After turning blue from the cold bath of the viking Lifestyle (see part I) I decided I’d rather go native and try something warm and turn red.
2nd Bath: Torekovs Warmbadhus (which literally means the warm bath house) lived up to its expectation. For 140 years (or more) it kept its tradition as a seaweed bath spa. Not by using any slimy seaweed but the famous Brown Seaweed Bladderwrack * ! (which kind of sounds like a pirate name) or Fucus vesicolusus which is mainly found on the coasts of the North sea.
Bladderwrack has been used medicinally for centuries. Its main use however, has been as a supplement in tablets, capsules and extract, as well as an additional ‘vegetable’ in salads, soups and stews.
The high iodine content of this seaweed is useful for treating underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) as well as boosting metabolism by stimulating the thyroid gland as a treatment for obesity and cellulite.
Although caution should be taken about consumption, an excess can cause negative side effects and like many seaweeds is often contaminated with heavy metals. ( Here is an interesting paper by Patricia Burtin on the nutritional values of seaweed) .
It also :
1-has anti-estrogenic effects and improves some problems with menstruation. (Excess estrogen is associated with premenstrual fluid retention, weight gain, mood swings, headaches and menstrual cramps)
2-could suppress the growth of cancer cells due to its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
3-reduces glucose levels in animal testing , making it useful for treating people with diabetes
4- contains fucans and fucoidans which are components that have anticoagulant and blood-thinning effects that improve cardiovascular diseases
and 5- Possesses anti-aging properties which tightens the skin, smoothes wrinkles and prevents sagging
The ritual was simple: get undressed and go into the bath…
Me: ‘ do you have any of these disposable underwear?’
Her: ‘ what do you mean?’
Me: ‘ you know the ones that you have for a massage or a spa and you throw?’
Her:’ ah no! this is sweden you get naked !’
(you have to give me credit for quickly taking the picture before my therapist comes back in, thinking I am this exotic naked mad tourist that is not even japanese !)
The water was boiling hot! (not that I am complaining) I prefer this ‘viking lifestyle ritual’ much more !
The heat helps open your pores and let all the minerals, trace elements, vitamins, and alginate in! softening and moisturising the skin as it does so. Adding sea salt or himalayan salt , as well another brown seaweed such as Fucus serratus in the bath may also help the procedure.
The therapist came in and picked up a bunch of floating seaweeds and started scrubbing me. I felt like I was in a Morrocan Hammam ritual (without the embarrassing aftermath of seeing your dead skin stripping away from you). While she was scrubbing I tried to hide the rest of my body with the remaining seaweeds, she found it ‘cute’ that I was so coy.
After a 20 minute scrub she left me alone with my tired-looking-scrubbed-out seaweeds covering the rest of my dignity…
The surprising thing was I became suddenly very hot and felt like I have been jogging for an hour under the sun. No wonder it is considered a miracle worker for the relief of rheumatism , rheumatoid arthritis as well as inflamed joints, I felt my body remineralised and having a normal circulation for the very first time since I moved to ‘wet & cold grey london’.
I was in heaven, I also finished 2 jars of water! but I made sure I came back home with this……..
If you had a different kind of seaweed bath please share it with us!
*Bladderwrack is rich in iodine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulphur, silicon and iron and high in some B-complex vitamins. It contains moderate amounts of phosphorus, selenium, manganese and zinc and small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and G. It also contains anti-sterility vitamin S as well as vitamin K. It is rich in alginate and mannitol, carotene and zeaxantin with traces of bromine.