Vitamin Sea - The Health Benefits of Sea Swimming


For centuries, people have been coming to the coast to feel the healing effects of cold seawater and fresh sea air.

The term ‘thalassotherapy’ (using seawater for cosmetic and health treatment) is a long-lived practice that dates back to the ancient Egyptians.

Fast-forward to now where sea swimming’s popularity is continually growing throughout the UK. At St Michaels Resort we’re lucky enough to have beautifully crystal clear, turquoise waters on our doorstep all year round, and we take advantage of our spot with a program of active breaks including Wild Swimming Retreats and Yoga Escapes. Whatever the season, this could be the perfect time to take the plunge and restore your body and mind.

With palpable effects on health and wellbeing, let’s dive in and discover a couple of benefits to get you inspired.

Discover St Michaels Wild Swimming Retreats here


Ask any of the sea swimmers or sea swimming Retreat visitors who grace our beautiful Gylly Beach all year round, seawater is stuffed with goodness for your skin. It contains minerals such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride and sulphate that work as natural cosmetics for the skin. Magnesium-rich seawater promotes the retention of moisture in the skin whilst absorbing toxins and reducing inflammation, leaving the skin fresh and vibrant. Other research suggests that seawater can help people with atopic skin problems like psoriasis and eczema as it’s an anti-inflammatory and speeds up the healing process.

We really believe in the benefits of seawater for the skin which is why, alongside our Wild Swimming Retreats one of our partner brands is Living Sea Therapy. Hand harvested from the cobalt waters around the Lizard peninsula, the Living Sea Complex harnesses the sea’s restorative powers especially for you and your skin.  

Discover St Michaels Wild Swimming Retreats and other active wellness breaks now.


Sea swimming has been known to actively improve your health and wellness with calming immersion and exposure to sunshine. That's why we're often gently suggesting to guests to give sea swimming a try, whether it's the briefest of dips or diving into our Wild Swimming Retreats. Elements in the seawater activate the body’s healing mechanisms and support healing for diseases, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and localised aches and pains. Also rich in magnesium, seawater helps release stress, relax your muscles, promote deep sleep and spiritually cleanse your aura. Swimming in the sea has also been linked to stimulating the parasympathetic system which is responsible for rest and repair and can trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin. These are a vital part of keeping us happy and low levels are linked with depression.

Circulation and Immune System
Circulation and Immune System

Thalassotherapy is known to improve blood cycle and circulation by restoring essential micro-elements within our bodies that are depleted by poor diets, stress or environmental pollution. The cold water moves blood very quickly from our extremities to our major organs and then back up again as we warm up, which is great for circulation. Just ask any of the sea swimmers who brave the chill in all seasons at our gorgeous Gylly Beach!

Ocean waters contain an endless supply of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, trace elements and micro-organisms which have antibacterial effects and can even work as natural antibiotics. These components are absorbed by the skin when you swim and even by inhaling a sea mist (something we know a little about in Cornwall!). Also, immersing yourself in cold water boosts the production of white blood cells which are important for fighting off infection.

We often find that St Michaels visitors who take a sea-dip or join us to improve wild swimming technique become a little hooked on the cold water buzz!

Sea Swimming in Falmouth
Sea Swimming in Falmouth

Falmouth has plenty of options when it comes to sea swimming and a firm favourite is the breath-taking Blue Flag Gylllyngvase beach, just steps away from St Michaels. Gylly beach is our location for Wild Swimming Retreats and is ideal for all. The calm waters make it the perfect spot for an invigorating dip in the sea, whether you're just starting out our looking to improve your wild swim technique.

Sureswim Kernow - providing open water swim coaching and guided swims in Falmouth and across South West Cornwall. This group offers a range of experiences, from a swim around the beautiful coastline to sea swimming tips and open water coaching at all levels.

Wild Swimming Cornwall - wild swimming community in Cornwall with the aim of encouraging more people to take part in wild swimming and to experience its benefits. On their website and social feeds you'll find links to groups in most areas of Cornwall including sea swimming in Falmouth.

SwimLab - the organisation of sea swimming guru Salim Ahmed, who also leads our Wild Swimming Retreats at St Michaels. Not Cornwall-based, but Salim is often found on our beaches extolling the benefits of sea swimming. Salim's site and social feeds are a mine of sea swimming tips whether you're after wild swimming tips for beginners, details on how to improve or just a little inspiration to take the plunge!

