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HEALTH Seaweed, nature’s health and skincare secret



?The minerals and nutrients contained in seaweed have a myriad of health and skincare benefits. Pic: Ciara Moynihan.

Seaweed, nature’s health  and skincare secret

Maggie Gibbons

I’ve only recently become aware of the myriad benefits of seaweed. I’m a total convert to this amazing sea plant. Living so near the sea means it’s readily available, and it’s now used regularly in our house for bathing. There is nothing to compare with the protection it offers from radiation and all other environmental pollutants. Seaweeds help to eliminate toxins while offering major benefits from headache relief to the relief of backache, tiredness and stress. It’s also a great source of iodine, and considering Irish people have the lowest iodine levels in Europe (how ironic for an island nation!), we should be seeking it out when we can.
This wonder from the sea is available in many therapeutic forms now, from hair, face and body seaweed products to seaweed baths.
We tend to focus so much attention on cleaning our external environments, we sometimes forget our internal bodies and minds. Time to start taking care! And what’s more, there are two fantastic businesses based here in the west of Ireland, one offering gorgeous, restorative seaweed baths and other therapies, the other offering a range of seaweed skincare products.

Connemara Seaweed Baths
Connemara Seaweed Baths are situated on the shores of Killary Harbour – Ireland’s only fjord, beside the Leenane Hotel in Leenane, Connemara. Bathing in saltwater (thalassotherapy) is essential for the release of minerals and nutrients found in seaweed, and is Ireland’s oldest spa treatment. Connemara Seaweed Baths have six single baths overlooking spectacular Killary Harbour, and two double rooms at the rear. The atmosphere is one of peace and tranquility. Soft music and candlelight set the mood for total relaxation.
The seaweed is hand cut daily and fresh with essential nutrients and minerals. Connemara Seaweed Baths use brown seaweeds, which contain more minerals and nutrients than their red and green counterparts.
As well as relaxing tired and aching muscles, saltwater seaweed baths are a natural treatment for a range of skin ailments, including psoriasis, acne and eczema, and they can help relieve pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism. Bathers also find the baths guarantee a great night’s sleep. A full hour of blissful indulgence, including a sauna and steam room session, costs just €25.
The spa also offers ‘Unwind and Revive’ massage and beauty treatments and packages – you could have your bath, plus a back, neck and shoulder massage for €50, or a bath plus express facial and a nail file and polish for €50. Fantastic value! Have a peep at www.connemaraseaweedbaths.com for a full list of all their treatments, or contact them on 095 42408 or connemaraseaweedbaths.com.

Galway-based Seavite Bodycare was created in 1993 by Patrick Mulrooney, a marine scientist who believed in the healing powers of the sea. Patrick and his wife, Kaye, set about bottling the goodness of the sea, and after years of research Patrick combined his in-depth knowledge of marine science and nature to create Seavite – Ireland’s original organic seaweed-based skincare range.
They were passionate that only the finest ingredients were used in Seavite products, including hand-harvested organic seaweed, from the purest marine waters of the Atlantic, making the entire Seavite range suitable for sensitive skin.
Today, their two daughters, Jane and Katherine, both medical doctors continue to research and develop new skincare products and their wonderful product range is helping people all over the word unwind, de-stress and revitalise both body and mind. Their extensive range includes products for body, face and hair, with everything from body cremes and lotions to eye balms and face masks available.  
My picks are the Seavite Super-Nutrient Anti-Ageing Serum (30ml), which lifts and brightens the complexion. A potent blend of organic seaweed and quince extracts nourishes and soothes the skin. It’s fragrance, colour and irritant free, making it suitable for the most sensitive skin types. A winner at €35. I also love Seavite’s Revitalising Bath and Shower Gel (250ml, €12; 500ml, €17.50). A gentle cleanser that softens and nourishes too, its also suitable for even the most sensitive skin types.
The Seavite Organic Seaweed Illuminating Shampoo (250ml) is choc full of seaweed plant proteins, vitamins, minerals and essential botanicals, all blended in the purest mineral-rich spring water from the unspoilt hills of Connemara. Hard to resist at €12.
Seavite products are widely available in chemists or online at www.seavite.ie.

> Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at living@mayonews.ie.