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  • Sophie Dingwall

Nature's very own miracle cure - The Ocean

January blues? It's time to take your kit off and immerse yourself into the cold! Are you up for the challenge?!

For centuries human kind has settled along our coastlines, for the sea is a provider; a lifeline for our survival. The weather and climate effects every living organism on our planet and is governed by the oceans and their currents, without the ocean life simply wouldn’t exist. Perhaps more importantly today than ever before, the ocean absorbs around a quarter of the CO2 we humans produce and is one of the largest carbon sinks. It also provides an essential source of food, allows us the possibilities to travel, trade goods but greater yet, it’s a medicine having the power to heal, improving physical health and wellbeing.

January blues are amongst us as we endure another lockdown, low temperatures, dark evenings and persistent rain along with certain uncertainty, this can understandably bring moral down. While hibernating in the warmth and comfort of your own home might seem routine, you in fact need quite the opposite and there is science to prove it. The urgencies of daily life often leave us disconnected with nature but studies show that regaining a balance is directly linked to improving physical and mental health and is now used in the medical industry by doctors today.

Studies into ‘blue health’ have looked at how the colour, sound, air, sand and temperature of the ocean effect our mind and bodies. Colour has a bigger impact that you might think on our emotions, so much so that brands often use particular colours when marketing to target their audience. Every colour relays a different emotion, for example the colour blue imitating the sea and sky conveys a pro-founding calming effect. This relates to the research undertaken by many professionals proving that people living near the ocean exposed to the blue sea and sky are happier with less mental health issues regardless of financial income. With that, the coastal settlers are also more likely to exercise regularly, be that surfing, sailing or walking.

In addition, coupling the rhythmic sound of the waves and staring into the ocean can alter our brain waves frequency and put us into a mild mediative state; de-stimulating the brain allowing us to relax and even boost creativity.

“Need some fresh air!?’

This common term is often used when we want to de-stress and theres a good reason behind it. Phycological effects of ions have been reported for over eighty years now, in particular negative ions which are oxygen atoms occurring naturally in our atmosphere. These atoms can be found in discharges of electricity, ultraviolet rays from the sun and where water collides; meaning our coastlines are in plentiful supply. The negative ions effect the human body by increasing the serotonin levels helping alleviate feeling of depression, relieve psychological stress and anxiety. Many of us suffer from over-exposure of positive ions caused by electrical equipment such as our phones which leads to adverse effects making us feel drained and lethargic.

A simple walk along the beach could be one simple way to top up our negative ions, boost our daily energy and maintain positive mental balance.

But it doesn’t stop there. Cold water swimming has become increasing popular and these cold water enthusiasts swear by it, in many cases people have even declared that it has saved their lives, both mentally and from life changing physical injuries. Wim Hof or better known as the ‘Ice Man’ has become a global celebrity due to his ability to control his mind and body in freezing temperatures and shares his techniques with people from all over the world. Is it an eccentric concept that cold water immersion could be a real life miracle cure?

Swimmers and surfers cherish the benefits from the cold water. The white blood cell count are increased boosting the immune system, improved circulation occurs by forcing blood to the surface and overtime and repeated exposure the body is able to adapt to the cold temperature and strengthens immunity. Euphoric feelings are in abundance due to the endorphins released in the brain along with on occasion, increased oestrogen and testosterone levels which in turn give us higher self-esteem, more confidence and enhanced mood.

It is common practise for athletes to partake it cold water therapy, as it can be an effective part of recovery reducing muscle pain and soreness but also is used to help injuries by reducing swelling and

the tissue breakdown by constricting the blood vessels. This is not only something that is exclusive to athletes but everyday folk can benefit too.

Basically, get your glad rags off, take a dip in the ocean and feel the benefits!

For many of us, the recent circumstances have forced us to pause. The need to rekindle our connection with nature is evidently crucial to change our behaviour towards our planet and home as a species.

So, however you choose to experience the ocean, take from it what you want but in return we must protect it, after all it is our lifeline…

#oceanconservation #coldwaterswimming #oceantherapy #bluehealth #risefierce #oceanhealth #saveourseas #oneill #surferlife #mentalhealth #wimhof #coldwater #iceman #powerofthemind #lockdown

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