Atlantic scuba – a group dedicated to keeping fit with an interest in the sea. They are not qualified swimming instructors, only snorkelling and diving, however their in depth knowledge of the Cornish coast and the currents around Cornwall means they can do it safely. The group normally meet on Tuesday evenings at Gyllyngvase Beach at 7pm for 30-45 minutes. It’s usually an easy swim at an easy pace with flat water. They also meet at weekends, these swims can be anything from a swim around an island to lengths in a quarry. To find out more information, the Facebook group you can speak to them on is Cornwall Sea Swimmers.

FXU Sea Swimming – The Falmouth and Exeter Students Union Sea Swimming society meets every Sunday at 1pm of Gyllyngvase Beach. All abilities are welcome from those who fancy a dip in the shallows to those who want a more intense swim. The group swim all year round and in the cooler months warm up with a hot chocolate or pint after the swim to warm up. At the end of every year, the group also go on tour either in Cornwall or North Devon. Open to Falmouth or Exeter students, you can find more information here.  



Top Wild Swimming Spots in Cornwall
Top Wild Swimming Spots in Cornwall

Tidal pools, waterfalls and quarries, oh my! Cornwall is filled with various wild swimming locations to discover on your next visit or through one of our sea swim events, and each location is unique for their own reasons. Aside from the hive of wild swimming traffic already mentioned - from sea swim beginners to experts - at Gylly Beach, we could be seen as biased when we say that our number one sea swimming spot is by Pendennis Point, only a short walk along the beaches from St Michaels. With crystal clear waters and secluded beaches (even in the summer), this secret spot is perfect for your first dip in the sea.

Alternatively, if you want to travel further afield, there are plenty of hidden gems spread across the county. From Goldiggins Quarry on Bodmin Moor, an hour and a half’s drive North East of the hotel but perfect for both experienced cliff jumpers and children in the gentle shallows, to Portheras Cove, an hour’s drive West and a real locals beach off the beaten track. With its tropical waters, beautiful sandy cove and sheer cliffs at the northern end, this spot is well worth the search for a wild swim away from the masses.

Another favourite is Kynance Cove, approximately an hour away from St Michaels. Set amongst the wild flower covered rocks of the Lizard Peninsula’s breathtaking and rugged coastline, Kynance Cove has been a long loved part of Cornwall. Its clear, azure water is the perfect place to snorkel, swim and, if you’re daring enough, jump from the rock towers.

Wherever you choose to enjoy your dip, the benefits of sea swimming in cold Cornish ocean water are there to see on the smiles of swimmers exiting the water and rugging up in blankets and dry robes.

Sea Benefits Without the Swimming
Sea Benefits Without the Swimming

If taking to the water isn’t for you, at St Michaels Spa we have the perfect solution. Our signature spa treatments such as the Ishga Marine Detox and Relax and our Cornish Hand or Foot Rituals use products from brands who have a passion for replicating the benefits of the sea in their products. Alternatively, our hydrothermal experience features the world’s only sea-salt steam room. Infused with Living Sea Therapy’s Cornish Sea Salt minerals elixir, the steam room reduces toxins and clears your lungs.

To continue these Cornish sea benefits at home, we recommend the Living Sea Therapy bath soak or body lotion. Both are St Michaels staff favourites and it’s easy to sea why. The bath soak allows you to plunge into an infusion of seaweeds, sustainably harvested from Cornish seabed forests, reviving your senses, soaking away stress as well as providing deep muscle relaxation. The nourishing body lotion lets your skin lock in moisture, improving both skin tone and elasticity. Infused with essential oils such as frankincense and rose geranium, this fresh coastal fragrance will make each day feel like a holiday. Speak to our team on the spa reception to purchase the products or learn more about the benefits from Cornish waters.  

Discover the benefits of sea swimming on our Cornwall Wild Swimming Retreat or take a look at our Completely Cornish Spa Day and Spa Break which uses the products derived from the sea right here on Cornwall's Lizard peninsula. 

Now that you know about all of the wonderful benefits of sea swimming, pop down to Cornwall and give your body some Vitamin Sea!