Imagine you’re sat on the beach, you can hear the waves crashing as the crystal clear waters lap the shore. You can feel the sand under you and the warm sun hitting your skin. For most of us, this image is associated with relaxation and happiness. The mere thought of the ocean can help to soothe and relax us.
Being near water - especially the sea - can provide a long list of benefits for our body & mind including lower stress, clearer skin & improved wellbeing. Therapists and doctors have been prescribing thalassotherapy, the use of seawater as a form of therapy, since the 19th century. In fact, in days gone by, ocean views and proximity to the sea were seen as an effective treatment for everything from tuberculosis to melancholy. More recently, some therapists are turning to the water to help treat conditions like PTSD, addiction & anxiety.
So how does the ocean help?
1) Reduced stress & anxiety
Studies have shown that staring out to sea can change our brain wave frequency, luring us into a mild meditative state. The deep blue of the ocean is also associated with feelings of calm and peace, while the fresh sea breeze is full of negative ions, believed to help alleviate depression.
2) Increase in well-being and happiness
In general, coastal environments are higher quality with more sunlight and less air pollution. People who live by the water tend to be more active and have higher moods with reduced levels of stress. In fact, according to a new study published in Health & Place, an adult living within half a mile of the ocean is 22 percent less likely to show signs of a mental health disorder than an adult living 30 miles away from it.
3) Clearer Skin
Rich in vitamins and minerals like sodium, magnesium, calcium and sulphate, the ocean can work as a natural cosmetic for your skin. Issues like acne, eczema and psoriasis can all be relieved by salt water baths or a swim in the sea.
4) Improved Circulation & Immune System
Research has shown that a dip in the ocean can improve circulation by restoring nutrients within our bodies that are depleted by stress, poor diets & environmental pollution. The cold water also helps to move blood quickly from our extremities to our major organs, which is great for circulation.
Immersing yourself in cold water also helps with the production of white and red blood cells. Studies have shown that the number of red blood cells in our bodies increases between 5 to 20% after a swim in the sea.
5) A Better Nights Sleep
The benefits don’t end when you leave the beach! Time spent by the sea has been linked to an increase in levels of melatonin, often referred to as the sleep hormone. The ocean also has high levels of Magnesium, which contributes to relaxed muscles & a deeper sleep.
We can all reap the benefits of ‘Blue Health’ simply by spending more time around water. Next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious head out and get your dose of ‘Vitamin Sea’...