Quote – “I need some vitamin SEA.” ~ anonymous
I’ve been aware of the power of using the ocean as a form of holistic therapy for a much longer time than most.
Back in 2003, I left my village in the Austrian mountains to go diving in the Great Barrier Reef. It was on my very first dive when I felt a rare state of inner bliss and freedom. It was a spiritual revelation. I felt sensations of clarity and calmness that I had never sensed before. I also realised that many of the problems I had created in my own mind were irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. It occurred to me that there were things that mattered more than a career or relationship problems. It provoked an unexpected freedom from within.
They say many people encounter these feelings, as the weightlessness provides a distraction from life by triggering a meditative and mindful state of mind. It has been proven that this can even decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety overall, even looking at the sea on a regular basis is associated with lower levels of psychological distress. Additionally, the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain leading to a deeply relaxed state of mind.
Being by the sea instantly provides holistic therapy, not only because it elevates my state of mind, but it also increases my physical health. I feel more relaxed and sleep more soundly while being more energised and alert at the same time. That is because sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate the ability to absorb oxygen. These negative ions balance serotonin levels, a natural hormone linked with mood and stress.
The eczema on my skin, which I had since I was a baby, magically disappeared as I spent more time by the sea. On the one hand, ultraviolet radiation (UV light) has the power to heal skin diseases because it promotes endorphin production, which is a natural happy-making hormone. On the other hand, the components potassium and chloride in seawater have the capacity to heal irritated skin. Even skin elasticity increases when we bathe in seawater. Another thing that went was hay fever, as seawater decreases nasal irrigation.
These new substances have the potential to protect against many types of cancer or heal Alzheimer’s disease, as well as treat inflammatory bowel diseases and battle aging. Hence, the more biodiversity and abundance lives in our oceans, the more likely we find substances that help us humans.
Unlike many other people who enjoy diving, I felt destined to study Marine Biology and Ecology and became convinced that the ocean held the key to the health of all of us. However,
I quickly realized that not many people were truly aware of scientific facts often felt depressed because we are ruining our own well of healing and inspiration.
Oceans provide roughly 50 – 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe. However, due to climate change, we are slowly decreasing the production of oxygen. Oceans further cool the climate down by absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide, a tribe house gas, out of the atmosphere. But they are now saturated to a state where they cannot absorb any further of these gasses and thus, their pH-value is changing and acidifying the water. This doesn’t affect us now, but it affects the biodiversity of marine life. Continuous circulation of water not only provides us with an immense richness of nutrients, it also circulates the air. Without the oceans, no life would have ever been born.
I don’t believe in rigorous and fundamental environmental activism, as it all too often sets people up for frustration and depression. Hardcore environmentalists often build barriers around themselves and long-term fundamental changes in our society cannot establish. No healing takes place on either side.
Instead, I believe that it is time to stop separating ourselves from nature. We are a part of it, just like anything else. I think we naturally tend to care more about our environment when we can connect with its essence like I did when I was on this dive. The peace and love I felt in such a place, changed my life and my thinking about life forever.
There are many reasons to decide to spend more time by the ocean – when you need to re-balance and relax, when you need to recover from something, or to remember the possibilities in life, when you need to refocus, or when you seek refreshment and rejuvenation. One of the most impactful reasons though is for holistic therapy. That is the realization that there are more important things in life than our thoughts.
Spend a day by the ocean in the coming week and let us know how you feel after. Better or worse? Share your response with us on our Facebook page here.
About the Author
Hi, I am Bibi! I have set sails as Flowriter, and have currently moored in Bali, where I tell stories to connect people, ocean and business with innovation, so that we can build the communities of the future together.