The Science of the healing powers of the Sea
We all see the memes with the quotes about the healing power of the ocean, or the beach. And many people claim that they always feel better after a day at the beach, and people who move to the seaside also claim to have experienced benefits both mentally and physically. But why is this? What about the ocean makes us humans believe that everything is better by the sea, and is there any science behind these claims? Well, this week’s blog is going to dive into the depths of the healing power of the sea.
To begin, all human existence is connected to the ocean, and it has been one of the most important symbols of humankind. Ayurvedic medicine is the oldest system of medicine dating back more than 5000 years. According to Ayurveda water is crucial to balancing the body and creating physical harmony, chinse medicine holds the same understanding. The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks all understood the healing power of the sea. Hippocrates the father of medicine as well as Galen, Plato and Aristotle all recommended time by the sea for its healing properties. And this is where Thalassotherapy originated. The term thalassotherapy comes from the Greek word “thalassa,” which means ocean. Thalassotherapy is a modality that harnesses the soothing properties of the sea, and is very popular in Europe, particularly in Germany and France. Some colleges of medicine in Europe include thalassotherapy in their curriculum. But you don’t have to pay 1000’s of dollars to go to a fancy healing resort in France to get the benefits of the sea, many of the benefits you can get just from spending the day at your favorite beach. Here is why.
~ Seawater is high in several minerals, sodium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, calcium and iodine. When our bodies are emersed in sea water sodium and chloride penetrate and enter the body. This can affect skin cells by altering the pressure inside them, which in turn may inhibit cell death. Magnesium helps reduce inflammation reducing pain caused chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia. All of these minerals also have shown to improve many skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
~ Sunlight is another element that we get lots of when we spend time by the sea. Sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D which aids in the absorption of calcium, also helping to reduce the severity of many aliments as well as pain from musculoskeletal diseases. Vitamin D plays a role in the proper functioning of T cells, B cells and dendritic cells which are all key to immune function and protecting your body from disease.
~ The color blue!! The blue of the sky and sea are associated to open spaces and wide horizons, inspires tranquility and quietness reducing stress and anxiety.
~ The Salty mist and breeze cleans our lungs. Salt is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
~ Sea air is charged with negative ions that builds our body’s capacity to absorb more oxygen. The use of laptops and cell phones exposes us to unhealthy free radicals which erodes our body’s natural energy, the sea breeze is the perfect way to restore balance.
~Walking on sand also neutralizes the impact of free radicals in our body as sand contains the same minerals as the sea and plus some. This promotes physiological changes, boosts our immune system, reduces inflammation enhances circulation helping to improve our overall health. Playing in the sand is super beneficial for children too! Playing in the sand gives them a medium to artistically express themselves, promotes cognitive development and enhances their creativity skills. Heck I’m an adult and I love playing in the sand, building sand sculptures is pretty entertaining.
~ Ocean waves, one of my favorite sounds. The sound of waves is widely accepted as an effective sound therapy to induce deep relaxation. Nature sounds physically alter the connections in our brain and reduces our body’s natural fight or flight instinct. Ocean waves roll in and out at approximately 12 cycles per minute, the breathing of a sleeping person cycles at around 12 times per minute. Pretty amazing right?
A great meditation to help you connect to the energy of the ocean and clear your mind and body of negative energy. Focus on energy of the ocean, feel the energy of the waves. Feel the energy of it drowning into you. As the wave crashes into the beach and loses its energy, the energy is being transferred to you as a form of ocean healing. It cleanses you from head to toe and helps you get rid of the negativity inside of you. The fear starts to wash away from inside of you, and the happy, joyous feeling starts to take over you slowly and gradually. The vibration of your body starts to increase due to ocean healing as the ocean exposes you to its energy. Now, with an open heart, thank the ocean for helping you heal your body, mind, and soul. The energy is yours now and yours only.
This is not to say that a trip to the sea cures disease and is a fix it all, but it is absolutely part of the equation for reconnecting to our ancient wisdom, the earth and our journey to wellness and balance. There is honestly so much more to the healing elements of the sea, but I am certain I have written more than ya all want to read for this blog entry. So, stay salty, and now that may have a whole new meaning for you.