Vitamin Sea—The Remarkable Health Benefits of the Ocean
Dihydrogen monoxide, or humble old water. Where would we be without it? It’s all around us. Our planet is the blue planet—with water covering 70% of its surface. It’s inside us too. It makes up much of the biological fabric, of us. We are 60% water. All the biochemical processes that we call humanity, or existence, occur in water.
It All Started In Water
Water is the eternal solution, in which all else grows. Life began in water, in the prehistory oceans of our world 3.5 Billion years ago. What started as single cell organisms ended up with the magnificent array of species we see today. All thanks to the biologically favourable effects of water. Hats off, to water.
The next time you turn your tap on it’s worth thinking about this. It’s also mesmerising to wonder where all those water molecules have been. Beyond a miniscule amount, nearly all water is recycled by natures and has been since the dawn of time.
Water is a Timeless Classic
You’ consume the same molecules your ancestors did. Slightly off putting, but also comforting because water is not bound by past or present—it is a human constant—simply, water. Not new water, or old water.
We’ve never been able to live without, and never will.
This is obvious when we’re thirsty. We’re aware how vital fresh water is for us. But what about salty sea water? We cannot drink it.
“Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Yes, a mouthful of saltwater tastes nasty. That isn’t to say our oceans don’t have remarkable health benefits for us. They certainly do. Read on.
It Strengthens Our Immune Systems
Fancy a chilly dip in the sea? Many of us spend most of our time in a state of bio-equilibrium. Neither too hot nor too cold. By modern design we’ve banished the cold.
Our primitive forebears would not have had this luxury. They would have been exposed to the extremes of nature. This meant, sometimes, shivering away. Sounds grim, but it made them tough. Over time, that’s what swimming in the cold ocean will do for you. It mildly (unless it’s the arctic!) stresses your system causing a positive immune response.
You may find yourself healthier and less prone to seasonal illness. This is also known as cold therapy. For more in depth info, check out the Wim Hof Method.
It Cleans & Clears Your Skin
For those of us that suffer with spots and the odd bit of dermatitis, seawater could be the answer. It is rich in mineral salts, such as sodium and iodine. These are known to have antiseptic qualities.
This is to be taken with pinch of salt however, because sea water also contains bacteria which can enter wounds. It’s probably best to avoid the sea with fresh or open wounds! Small blemishes and the like are fine.
Seawater is also filled with magnesium, this is thought to help moisture retention in our skin, which in the long run prevents it from drying out.
Eases Joint & Muscle Pain
Seawater is a hypertonic (high in salt) salt solution and it has anti-inflammatory effects on those suffering with arthritis. Simply by soaking in the sea, you might find relief from any lingering joint or muscular pain.
This is due to osmotherapy, which is the dehydration of white blood cells. These swell, along with bodily tissues as a first line of defence against injury (perceived or real). By dehydrating them it helps remove the inflammation trigger.
Plus, weightlessness combined with water resistance is free physiotherapy. Ideal for restoring and increasing flexibility and muscular endurance.
It Helps Us Breathe Properly
Salt inhalation, or halotherapy is all the rage now. People spend good money visiting salt inhalation chambers at top spas. All you need to do is visit the ocean and breathe deeply. Much like soaking in seawater, breathing it in can have beneficial anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects on our lungs. Studies have concluded that those with asthma and other lung ailment breathe easier after salt inhalation.
In fact, most of us seem to be able to take deeper more meaningful breaths by the sea.
Chills Us Out & Reduces Stress
There’s just something about the ocean that makes us feel zen. In many world religions it’s seen as a purifier, not least for its physical properties—but also its spiritual ones. Whatever that words means to you; we can all agree the soft roar of waves and the undulating swell is inherently calming.
Apparently, the sound of the ocean is instinctually non-threatening which is why it affects us the way it does. It’s in our DNA. The rhythmic pattern of sea-sound can also assist with sinking into a meditative state, emptying the mind.
Furthermore, seawater is charged with negative ions which ironically have a positive effect on our health (unlike positive ions generated by digital equipment and lighting)—helping balance our autonomic nervous systems. This promotes good sleep and healthy digestion. The accumulative effect of being near the ocean improves negative emotions and makes us feel at one with the natural world.
If it’s not there already, you need sea in your life. Fact.
Come to Cornwall and you’ll have all the sea you want. We live and breathe it here, quite literally. We’re lucky to be so close to it and don’t take its healing qualities for granted.
If you’ve enjoyed this, why not read some of our Cornwall blogs? The only thing is that after reading you might want to drop everything and bee line for the wild South West peninsula. Cornwall does that.