Marlies Sobczak: “It is ESPA’s assignment to further develop opportunities for Thalasso”

Interview with Marlies Sobczak, head of the Thalasso working group

The annual congress of the DHV (German Medical Spas Association) took place on Norderney, a German Wadden island, from November 1st to 5th. This year’s event was particularly inspiring, with leading speakers addressing important issues facing health resorts and spas such as the skilled labor shortage and long covid treatments. The congress also provided a chance for attendees to discuss current services and future tasks in European spas.

We recently spoke to Marlies Sobczak, project manager of ESPA’s Thalasso working group, who played a pivotal role in bringing the congress to Norderney. Marlies provided valuable insight into the event and the activities of the Thalasso group.

What is the main focus of the activities of the Thalasso group within the European Spas Association?

“The Thalasso working group’s focus is on the future of Thalasso and professionalization and innovation within the health and lifestyle sector. The group has the objective to make an important step in bringing Thalasso closer to people in intensive cooperation within European countries. A new cooperation between the European Spas Association and the German Spas Association has emerged, the subject of Thalasso is vital for the seaside resorts, therefore Thalasso became the leading theme for lifestyle and health on the island of Norderney. In addition to the clinics, which offer extensive programs, there are many indoor and outdoor Thalasso facilities in the region. It was obvious that this congress took place on Norderney.”

Marlies Sobczak took an active part in several forum discussions at the annual congress. She also gave a presentation on the developments and best practices in the Netherlands with a focus on Noordwijk.

Private Lecturer Dipl.-Ing. dr rer physiol. Friedhart Raschke spoke about the scientifically based and convincing effect of Thalasso on human health. The President of the DHV, Brigitte Goertz-Meißner, emphasized the importance of cooperation and the further definition and safeguarding of the Thalasso criteria. In cooperation with Wilhelm Loth, Managing Director of Staatsbad Norderney GmbH, a staunch Thalasso fan, and ESPA’s Marlies Sobczak, it was agreed to develop the Thalasso health services on a European level.

Where do you see the main challenges and opportunities?

“More and more attention is being directed towards a healthy lifestyle, also in relation to our surrounding nature, climate and focus on sustainability. This includes seeking medical supervision and the use of services of professionals. At the coast, considering the benefits of a seaside location and a healthy maritime climate, the conditions are optimal to respond to a market where there is not only demand but where the need for prevention and awareness is concretely visible.”

What is the future of Thalasso from your point of view?

“It is almost an assignment for DHV and ESPA to further develop these opportunities and translate them into a future-oriented offer. Our slogan explains it all: Power by the sea. New spirit for thalassotherapy – the use of seawater and marine environment.”

Marlies Sobczak also explains that during the annual congress of DHV in Norderney, the future program of the ESPA working group was presented. The aim is to meet once a year as a working group on a European level.

In addition, an extensive document containing several (scientifically) substantiated reports in which the effects of Thalassotherapy are described and the latest insights are expressed has been compiled. The documents and publications were obtained through various channels from Romania, Germany, and France, – Marlies Sobczak concludes.

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