There is no place that calls to me more than being near the sea. As soon as the sun comes out and the days get warmer my body starts to crave it. I dream of wandering across the smooth sand, hearing the rhythmic sound of the waves and feeling the warm touch of the sun on my face. Just being near to the ocean can have a positive impact on your health. In fact, doctors have been prescribing trips to the sea shore from as early as the 18th century and recent studies show a link between the ocean air and health.
What are the benefits?
Researchers have found that the sound of waves alters brain patterns, which instantly put you into a more relaxed state, rejuvenating body and mind. This has a hypnotising effect on us, which is great for bridging the connection between mind and body. Allowing us to really be present in the moment.
The seaside encourages physical activity, even if it's simply a walk along the beach.
Swimming in the sea gives you a full body workout, increases circulation, and strengthens your immune system. Studies have shown that the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in seawater produce natural antibiotic and antibacterial effects that promote immunity. Additionally, swimming in seawater helps to activate the body's natural healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis and inflammatory diseases, as well as normal aches and pains.
The seaside is also great for your skin. Scientists have linked the magnesium in seawater to increases in skin's elasticity, hydration and improvements in appearance. Salt and potassium chloride, which are naturally found in seawater, are great natural healers. Alongside the natural minerals in seawater a certain amount of sun can be good for some skin complaints such as psoriasis. This is because a small amount of ultra violet radiation from the sun's rays helps dry the skin and promotes healing.
Ocean air has health benefits too. The negative ions in sea air accelerate your ability to absorb oxygen and balance your serotonin levels, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Which is why you feel more alert, relaxed and energised after a beach holiday.
Being near to the ocean greatly affects mental wellbeing. As you sit on the beach listening to the roar of the waves, feeling the ocean breeze blow through your hair and enjoy the warmth of the sun on your skin, you feel inner peace and revitalised all at the same time. This seaside buzz is known as "thalassotherapy", a term coined by Hippocrates.
The rhythmic sound of the waves pounding the shore brings forth a meditative state. The benefits of meditation are far reaching: stress reduction, deep relaxation, increased happiness, peace of mind and heightened creativity. Meditation has a real way of helping you connect to the inner you, listen to your thoughts and help you find an inner peace that a day in the office will never do. At the beach, the endless horizon of the sea is so large, you can almost perceive the curve of the earth. The visual stimuli your brain receives from this view literally opens your mind to new opportunities and experiences.
While you're sitting on the beach pondering the meaning of life, the heat of the sun is working away at your endocrine system, enabling it to secrete endorphins – the body's feel-good chemicals. The salt in seawater also aids your mental wellbeing by preserving the melatonin, tryptamine and serotonin levels in your brain, which fight off depression.
Most importantly, unplug your devices and reap the benefits of the negative ions in the air. In today's society – thanks to computers, television and electronics – we are surrounded by too many positive ions (free radicals). Shutting down your gadgets and increasing your exposure to negative ions will enhance your immune system, increase alertness, improve your concentration and encourage a deeper sleep.