but are not a recent phenomenon as many date from Edwardian times, when they were more widespread than they are now. There were baths in most large Irish seaside towns.
According to ‘soakseaweedbaths’, “in 1904 French scientist Rene Quinton published the medical work ‘L’eau de Mer, Millen Organique’ (Sea Water Organic Medium). Quinton’s study indicated that sea water and human plasma (blood and lymph fluid etc) are almost identical in their composition of mineral salts, proteins and various other elements. Indeed it is known that similarities between seawater and human blood plasma are so great that, when removed from the body, white blood cells are able to survive in sea water, whereas they break down and disintegrate almost instantly in any other medium.
Many therapeutic benefits are attributed to seaweed bathing. Scientific studies have confirmed that seaweed bathing helps lower body stress and relieve skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, acne etc). It has also been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of muscle aches and joint stiffness (rheumatism and arthritis), and excellent for some circulatory problems. Seaweed treatments are associated with body toning, slimming and the release of toxins. Indeed, the therapeutic merit of seaweed can be aptly described as one of nature’s timeless treasures, fostering beauty, balance and vitality.”
So, after a minor sleep-in, and getting a few hours of work done – upon arriving at the hotel’s spa, I changed, and after spending a relaxing 15 minutes or so in the ‘relaxation room’, I was shown through to the seaweed bath.
Imagine a lovely hot bath… That’s essentially what it is… only it is sooooo much more…
The water feels ever so soft to the touch… and there is a lovely film on the surface of the water that feels like a gloriously expensive moisturiser…
…and contrary to popular opinion, they do not smell like the beach at low tide!
After soaking for about three-quarters of an hour, a gentle rapping on the door indicated it was time to extricate myself from the tub and return to the ‘relaxation room’ ready for my pedicure and hot stone massage.
Btw, a hint – if you do have a seaweed bath, don’t rinse off the water from either your body or your hair – it is a fabulous conditioner!
Then, after a total of four hours at the spa, and purchasing several boxes of the dried seaweed to take home with me, I relocated to the bar to do some more work and have an early dinner… (and I do love being seated next to old and dusty bottles of wine…)
All in all a most glorious day!
PS: While I was eating dinner, and then again while I was awaiting the car to take me back to my apartment, I was dismayed (that is putting it mildly) by the number of disrespectful and unruly children – and parents who were little better…
…and yes, I realise that statement exudes snobbishness, and I do not apologise for it in the slightest.
I was thinking that it is a shame there is not more of an appreciation of the manners and respect of old…
When the taxi arrived to take me back to my apartment – a half-hour ride – I was absolutely delighted that my driver was an elderly man who asked me if I minded if he played on the car stereo Gaelic love songs from 50+ years ago…
“I miss times when men were men, and women were women, and children knew how to respect their elders,” he said.