Why the Ocean Is a Place of Healing - Both Physical and Mental
Kells McPhillips - Good+Well
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October 22, 2022

Blue Mind: Why the Ocean Is Good for You (Cabinology)

The health benefits of swimming in the ocean, or at least spending time in close proximity to ocean water span mind and body, says Abe Malkin, MD, founder of Concierge MD LA. On the most basic level, swimming is a wonderful, low-impact form of breaking a sweat. "[Swimming] improves blood circulation in our bodies," says Dr. Malkin. A quick dip might also help with joint pain, improve muscular strength and endurance, and promote longevity. That's really just scratching the surface, though.

Dr. Malkin says the ocean's mysterious yet well-recorded benefits of lowering stress, anxiety, and heart and breathing rate are what makes slipping on your bathing suit and hitting the coastline super worthwhile. Take one recent study of almost 26,000 subjects, which found those living on the coast to be about 22 percent less likely to report feeling depressed or anxious compared to those who lived about 30 miles away from the waves.

But it's not just ocean water that offers positive mental and physical effects. Marine biologist Wallace Nichols, PhD, coined the term "blue mind" in his book of the same name to describe the benefits of being near water, which is backed up by the long-held pursuit of civilization to exist near blueness. "Most communities are built near bodies of water not just for practical reasons, but because as humans, we’re naturally drawn to blue space," he previously told Quartz. The concept of "Blue Mind" applies to living in close proximity to anywhere you could, in theory, swim - meaning, not just the ocean.

Dr. Malkin agrees that the wonder of all water varieties also manifests in its therapeutic benefits (which are just beginning to be studied for the treatment of PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders, and more). But, the unique composition of seawater (or ocean water) might make that form the best source for these types of therapies. "Seawater contains minerals such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride, and sulfate that have natural benefits for the body," says Dr. Malkin.

Studies suggest that the magnesium may even help those with heart disease by dilating the blood vessels and stopping the spasms that occur in the heart vessels - thus preventing heart attacks. It might also help lull you to sleep, adds Dr. Malkin.

While other water sources like lakes, ponds, and even pools may share a similar gravitational blue-mind-inspired pull, the research show that humans agree that there's something particularly dazzling about the topaz expanse that is the ocean.

Read the rest at Good+Well

Related: Soak Up the Well-Being Perks of the Beach Year-Round in Mexico (Well+Good)

Notice: This content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.

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