Most of us can easily attest to the fact that the ocean has a positive impact on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Spending time by the sea can improve mood levels and genuinely make you feel more alive. It is one of the many reasons why we love to travel to different beaches around the world and spend vacation time by the sea. There is something indescribably relaxing and enjoyable about our feet being immersed in the soft sand, or being gently tossed about by the salty frothy waves. Time by the ocean leaves you feeling awakened and cleansed – physically, emotionally and spiritually. The combination of sun, sea and sand is the most natural and easily accessible form of therapy available to us as human beings.
Since ancient times we have been aware of the healing and transformational properties of the ocean and the mysterious draw that we have to the seaside. The Greeks, Romans and Egyptians understood the therapeutic properties of seawater, while Hippocrates, Galen, Plato and Aristotle all recommended time spent immersed in the healing qualities of the ocean.
Today, scientists all over the world are continually working to quantify the positive effects of water too. Studies have already shown that living in coastal areas leads to an improved sense of physical health and wellbeing. The by or in the ocean has been proven to induce a meditative state that makes us happier, healthier, calmer, more creative, and more capable of connection. This is just the beginning.
Our affinity for water is even reflected in the near-universal attraction to the color blue. Marketing research has found that people tend to associate blue with qualities such as calmness, openness, depth and wisdom. With the human body made up of around 70% water, it seems that we do in fact belong to the sea.
Here are some of the most significant benefits of the ocean:
Physical Health Benefits of the Ocean
“The sea cures all ailments.” – Plato
– Boosts Immunity
Ocean water assists in strengthening the body’s cellular immunity in remarkable ways. The number of red blood cells increases between 5 to 20 percent after a swim in the sea and the number of white blood cells increases even more. Seawater is fantastic for people with a weakened immune system, anemia, and high blood sugar levels. Ocean water strengthens the body against viruses, low defenses, bacteria and pathogens. Seawater is actually used in modern medicine on a large scale. The water from the ocean and our blood plasma are 98% identical. Our blood has an extra molecule of iron whereas seawater has an extra molecule of magnesium, and apart from this, all the molecules are identical. When immersed in warm seawater the body absorbs the minerals it needs through the skin. Marine-based medications have been developed to treat various issues, spanning from chronic pain to tumors.
-Improves Skin, Inflammation & Infection
Salt is naturally antibacterial and therefore time in the ocean immediately helps to heal any scrapes, cuts, sores or skin irritations. Salt water also contains a wide array of different vitamins and minerals which allow wounds to heal at a faster pace and reduce the swelling and redness associated with acne or other skin blemishes. The mineral salts in the water also team up with the healthy benefits of the sun to regenerate your skin from the outside in. As a result, ulcers, lupus and psoriasis are some of the skin diseases that can be easily assisted or cured with sea water. Salt water itself is detoxifying and helps pull impurities from the body and skin which inhibits bacterial growth and skin infections.
– Improves Sleep
The most common factors that inhibit sleep- stress, physical energy, pain, anxiety, hormonal imbalances and depression- are all addressed by time in the ocean. The ocean also helps normalize blood pressure which naturally assists with deep sleep. The ocean’s waves produce negative ions which accelerate our bodies ability to absorb oxygen and balance levels of serotonin; a chemical produced by the body that is related to mood and stress. Aside from the ocean itself, time in the sunshine, fresh air, movement and nature are all factors that help us to align with our natural circadian rhythms and ease into a restful slumber.
– Assists Pain Management
-Ocean water can be a great natural medication for bone and muscle pain, arthritis, circulatory, and post-surgery issues. Researchers have recently discovered that the salt in the ocean helps reduce inflammation of the joints and the pain that occurs with arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The positive uplifting effects of being in the ocean have also been shown to elevate mood, balance the mind, and lessen the severity of pain in the body.
– The Best Dose of Magnesium
Every single cell in the human body requires adequate magnesium to function or it will perish. The ocean is one of the greatest sources of magnesium and it is often better to get magnesium transdermally (through the skin) than via tablet form. Magnesium is also better absorbed alongside Vitamin D, which is also in abundance at the beach via the natural sunlight. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and is critical for muscle function, blood coagulation, and nutrient metabolism, among other things. Even being in ocean water for short periods of time allows your skin to absorb what it needs for good health.
Emotional Health Benefits of the Ocean
– Ocean Meditation and the ‘Blue Mind’
Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, has done extensive research on the oceans unique ability to induce a state of what he calls the “Blue Mind” in human beings. Blue Mind is a mildly meditative state characterized by calmness, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. Nichols states 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 heal us on a deep level. The ocean gently lures and seduces us into a mildly meditative state of calm focus and awareness. When we are by the water, our brains are held in a state of what Nichols calls a “soft fascination;” the brain is relaxed but focused. This unique state of mindfulness has been proven to have a number of benefits from lowering stress levels, to offering relief from mild anxiety, pain and depression, improving mental clarity and focus, and improving sleep quality.
