The sea and health are related. This is especially true because our brain reacts positively in this environment: it becomes more relaxed; its perception improves; its creativity increases; and, it achieves greater mental sharpness. Few places are as comforting as feeling the warm sand under our feet, listening to the sound waves and experiencing the coolness of that salty breeze.
Sailors, surfers and biologists always say the same thing: the sea has a spell; the ocean attracts, captivates and has a mysterious attraction for humans since the beginning of time. The unfathomable expanse of blue water gives us a wide range of sensations. Sometimes, it may just be enough to take a moment on the shore to recharge and to discover how it improves our mood.
“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of time.”
Suffice it to recall the well-known practice of Victorian doctors for their patients. Those people suffering from melancholy, tuberculosis or simple love sickness were prescribed to breathe sea air. Therefore, the beaches have been an ideal therapeutic resource for both the rich and the poor since time immemorial. And it worked. Because of its power to improve mood and it’s because the sea and health have a special relationship that science continue to corroborate.
The sea and health: the therapeutic effect of aquatic environments
In 2011, a study conducted by the Center of Sanitary Engineering of the University of Sweden reveals that aquatic environments improve well-being and has a positive impact in our health. Therefore, both the sea, rivers and lakes generate changes in our mental state, in our brain and in our own body.
Such is the mystery and fascination with bluish scenes that many authors are determined to answer. One of them was the well-known marine biologist, Sir Alister Hardy. He is known for his participation in one of the first expeditions to Antarctica in 1925. Our body reacts well to healthy environments, he says.
When human beings left the savannah, reached the coasts and discovered the ocean, some changes happened. Suddenly, we had access to new food especially those rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which is essential for the brain’s development and health. Also, the therapeutic effect of the sea, with its powerful stimuli, could create an early and very powerful connection. Therefore, there is abundance of work on the subject.
One of them is that of Dr. Jenny Roe of the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The study revealed that when being exposed to the sea, a whole series of physiological responses take place. We release endorphins, reduce the level of cortisol, generate alpha waves in our brain. That early contact of the hominids with the sea creating a bond between them may leave an imprint in us that still persists; that reminds us of its benefits; its undeniable effect in one’s well-being.
The healing power of the ocean
Sea and health are related. the ocean produces what many scientists call “blue health” and that is summed up as:
The blue mind
- Our brains react very positively to the sight of water. Reflecting upon it, smelling it and feeling it offers the brain a state of absolute relaxation. This ideal state of calmness favors the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which increase our state of happiness.
- The sea also drives our creativity, reduces anxiety and improves basic cognitive processes such as memory, attention.
Ideal for the respiratory tract
That salty breeze is a gift of well-being for our airways. It unclogs them, cleanses the lungs, aids in breathing and, in addition, has antibiotic effect. The sea is ideal for people with asthma and allergies.
Connection and power
Both the sound of the sea and the sight of these scenes dominated by movement, light and vastness favor the appearance of alpha waves in our brain. We enter a state of calmness and inner self connection improves. More so, based on a work published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the breeze of the ocean contributes to that state of relaxation and inner self connection.
The sea air is loaded with negative ions. This work reveals that these negative particles are produced in all natural water environments: the sea, rivers, waterfalls, etc. Its effect favors the production of serotonin, making us enter into a state of internal balance that, in turn, fill us with energy, with creativity, with motivation, with courage to relate with ourselves, with interest to socialize.
We can never forget the important aspect. Sea and health have a direct relationship because it allows us to absorb vitamin D. As we know, this vitamin is important for many life processes. However, curiously, a large portion of the population suffers from insaponifiable heterolipid deficiency. Therefore, undoubtedly, if we have a chance, let’s listen to our instincts, to that primitive voice that knows and understands that the sea is a good place to spend the day. It’s worthwhile, it’s worth the health benefits.