There you sit in your beach chair, listening to the surf and the waves crashing against the
beach, like this Lilian Eden’s Natural Sound Series video. High above you, the sun is shining on the water, providing a bright blue glow to the afternoon. As you take in the cool relentless ocean breeze all around, a sense of peaceful grace comes over you. You don’t know what time it is and you really don’t care. You are not alone. To many, this is the power of the ocean, a calm and gentle place to relax and re-center. Have any idea why? You are enjoying by the ocean health. Ever notice how watching the ocean waves can be mesmerizing? Isn’t it great? Kind of like staring at a campfire while camping.
It’s captivating in a calming and hypnotic way. It brings a calm focus and gentle awareness to the mind that has the same stress relieving effects as practicing mindfulness meditation. You want proof? According to Gallup Poll surveys, what state in the entire country do you think ranks first for 6 straight years when the residents reported being the happiest and enjoyed an overall state of well being? Did you guess Hawaii?
Since the beginning of time, humans have assigned healing and transformation properties of water. In early Rome, baths were an important part of cultural life, a place where citizens went to find relaxation and to connect with others in a calming setting. In ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal wisdom, and traditional Chinese medicine, the water element is crucial to balancing the body and creating physical harmony.
Even in the 1700s the notion that being near a beach makes one feel healthy is not new, of
course. Doctors were prescribing trips to the shore or visits to “bathing hospitals”, which were special clinics that offered seawater bath treatments, on a frequent basis. Water has even symbolized rebirth, spiritual cleansing and salvation. It is instinctively instilled in all of us. That’s why we are all drawn to the sea and have that feeling of awe!. And luckily so, with all the health and well being benefits available for all of us by being on the sea! Let’s look at some of these benefits:
People tend to associate the color blue with qualities like calm, openness, depth and wisdom, so is there any wonder there is a near universal attraction to the color blue and blue-water? Being on or near the water, particularly the sea, relieves us of stress and anxiety because the sea has such an overpowering calming effect on the body.
The relentless pounding of the waves act as a white noise filter, and you are transformed to a state of mindfulness and your mind feels clearer and healthier. Here is an example of the mesmerizing sound of the ocean (1). This NIH study confirms the positive effects of mindfulness on psychological well being.
The NIH in another study investigated white noise, like listening to the ocean surf, and promoting sleep, particularly with babies. Evidence has also emerged from research that being near the sea can be very effective in
treating certain forms of depression, such as Seasonal Defective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that occurs in individuals only during the Fall and Winter months, then subsides in the Spring and Summer. A study conducted by the NIH involved the treatment of seasonal effective disorder (seasonal depression) with a high-output negative ionizer or ions, as found in sea water and in the sea air, had some interesting results. The study found that
Treatment with a high-density negative ionizer appears to act as a specific antidepressant for patients with seasonal effective disorder.
The surf’s not quiet, but the sound of water is far more simple and rythemic than the sounds we are normally accustomed to in everyday life. And the visual input is simpler too. When you stand at the edge of water and look out on the horizon, it’s visually simplified relative to everyday life, as well, where you’re typically taking in millions of pieces of information every second, over-taxing your brain.
There’s also this sense of belonging, being a part of nature and reaping its healthy benefits, and although by realizing you are only a small part, you are still a unique and instrumental part of something much greater. This ScienceDirect study examined the benefits of living in proximity to the coast, which concluded that Brits who live by the coast report better physical and mental health than those living inland.
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, explains in his book “Blue Mind“, is that we all have a “blue mind” we all want to get back to that existence, which is a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, mindfulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in here and now, that’s triggered when we’re in or near water. When interviewed by the Washington Post, Mr. Nichols said,
We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken,
Enhances Creativity and More
While we’re exploring the benefits of being on the sea and encouraging mindfulness, there is another all-important aspect to the sea and it’s ability in spurring creativity, even to the point of having “genius” thoughts, as this ABC online article “How a love of sailing helped Einstein explain the universe“, discusses. In this article it is said Einstein not only loved sailing, but also loved when the breeze dropped and the sails sagged, and he would whip out his notebook and begin scribbling away his ideas. Quoting from the article,
After 10 more years of sailing, on November 25, 1915, he officially published the gravitational field equations of general relativity, the so-called Einstein equations of relativity.
obviously figured out the concepts of space and time while sitting calmly on a lake. It seems great realizations occur when we’re chilling, staring up at the sky, out at the sea, or, even walking in the woods.
The Principle Of Grounding and Chronic Inflammation
Do you walk barefooted on the beach? If not, according to the latest research, maybe you should go barefooted. We all know about oxidation and free-radical damage in the cells of our bodies, leading to chronic inflammation and serious health issues such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, And, although having some free-radicals is good, having to many has the opposite effect.
