The Salutary Effects of the Sea
Though we’re just beginning to discover some of the science behind it, the idea that the ocean contains healing powers is not new. Ancient Greek philosopher and medical theorist Alcmaeon of Croton spoke of the ocean’s health benefits way back in 450 BC or so, as did the Hippocratics. Furthermore, English doctors started prescribing salutary trips to the sea in the 18th and 19th centuries and the practice continued into the modern era. While we don’t believe that the ocean is a magical panacea as some of these folks did, we do recognize its subtle restorative and transformative powers. Here are a few of the health benefits of spending time at the beach and in the water.
The Ocean Can Boost Your Immune System
Taking a swim in the ocean can naturally boost your immune system. Cold water increases the number of your body’s white blood cells, the first line of defense against invaders like bacteria and viruses. Furthermore, the ocean contains a limitless supply of minerals and trace elements with antibacterial effects. These are absorbed by the skin and can act as natural antibiotics.
It’s Great for Your Skin
Those minerals we just mentioned are excellent aids to skin health. Calcium, magnesium, sodium, and others can help alleviate skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. And while you’re out swimming, you’re also soaking up the sun’s rays, which contain vitamin D and help the skin regenerate more easily.
An Aid for Sinuses, Hay Fever, and Other Breathing Problems
Doctors use saline, or salt water solutions to treat the symptoms of sinus problems. Salt water reduces inflammation and can work to clear infections in the nasal cavity. A quick dunk in the ocean can offer the exact same benefits. Furthermore, an Australian trial study shows that nebulized salt water improved lung function in patients with cystic fibrosis by rehydrating the lining of their airways.
Supercharge Your Workout
Exercising on the beach can help you break through a workout plateau by both relaxing and focusing your mind, as well as by adding new challenges. As we mentioned in our salt water therapy blog, the colors and rhythms of the beach create a soothing environment in which your brain can relax. Furthermore, merely walking in sand will activate stabilizer muscles that don’t typically get used on solid surfaces. A word of caution, however, for those with joint and lower back issues. Unstable surfaces like sand can irritate and exacerbate these problems, so check with your doctor first. And, as with any new workout, start slowly and work your way up.
Build a Foundation for Success with Ocean Recovery
These concepts were at the forefront of our minds when we started Ocean Recovery back in 2002. In fact, we have facilities that are mere steps from the Pacific Ocean in sunny Newport Beach, California. Clients regularly take advantage of the health benefits, both in supervised sessions and during free time. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, eating, or co-occurring disorders, please consider seeking professional help. Our specialists are standing by to answer any and all questions and to get the admissions process started. Call today and start building your foundation for success.