Grounding refers to the idea that our bodies are meant to come into contact with the Earth in its natural state on a regular basis. Positive electrons in the form of free radicals can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the Earth, which is a negative charge, balances this out. Our bodies and cells have electrical energy, and with the high prevalence of electromagnetic waves, Wi-Fi and mobile phones, it becomes easy to have a high amount of positive electrons build up in our bodies. As human beings, we are designed to spend time outdoors, and again, this has changed significantly over the last several decades. We tend to spend a great deal of time indoors and in shoes, rarely getting out into nature barefoot. While the modern world exposes us to unhealthy free radicals which erodes our body’s natural energy, when we are by the sea, we feel energised and relaxed at the same time as our body delights in its natural environment.
– Disconnect to Reconnect
In our everyday lives, we are constantly bombarded with sensory stimuli, whether from our devices, busy homes and offices, or hectic city streets. Our brains require downtime, yet we rarely get enough of it. Being around water gives the brain and the senses a rest from overstimulation. The ocean simplifies sounds, offering a white noise that literally drowns out other noise and distractions. Visual stimuli is also softened and lessened, offering an unfettered horizon that is free from the flashing distracting bombardment of visual stimuli that we are so acquainted with. The ocean offers us a delightful cognitive break because there’s simply less information to process. Our brains don’t shut down, they keep working, but in a different way that is more focused on simple awareness, creativity and spaciousness.
– Compassion, Oneness & Connectivity
Nichols also explains how the ocean places us in a very unique state of ‘awe.’ The emotion of awe invokes feelings of a connection to something beyond oneself, a sense of the vastness of the world and how we relate to it all. When we experience that feeling of awe, we feel a deeper sense of connection to ourselves, the world around us, and those we share the moment with. It shifts us from a place of ‘me,’ to a place of ‘we.’ It’s no coincidence that many of life’s most romantic moments take place by the water, and that we hold important ceremonies by water. Both in life and in death, we gather by the water in community whenever we can. This special feeling of connectivity that comes from the ocean has been scientifically proven to temper the ego, make us more compassionate, increase our sense of gratitude and make us more generous human beings.
– Lowers Stress & Anxiety
As human beings, we are naturally drawn to the water because it makes us feel calmer and more at ease. For anyone who suffers from stress or anxiety, the ocean water offers a strong sense of tranquility and balance that can assist with both depression and anxiety. Studies have found that the sound pattern of waves and their harmonic frequency is in fact one of the most relaxing sounds that we can listen to. The sound can even mimic the sensation of being in the womb and listening to your mother’s heartbeat. While noises such as traffic and construction noise intensify the stress hormone cortisol, the calming sound of the ocean works the opposite way to decrease cortisol levels and have a positive effect on our overall health. Even listening to audio meditations of the waves, or looking at images of the sea have shown to induce a more relaxed state of being.
– Creative Sparks
In our always-busy, screen-saturated lives, we don’t give our minds much of a chance to rest and wander freely. But when we do, the mind switches into a different mode of engagement. This place of spaciousness in the mind is associated with daydreaming, imagination, memories, insight, awakenings and introspection. This mode of thought is extremely important for creativity, and when we turn off the active side of our brains for a moment, we often find that we suddenly come up with the insights and ideas that eluded us while we desperately racking our brains for the solution a moment earlier. Rather than switching off, the ocean invites the brain to enjoy a more restful state, and from here, you’re able to make those new or unusual connections. In the case of the ocean, switching off literally helps to switch us back on again.
– Good Old Joy
The final and perhaps most important point when it comes to health benefits of the ocean is happiness. When surrounded by nature, the carefree environment of the beach, and elements that scientifically contribute to your physical health, mood levels naturally rise. We know that it’s the simple things in life that bring us the most pleasure. Time spent frolicking in the waves, surfing the ocean currents, letting the white water tickle our toes, laying on the sand in the sunshine, taking long strolls along the shoreline- all of these actions increase our feelings of well-being and contentedness. After a day at the beach, or a beach-side vacation, we return home feeling renewed and refreshed, woozy with the joy that comes from the combination of sun-kissed skin, salty hair and sandy soles.
The health benefits of the ocean are indeed very real. We have been aware of them long before science came in with the proof. In modern society, time in the ocean is becoming even more important than ever before. The benefits of the water offer a valuable way to offset the stresses of living and working in modern contexts. These huge bodies of saltwater are literally brimming with mysterious and wonderful ways to nourish and nurture body, mind and spirit.
Ready to join us on a luxury surf retreat in paradise? Enjoy plenty of ocean and beach time as you learn how to surf or improve your surfing skills. Our Bali Surf Retreat caters to all levels and as a ‘roaming’ luxury surf retreat, you have the chance to visit the best beaches and surf breaks around the island. Professional, experienced instructors ensure your time in the ocean is safe, fun and memorable. Experience the magical benefits of the ocean on your Revive Luxury Bali Surf Retreat!
Your Escape Haven Bali Retreat offers a luxury wellness experience for body, mind and soul
We invite you to experience our award winning Bali retreat. If it’s time to fill up your cup and reconnect with yourself on a deeper level, we’d love to help you rejuvenate, unwind, reawaken and experience the very best of Bali. Dive into transformational yoga and meditation classes, exhilarating surf lessons in the warm waters of Bali, fun fitness classes and restorative healing sessions. How much or little you do is all up to you.