Difference North Sea and Baltic Sea in the application of Thalasso therapy

Prof. Dr. Friedhart Raschke – comparison of climate & seawater North Sea vs. Baltic Sea in the application of Thalasso therapy

The North Sea is a lateral branch of the Atlantic; the Baltic Sea represents an inland sea. This implies a couple of gradual differences shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Comparison of climate and sea water between North Sea and Baltic Sea for application of Thalasso therapy

2- High tides (max. height 2,4 m) in the North Sea, producing a wadden sea area (World Heritage of Nature since 2009). This causes permanently changing wash margins. The very small tide of the Baltic Sea (max. 30 cm) keeps the coastline constant.

3- North Sea’s coastline is directed towards N/NW/W main wind directions during spring and summertime – the pollen season. Air coming from these directions contains no allergens, pollen, dust and other pollution. At the Baltic Sea the absence of allergens and pollutants varies (from Schleswig-Holstein to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania). The landscape includes open sea areas as well as bays, bodden, and islands with agricultural use. Thus the absence of allergens and pollutants is generally stronger in the North Sea, especially during the prevalent wind conditions.

4- Another main difference concerns salinity – this implies different mineral effects for the skin and mechanic effects for body motions during therapeutic exercise in sea water. Consequently the aerosol salt content is involved too. Hence irritating effects are generally more intense in the North Sea due to salinity, wind strength, waves, and aerosol.

The North Sea is suitable when people prefer or tolerate application of stronger stimulants. The smoother Baltic Sea on the other hand is appropriate for people with greater sensitivity in the respiratory and circulatory system – e.g. in children. The strength of stimulating effects of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea are related to each other in the same way as a comparison between high mountains (Alps) and uplands (Black Forest).

In respect of UV radiation both areas are quite similar, because of the flat surrounding scenery (no mountains), the reflexion of radiation by the sea surface and scattered radiation from the sky. In total, UV radiation in both areas is much higher as on the mainland. Dermatologic diseases will make a main profit out of it. Bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis are the next important indications leading to a preference between both according to graduated differences in sensitivity.

Recently the application for exhaustion and sleep disturbances has been shown in the North Sea climate. But mental inspiration – generally generated by the sea for humans seeking for time out, holidays, or rehabilitation, seems to be equivalent for both seas.

Author: Dr. Friedhart Raschke (PhD), Head of Research Dept. Staatsbad Norderney (Germany). In agreement with Dr. Raschke, the comparison is available to the Thalasso Group, one of the Working groups at the European Spas Association. ESPA Thalasso Group is led by Marlies Sobczak.

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