The Salty Sea Benefits: You and Me.



Life begins in the ocean. “All life arose from the ocean”, said Philippe Goldin, a neuroscientist and clinical psychologist from Stanford University. “There's no lack of clarity that we came from the ocean," he said. "Seventy percent of my body is saltwater. My brain is bathed in saltwater." We are all children of the tides. Few of us return, but if we do, the benefits are limitless, expanding from mental, emotional, and physical. The Ocean is a healing sustainable resource for therapeutic purposes as it is beneficial to humans. In order to obtain these healing properties one must be immersed and tossed around by the sea.
There are many ways to experience the ocean. Whether on a board, or just swimming around examining sea life. Even a walk on the beach by breathing in the salty air can positively effect a person’s mental state. Diving in specifically to the benefits that surfing has on a person’s mind body and soul, it is evident that everyone deserves the chance to get salty.
Through surfing, one is able to achieve balance and harmony of mind through the therapeutic affect that the sea and its great blueness offers. Known as “Thalassotherapy” experiencing the salty sea, immersing yourself deep, or even just getting wet can penetrate the brain and heart intrinsically. Seeming selfish in some ways, I surf and play in the ocean because I am attracted to the way it makes me feel, and believe that it has influenced my life for the better.
Taking a closer look at the mental benefits, how it all works, and understanding that we can experience pleasure just by going outside. Being drawn to aquatic environments, researchers say, was optimally adaptive for our ancestors—and the adaptation may still echo in our brains. Contact with our natural and wild world creates feelings of empathy, and positive emotion. These being the foundation to happiness, the way that surfing impacts the brain is even more impressive.
When exposed to the salty sea and the rhythmic flow of the tides, catecholamine neurotransmitters are released in the brain. These neurochemicals, which relay stress signals around the brain, recalibrate in the ocean to low levels similar to those delivered by meditation—reducing stress and anxiety. The prescription for a few salty waves will benefit you more than those over-the-counter remedies.
As people, with seventy percent of our body mass being salt water, human blood plasma shares identical nutrient ratios to sea water. Examining all the properties in which the ocean can benefit a human, and understanding how experiencing the salty sea and immersing yourself deep can improve mental state, there is no denying that everyone deserves a chance to get close to the shore and gaze out on a horizon full of healing capabilities. 
Our mind is the structure of our life, and our bodies the product. The use of seawater as treatment can increase circulation through the body, assist in muscular skeletal pain, and improve the immune system. In a marine environment one is able to experience healing just through inhaling the fresh salty air. Susan Yunker, an RN from New York said that, “when the sea is turbulent, the air—full of negative ions—is believed to be sterile. The sea vapor we breathe is frill of minerals, which are absorbed through the capillaries in the lungs and delivered to the body. The negative ions quench free radicals. It’s like taking a mineral pill in perfect combination”.
The therapeutic use of the ocean, its climate, and marine products like algae and seaweed is common all over the world. The atmosphere is contagious. In part, the climate that the sea offers allows an individual to free themselves from the stresses of modern life, give them an alteration in lifestyle, and through the embodiment of new surroundings such as seaside sunrays, warm sand, and crashing waves helps aid in mental happiness. A key component for these therapeutic properties to be effective one must exert energy and get active in the ocean. 
Exercising and exposure to marine elements affects serotonergic neurons which play an important role in physiological and behavioral response. Paddling on a board, digging deep with each stroke, tuning in to the surging force, lining up perfectly, surrendering to the flow, dropping in to an open face, a wall of water and impeccable energy breaking behind as you snap off the lip and get swallowed by a massive tube. This, is the purest most effective way to experience the beneficial properties of the sea through the increase of alertness, enhancement of the immune system and improvement of concentration. 
Surfing can be viewed as a universal enhancement for all. Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) benefited by the clarity and perspective as psychosocial and sensory processing aided to the result of muscle activity enhancement in the water.
A program that uses “ocean therapy” to help at-risk youth in the Manhattan Beach area started in 2005. Through the application of surfing, and combining discussion and awareness to the important factors of confidence and trust out on the water, kids and adults were able to gain the building blocks to happiness. Teaching through the beautiful and personal surrender to the sea, as there is no controlling the conditions out on the water, forcing a person to deal with what they’ve got. 
Even though cognitive scientists are just now amassing evidence that proximity to water has measurable benefits for our minds, promoting calm, focus, creativity, sleep quality, and overall happiness, the importance of protecting and being connected to the oceans is vital for survival. 
Lifestyle: A daily routine, series of habits, or commitment to a particular activity. Negative or positive, the style of someone’s day-to-day experiences has such a large impact on their life. Need a mood lift? Grab a surfboard. Surfing can even help veterans overcome symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. What are you waiting for? The ocean is calling, and I must go.


Written by: Haley Harris.

Published on on Jan 7th, 2015. 

All rights reserved.