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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, as did Hippocrates. Furthermore, English doctors started prescribing salutary trips to the sea in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the practice continued into the modern era. Although we don’t believe that the ocean is a magical panacea as some of these folks did, we recognize its subtle restorative and transformative powers. Here are a few 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 abundant 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 saltwater 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 same benefits. Furthermore, an Australian trial study shows that nebulized saltwater 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 relaxing and focusing your mind, and adding new challenges. As we mentioned in our saltwater therapy blog, the colors and rhythms of the beach create a soothing environment in which your brain can relax. Furthermore, merely walking in the 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 our addiction treatment center in 2002. We have facilities that are mere steps from the Pacific Ocean in sunny Newport Beach, California. Clients regularly take advantage of the health benefits in supervised sessions and during their free time. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, eating, or co-occurring disorders and are seeking alcohol or drug addiction treatment in Orange County, please consider seeking professional help. Our specialists are standing by to answer any questions and start the admissions process. Call us today and start building your foundation for success.
Ocean Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial policy.
1. Surfers inspire cystic fibrosis therapy. The Sydney Morning Herald. Published November 28, 2005. Accessed August 1, 2022. https://www.smh.com.au/national/surfers-inspire-cystic-fibrosis-therapy-20051129-gdmj8h.html