Free radicals lack sparks of energy known as ‘electrons’. One way to quell them is to give them electrons, and these can be supplied by nutrients (antioxidants) such as vitamins A, C and E, and plant substances known as ‘polyphenols’, or phytonutrients. However, antioxidant substances we eat and drink are not the only way to get electrons into the body. Earthing does this too. If the body has a positive charge on it, earthing allows electrons to flow into the body where, in theory, they can neutralize overblown free radical and inflammatory damage.
The National Institutes Of Health (NIH) confirms the importance of grounding
in this study and concluded,
Accumulating experiences and research on earthing, or grounding, point to the emergence of a simple, natural, and accessible health strategy against chronic inflammation…….appears to serve as one of our primary antioxidant defense systems.
As this report explains, it is a system requiring occasional recharging by conductive contact with the Earth’s surface – the “battery” for all planetary life – to be optimally effective.
Boosts the Immune System
Seawater contains vital vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, amino acids and living microorganisms that can produce antibiotic and antibacterial effects to help promote a healthy immune system, by increasing white blood cell count and releasing healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis, bronchitis and inflammatory diseases, as well as
infections and common aches and pains. An NIH study on Deep Sea Water (DSW) confirmed the wide-ranging health benefits of sea water and concluded,
DSW is worthy of further investigations and could be developed as medicated water in the prevention and treatment of many health problems, especially lifestyle-related diseases.
Seawater can also relax your muscles, reduce stress and help induce sleep. Magnesium depresses nerves to relieve nervous irritability for an increased sense of calmness,
Reportedly, the components of seawater, similar to human blood plasma, are easily absorbed and utilized by your body while swimming. Inhaling a sea mist filled with negatively charged ions, or molecules that attach to your lungs also boosts your immune system.
In addition, proponents claim that swimming in seawater opens pores in the skin to allow the absorption of sea minerals and the expulsion of disease-causing toxins from the body. Your skin will also absorb and replenish the all-important vitamin, vitamin D, that 75% of us today in our society are severely lacking in. But it also goes without saying, get
Improves Blood Circulation and Oxygen Levels
Swimming in seawater may help facilitate the circulation of blood in your body. Your circulatory system, made up of the heart, capillaries, arteries and veins, carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body, then returns blood to your heart again.
The main purpose of thalassotherapy, or seawater therapy, or as an NIH study referred to, hydrotherapy, is to increase blood circulation. Wikipedia explores the health benefits of hydrotherapy extensively as a “water-cure”, and said:
The term encompasses a broad range of approaches and therapeutic methods that take advantage of the physical properties of water, such as temperature and pressure, for therapeutic purposes, to stimulate blood circulation and treat the symptoms of certain diseases.
Wikipedia goes on to say modern-day hydrotherapy employ water jets, underwater massage and mineral baths,Iodine-Grine therapy, Scotch hose, Swiss shower, Kneipp treatments, whirlpool baths, Jacuzzi, cold-plunge baths, and mineral baths.
By the ocean health, which includes swimming or bathing in cool seawater as one of the preferred activities, improves circulation by restoring essential minerals depleted by stress, a poor diet and environmental poisons.
Improves Skin Condition
The magnesium in seawater may also help hydrate and improve the appearance of your skin. According to a study in the February 2005 edition of the “International Journal of Dermatology,” and reviewed by the NIH, bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution helps promote skin moisture. People with atopic dry skin, or dryness on the skin’s surface, submerged one forearm for 15 minutes in a bath solution containing 5 percent Dead Sea salt and the other forearm in regular tap water.
Researchers discovered that the salt solution improved skin hydration and significantly reduced skin inflammation symptoms such as redness and roughness when compared to tap water. Observed skin benefits were attributed to the high magnesium content of the Dead Sea salt. Quoting the NIH study:
We suggest that the favorable effects of bathing in the Dead Sea salt solution are most likely related to the high magnesium content. Magnesium salts are known to bind water, influence epidermal proliferation and differentiation, and enhance permeability barrier repair.
Below the surface of the skin there are cold sensors that react when swimming in colder ocean water, which trigger a sudden burst of adrenaline that diverts our attention away from our aches
and pains, creating the feel-good factor. It’s effectively a natural painkiller.
It is commonly believed that breathing in the fresh salty air can help treat the people who suffer from respiratory problems like COPD. Dr. Thomas W Ferkol, President of the American ThoracicAssociation, authored an article published by the Wall Street Journal, in which he mentioned that a study that took place in Australia tracked the effects of the ocean air on surfers suffering from cystic fibrosis. The study lasted 48 weeks and produced some evidence that the salt air was helping to clear out the lungs of the patients.
