While in Ireland, I got to take Matt to one of my favorite parts of the country: Strandhill, a coastal village in Sligo. I had one mission while in Strandhill: get a seaweed bath.
When I first visited Ireland in 2012 it was specifically to study seaweed and the trip was one that I will never forget. Not only was it my first time traveling to Europe, I did it without much assistance and only the company of my classmate. I felt like I learned so much about traveling, independence and of course, seaweed.
Voya Seaweed Baths was as wonderful as I remembered it to be. Matt and I shared a double room, which included two tubs and one steam room. We were given 50 minutes to steam and soak; which was ample time. You might be wondering “why would you want to take a bath in seaweed?!”
Seaweed has a high iodine content, which is absorbed by your body when you’re soaking in the bath. In addition to iodine, seaweed is full of minerals and trace elements that it pulls from its environment: the ocean. Bathing in seaweed is a form of therapy that is indigenous to Ireland and at the beginning of the 20th century, it was a very common practice. There were nearly 300 bath houses in Ireland. Neil Walton, founder of Voya Seaweed Baths and tri-athlete, discovered bathing in seaweed could provide relief to tired muscles and help him to recuperate after strenuous races.
The water that you soak in is a combination of seawater and warm water. The warm water is primarily added for comfort. When soaked, the seaweed releases oils into the seawater making the water feel like silk. The oils in the water soften your skin and hair while the minerals draw out the impurities in your body. The spa recommends you use the sauna prior to entering the bath to open your pores and maximize detoxification.
The experience itself is relaxing and refreshing. We felt like a million dollars afterwards! The spa is located on the coast so you get to breath in fresh, salty air while taking in a beautiful view. We had a pretty hectic day of travel (Sligo is about 3-4 hours from Dublin by public transportation) so soaking in a warm bath for almost an hour was exactly what we needed to feel like we were on a honeymoon. We both agreed that this was one of the most amazing parts of our trip.
We finished off our visit to Voya with another item that’s indigenous to Ireland: Guinness!
Your turn: have you ever had a seaweed bath? What’s the best spa treatment you’ve experienced?