by Luisa Taliento

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In just one litre there are 19 grams of chlorine, more than 10 of sodium and 1.3 of magnesium, as well as particles of calcium, sulphur, potassium, nitrogen, fluorine and bromine. We are talking about the precious substances found in sea water which have powerful healing properties, provide relief for pain, improve circulation and skin diseases and have beneficial effects on respiratory disorders and positive results on the quality of our sleep and mood.

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This is the message conveyed by Deborah Cracknell, an Honorary Research Fellow of the Medical School of the University of Exeter in her book By the Sea (translated into Italian Il magico potere del mare and available from Rizzoli Illustrati, 192 pages, € 16.90). The marine biologist has dedicated an entire chapter of her book on how to create the ocean within the confines of our four walls, namely how we can enjoy the positive effects of water from the comfort of our home. Her suggestions include a brightly coloured aquarium, a virtual beach as our computer screen saver, a delicious plate of nutritious sardines or visualising the ocean, recreating in our mind a day by the sea.

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And then there are salt therapies, a commodity that has been considered an important source of wellbeing for centuries, thanks to its therapeutic properties. Using salt for healing goes back as far as Peng-Tzao-Kan-Mu, the first book on pharmacology, published in China in 2700 B.C., which describes over forty different varieties of salt. The most famous type of bath salts are Epsom salts, which help relax the muscles and are also used by athletes to soothe aches and pains. Dead Sea salt contains 21 minerals and effectively calms skin which is irritated or suffering from dermatological disorders. Hawaiian black salt has similar properties and, when mixed with activated charcoal, absorbs grease and impurities in the skin. Seaweed is also very effective: its vitamins and components, such as iodine (important for a healthy thyroid), are absorbed by the skin both through bathing and inhaling hot vapours. In France and northern Europe, where the therapeutic and dietary benefits of seaweed have been acknowledged for years, it is considered an effective natural remedy to help you get ready for the winter.i.

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