Healing properties of the Adriatic Sea
Seawater is rich in minerals and trace elements, and its composition corresponds to our physiological fluids. The Adriatic Sea contains over 80 essential minerals and oligoelements, and is especially abundant with those elements that have positive effects on nasal mucous membrane. Every clear and magnificent drop contains traces of elements such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, iodine and iron. Together, they create a balanced, vitalizing harmony, impossible to recreate anywhere except in the nature’s laboratory.
Ever since ancient times, people suffering from illness or exhaustion, and especially those with respiratory problems, have been advised to spend as much time as possible close to the sea. Hippocrates (460 – 375 BC), the father of medicine, observed beneficial effects of seawater on the damaged skin on fishermen hands, and concluded that seawater reduces the risk of infection, restores cells and stimulates the exchange of minerals and toxins between blood and water. Another important physician and philosopher of the ancient world who noticed and described the healing effects of seawater for human skin was Galen (129-216 A.C.). Galen recommended his patients with breathing problems to inhale the waves breaking on the shore.
Modern science has identified the therapeutic powers of seawater which include antiseptic effects (anti-bacterial and antiviral), stimulation of local circulation, regeneration of atrophied nasal mucosa, support for the normal physiologic status of the mucosa, and cleansing and soothing effects on the nasal ciliated epithelium. Seawater is an astringent and speeds up the healing of wounds. Floating in seawater helps release tension and stress, while deep breathing of sea air helps infinitesimal particles of salt in the air to find their way into the deepest areas of pulmonary alveoli, which has a significant physiological effect. Oligoelements (trace elements) and minerals from the sea penetrate the body, while sea air stimulates the body’s natural defence.
It has also been proven that isotonic solution of seawater improves natural nasal cleaning system, reduces mucosal dryness and crust creation.
Table 1. Cytological analysis of cylindrical cells of the respiratory epithelium due to the presence of cilia before the application of isotonic sea water
Table 2. Cytological analysis of cylindrical cells of the respiratory epithelium due to the presence of cilia after the application of isotonic sea water.
Reference: Markov-Glavaš D., Fabijanić I. Diagnosis and therapy of rhinitis in children, internal JGL data
This effect is observed due to the fact that seawater contains many active constituents with beneficial effect on nasal mucosa. It contains minerals (magnesium) which give energy to ciliary cells and salts (sodium chloride, magnesium chloride) which have secretolytic activity and contribute to normalization of mucous production. The final result is regeneration and protection of the epithelium and the improvement of mucociliary transport.
In case of inflammation of the nasal mucosa, the inhalation of sea aerosol has a sedative, protective, soothing and regenerative effect on the irritated mucosa. Coastal aerosol is still relatively free from impurities, so human respiratory organs will not be affected until the industrial society decides to change it. If we add the wealth of essential oils, especially from the Mediterranean, to the sea air, we have a strong and powerful means of protecting our health.