You may have heard the expression, “The cure for anything is saltwater: Sweat, tears or the sea” by Isak Dinesen. And many people would stand by that expression as fact; have you ever wondered if there was scientific evidence to back it up? We looked into it and found that it may be more than just a good expression.
For decades, doctors have prescribed going to the ocean to help with various ailments. In the past, some believed that swimming in, or even drinking sea water, could help with skin or gland problems such as eczema and psoriasis, two auto-immune diseases that thousands of people suffer from. Even in modern times, people who suffer from these diseases often claim that they have observed alleviated symptoms after spending time in the ocean.
The various health benefits of seawater range from skin to mental. Stress can be reduced with just the sound of ocean waves. Studies suggest that gentle repetition puts most people into a meditative state: an active but calm brain. This state-of-being also allows people to stimulate their creative sides. A relaxed brain is the best version of itself when it comes to brainstorming or creating something new.
Weightlessness in water can also lessen stress. Sensory-deprivation float therapy is the practice of floating in dark pools of saltwater, helping to break the constant string of thoughts that overwhelms our minds with a feeling of weightlessness. During this practice, brain waves get to a meditative state and it has been linked to improving focus, curing insomnia, and even assist in healing sore muscles.
It’s not just the water or the sound of the waves that provide health benefits, but the salt itself. Sea salt is full of microorganisms, vitamins, and minerals that help various parts of your body. This is partially why it is so great to immerse yourself in seawater. Soaking in salt water has been shown to improve skin, whether it’s tightening, cleansing or exfoliating. Saltwater can also alleviate discomfort from sore muscles and stimulate healing according to Livestrong.
Many will claim that there are health benefits to eating sea salt versus other types of salt, like table salt. Sea salt is made from the process of evaporated sea water, either from the ocean or saltwater lakes. This allows sea salt to maintain numerous minerals and other elements that give it the added health benefits. However, it’s still salt, so consume in moderation.
Studies also show how colors affect the brain, especially the color blue. We are constantly facing stimuli, from work to our commute, especially all of the media we consume (Facebook, email, working in front of a computer, etc.). Looking at the color blue has been proven to calm our mental state promoting relaxation. Looking at something blue, or surrounding yourself in blue, can even lower your heart rate and body temperature; overall, calming you down. Going to the beach allows you to look at both the blue of the ocean and the blue sky providing a serene visual alongside the other assets of the ocean.
Don’t forget about the health benefits of being in the sun. We all need more Vitamin D: 75% of Americans do not get the daily recommendation of Vitamin D. Getting the right amount is vital to a healthy life and can improve skin conditions, like acne, and a range of other benefits from healthier bones and teeth to boosting your immune system and improving lung function. Remember, that going to the beach is an excellent way to absorb the sun’s rays, but too much is equally as bad. Lather sunscreen to prevent the negative effects. (Tips to spending time in the sun)
Overall, the ocean is a wealth of relaxation. You can receive so many benefits by just spending time close enough to the ocean that you can hear it or see it. However, going in will provide even more benefits. So maybe there is something to be said about that “Saltwater Cure,” the ocean is, in fact, healthy for you and your body.