Not only that, but the patients also showed signs of fewer flare-ups and a reduced need for certain antibiotics. Another study published by the New England Journal Of Medicine, found that there are therapeutic qualities to ocean air that have helped lung disease patients as well, resulting in improvements in symptoms such as thinner mucus, improved lung function, reduce coughing, and decreased sinus pressure.
Encourages Physical Activity
Does your daily workout routine feel mundane? A day in the sand is a perfect way to mix up
your fitness routine because the possibilities are endless. Living by the beach or visiting the ocean often, encourages not only healthy physical activity, but also more of a variety, ultimately leading to a healthier lifestyle. We all take long walks, probably several, in the surf, swim, or at least wade-out, in the invigorating waters to cool off, body surf and ride the waves to shore, even play a little beach volleyball. Why are people more active at the shore?
Well, it’s pretty simple, you feel much better, you are more relaxed but have more energy, and you are happier, which all encourages more fun outdoor activity. A Harvard Medical School study, confirmed the important health benefits of outdoor activity, on the ocean, or anywhere out in nature.
Encourages Being Sociable
There’s something to be said about leaving everything behind and truly being present and in the moment, to enjoy your surroundings, including the people in them! It’s easy to get caught up in your normal daily routine of a busy city street bustling with people, which can actually be not only stressing, but lonely, when everyone is walking with headphones and everyone is having tunnel-vision in getting somewhere on time.
At the beach, people are much more civil and friendly. Families actually communicate and connect, because they loose the cell phones, or at least they should. Friends play. Lovers relate. There’s a different community on the beach and the ocean, one made up of people who are all out for a nice time.
The beach and the ocean is an annual destination for many vacationers, where family members, or
friends re-unite to celebrate, socialize, and just relax and have fun. It’s also a gathering-place for many annual festivals and religious ceremonies, such as the Puri Beach Festival, on the shores of the Bay Of Bengal, India, and also a Hindu sacred place, where people meet annually and wade and celebrate the religious holiday.
Better Appetite But Watch the Weight
I know you’ve noticed that you are always starving when you’re by the ocean or on the beach. Have you ever wondered why? The added physical activity of more walking, particularly in loose sand, swimming and wading in the water, body surfing, and other beach activities, has something to do with it by burning additional calories. The result is you get more of an appetite. However, that isn’t the whole answer.
One study done by the University of Florida found that swimming in colder ocean water burns more calories, actually, up to 40% more calories, than in even normal or swimming pool water, or other exercises. According to Lesley White, a UF researcher who designed the study to better understand why aquatic exercise is often less successful than equal amounts of jogging or cycling for people who want to loose weight, said this,
It’s possible that individuals who exercise in cooler water may have an exaggerated energy intake following exercise, which may be a reason why they don’t loose as much weight.
That simply means if you get out in the ocean at all, even if you’re just wading, you’re
going to use more of your bodies stored calories, and then your body will have to be replenished. So, you could say, you’re almost twice as hungry as normal and you’re naturally going to eat more. Here’s where you have to be careful in what you eat because of your increased appetite and your desire to eat more.
Stay away from fatty foods, fast foods, fried foods, and the like, not only are they really unhealthy for you, but also, because before you know it, you’ll be putting extra pounds on. Go ahead and eat out and enjoy the fresh fish and seafood at a restaurant that was probably caught this morning, but make sure it’s wild-caught or cold-water fish or other seafood, and you’ll be safe, because you will be eating healthy fats like omega 3s, and not high saturated fats like omega 6s, that will put the extra weight on.
After several days of eating fish, you probably want a change of pace in foods, like maybe a grilled rib eye. So, make sure you bring your ice-downed Yeti cooler and some fresh organic grass-fed finished rib eyes, and while you’re at it, also bring some other fresh nutrient-rich foods such as organic cage-free brown eggs you can cook up for breakfast.
Oh, and also bring some fresh organic fruits and veggies for snacks and salads, and some fresh organic nuts and seeds for snacking. And, definitely don’t forget to bring your Peruvian Maca for you to supplement with every day to assure you have the ample energy in maintaining your new-found active lifestyle, and of-course, for making delicious blueberry maca smoothies.
On a personal level, I can literally spend every single day on the ocean, and I hope to do so
full time very soon. In fact, I already spend an average of at least 40 days a year on the beach, in Winter, Summer, Spring or Fall. The time of year doesn’t matter to me! Can you guess where I am right at this moment writing this article? If you guessed on the beach, you guessed right. I am in a condo that is separated from the beach by only a narrow side street. All I have to do is walk out the front door barefooted, cross the street, and my feet are in the sand. And, I’ve got a beach chair waiting for me. Guess where I’m going when I finish this article?
Are you ready to enjoy some by the ocean health? Don’y you think your body deserves it? Would love to hear your thoughts, and if you have questions, please leave them below.
(1) Relaxing White Noise video