The ocean has many healing benefits for both the mind and body. Seawater stimulates our bodies and promotes the feeling of well-being. This article (originally published on the KORA Organics Blog) unpacks the seven healing benefits of seawater.
As a family, we spend time in the ocean as medicine at least twice a week. Particularly over the last year, homeschooling and working from home has been a fantastic way to shake off the day, reduce stress, and connect with nature.
Thousands of years ago, Hippocrates discovered that seawater helped heal wounds, prevented infections and eased pain. Historically, doctors would recommend their patients go to the seaside to improve their health. In the UK, we have the term ‘take to the waters’ as a physical venture into healing, cleansing and rejuvenation.
One of my fond childhood memories is my uncle Geoff, who lives in Salisbury, UK, using this phrase each summer as his annual healing seaside excursion. Some doctors even gave prescriptions detailing exactly how long their patients were to be in the water as ‘thalassotherapy’ as well as drinking seawater too.
We, as a family, soak and swim in the ocean for 45 – 60 minutes, 2-3 times a week. We have a game of apple sea bobbing, so we also get to drink a little seawater, which is an excellent source of good bacteria for your gut microbiome.
7 Healing Benefits of Seawater
1. Great For Your Skin
Seawater is antiviral, antibacterial and enhances wound healing due to the high sodium and iodine content. Seawater is also high in the minerals calcium, potassium and magnesium. Magnesium is a co-factor in over 300 reactions in the body, so it is essential for life, and it also helps your skin maintain moisture making it more robust and look more youthful. Due to the above minerals, seawater is also great for chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
2. Great For Your Respiratory System
Ocean swimming is associated with reduced symptoms of hay fever, sinusitis, asthma and other respiratory symptoms. An excellent research paper in the American Family Physician found that this is due to the saline effect on the lining of sinuses, which reduces inflammation and mimics the body’s fluids not to irritate. It stands to reason then that one of the first things they do is put the patent on a saline drip for anyone unwell and admitted to hospital.
3. Reduces Stress
The high magnesium content in seawater has a calming effect on your nervous system to feel calmer and more relaxed. As you float in the seawater, the weightlessness of water can also have a calming effect on the mind, slowing down and even changing brain waves into a relaxed and meditative state. Swimming in the sea also reduces your blood pressure and can support better sleep patterns.
4. Strengthens your Immune System
Your number of red blood cells increases between 5 to 20% after a swim in the sea. The number of white blood cells increases even more. Seawater is fantastic as a natural medicine for people with a weakened immune system, anaemia, and even high blood sugar levels.
5. Reduces Pain
Ocean water can help ease muscle pain, arthritis, and pain associated with post-surgical procedures due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Swimming in the sea is also great for your circulation, particularly if you embrace cold water exposure, which supports healing and increases the release of dopamine and serotonin, so you also feel happier.
6. Reduces the Appearance of Cellulite
Swimming in the sea puts pressure on your tissues and lymph vessels, promoting the flow of lymph, improving the appearance of cellulite.
7. Supports your Thyroid
Sea Water is high in iodine which is essential for a healthy thyroid. You can also add seaweed flakes to your diet in salads or include nori sheets used in sushi rolls to boost your iodine intake. If you don’t like eating seaweed or drinking seawater, sea air is also a good source of iodine. New research published in the Irish Medical Journal found that continued exposure to seaweed-rich air can supplement an individual’s iodine intake.
If You Live Far From The Sea
Seawater is, therefore, very healing and has stood the test of time to support both mind and body balance. If you don’t live near the sea and find it difficult to swim in the ocean, you can run a bath and add 1 cup of Epsom salts which is also high in magnesium. Put on a track with ocean sounds, light your favourite candle and spray your face with the lovely Minty Hydration Mineral Mist, which is also infused with natural seawater. If you don’t have a bath, a foot bath will work so you can escape to the seaside even in your mind, relax, unwind and embrace all the healing benefits the sea has to offer.
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