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Healing by the Ocean

If you’re seeing red, feeling angry, anxious, and stressed, well, welcome to the postmodern experience.

I would like to tell you to not be in despair. I would like to talk about the ‘Blue mind’ science. It is the study of aquatic environments’ health benefits. Possibly having the ability to offer the cure for your blues!

Wallace J. Nichols spent nearly two decades as a marine biologist studying Pacific Ocean sea turtles and working with fishermen in Baja California, Mexico, to protect the turtles from poachers. But in the past five years, he has turned a new page, delving into neuroscience, human behavior and what he calls the “blue mind.”

Nichols, who lives near Santa Cruz, Calif., has come to believe that the best way to protect the oceans and its denizens is to make people value the good feelings that arise from being around water. He combines personal stories and research studies to describe the healing power of water.

As a woman who grew up in Southern California I have a deep passion for the water. When I was in my 20’s I had the great joy to live in Maui, Hawaii and practice Holistic Health.

When I was in my 30’s I lived in the California desert away from all water and realized the need I have for water. Ocean or Lake. So I moved back to North Carolina.

What’s the connection between human happiness and the ocean?

When we step away from our high-stressed lives and step into nature, we get a shift. Physiologically, our brains and bodies change. We relax, and the quality of our thought changes. A different brain network activates. That brain network is available for a completely different kind of quality of thought which is much more introspective and self-referential. Oftentimes it leads to feelings of connectedness and that can lead to innovative thoughts. Early humans seeking a place to call home and seeing a place overlooking the ocean or river realized that it makes them happy. They said, “This is good, this is right, this is safe and the place to survive and thrive.” For us today, it could be going to a swimming pool or a second-floor balcony on the ocean. If the water is blue and it’s not polluted, you are getting a signal that is probably present in most if not all mammals.

Nineteenth-century doctors used to prescribe a long ocean voyage or beach stay as a cure for many ills. Were they on to something?

Clearly, it worked for some people, and they continue to suggest that. Doctors still do that, and now we know the physiology of stress and that it is implicated in a variety of diseases. Often I will ask people to describe your healing place, [and they will say] it’s a place with water. They will say, “I’m sitting at the dock, or on the water.” That’s what people think of when they think of reducing stress. Go there literally or in their imagination. Sometimes imagining the place will help you more than going to the place itself.

Many of us can’t afford an ocean view. How can people experience the “blue mind” without buying a house on the water?

We forget that wherever we are, there is water all around. Be mindful of your water, pay attention to the way the water makes you feel in the shower. When you swim laps, if you pay attention when you touch the water and while you are swimming, it’s pretty interesting.

Ask yourself how much is an ocean worth or a river worth or nature worth? My experience and research suggest those are very important values and benefits and services. The cognitive and social capital of healthy waterways is enormous. People hold their most important ceremonies near water. They relax near water, they get creative near water. If that water is dead, you don’t have your ceremony next to it or on it. These are the things that make life worth living, but we don’t include them in our spreadsheets. We massively undervalue the oceans. I work with a group of veterans who use surfing and kayaking to help with PTSD. They now realize that natural healthy water is important to them.

Let’s look at the other side to this!!!

Blue as in color!

The color blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace. Thus, staring at the ocean actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state. A study published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s journal even found that blue is associated with a boost of creativity.

Breath of Fresh Air

Getting outdoors and breathing in fresh air has always been advised for good mental and physical health.

The first thing most people do when they get to the beach is take a deep breath. The fresh air fills your lungs and brings instant peace. You may also notice that it is easier to breathe.

The air at the beach is charged with negative ions that work to increase oxygen absorption in your lungs. Individuals with asthma, COPD, and any other breathing complications can breathe much easier when they are seaside.

Beach air relaxes your chest muscles and allows you to take in more air, and healthier air than you are exposed to each day.

Healing Powers..Could be

The warmth of the sun opens your pores, which allow salt water to enter easily and pull out all the blemish-causing toxins. Additionally, the iodine in the ocean water destroys bacteria and fungi that can cause breakouts and skin conditions.

Iodine also has the ability to boost the function of your thyroid, which in turn provides additional support to your immune system. Regular exposure to sea water can increase your iodine exposure and ultimately your immunity.

Adequate iodine content in our bodies is also essential for ensuring we have the right energy levels and metabolic rates as well as regulated hormone levels. A few trips to the beach each month can keep you infection free and running at optimal levels internally.

Bottom Line

The evidence is in—A trip to the beach can cure almost all your daily woes.

Whether it was a stressful week at work, too many school exams, or the aftermath of visiting in-laws, going to the beach can calm and relax you. Let the warm, salty air comfort your soul, and the water and sand pamper your feet.

The beach is the place to go to restore your mental health and, therefore, your overall well-being.

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