Often, going for a swim in the ocean is labelled as a fun holiday activity, an adventure, or a way to simply enjoy nature. However, there are some incredible hidden health benefits of sea swimming that many people have not yet heard of.
The term ‘thalassotherapy’ is used to describe using seawater for improving overall health and well-being, and is derived from the Greek word “thalassa”, meaning sea or ocean.
Thalassotherapy is growing in popularity, with more and more people becoming aware of its benefits and thus more services being offered around it. They include seawater baths, pools, exercise in heated pools, products containing sea minerals, and skin treatments.
Let’s go through some of the main benefits of sea swimming.
1. Skin Healing
The sea is an abundance of natural vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride, and sulphate, all of which work as natural treatments for your skin.
The magnesium evident in seawater assists with the retention of moisture in the skin whilst absorbing toxins, lowers cortisol levels in the body, and reduces stress-induced breakouts.
Research has also suggested that those with atopic skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema benefit from sea swimming as the anti-inflammatory components of the water helps with the healing.
Read More: Best Natural Herbs For Eczema
2. Wellness & Wellbeing
Wellness has several dimensions, include emotional well-being and physical well-being (see ref. 1). One of the many benefits of sea swimming is that the entire experience contributes to improving your overall health and wellness. There are many elements in the seawater that can support healing processes in your body.
From the calming effect of immersing yourself into nature as well as getting a sizeable amount of sun, sea swimming can instantly lift your psyche.
Studies have shown that those who regularly swim feel that it positively affects them, making them feel happier, more motivated to complete daily tasks, and that life feels more manageable (see ref. 2).
Another reason sea swimming can assist with your mental wellbeing is that it acts as a mindfulness practice. When you completely immerse your body into cold water, the shock to your system makes you concentrate on only your present being. You tend to only focus on your breathing and once you start swimming, your mind and body slows down, almost like a calming meditation exercise.
3. Blood Circulation and Immune System
Swimming is known to improve bloody circulation around our bodies. The cold water essentially effectively moves the bloody quickly from our extremities to the major organs and back around again once we’ve warmed up.
The increased bloody flow and circulation can also improve your skin, producing a natural glow.
More about blood circulation: Best Herbs For Blood Circulation
As mentioned earlier, the ocean is full of vitamins and minerals. They get absorbed into your body the more time you spend in the water and you can breathe them in when inhaling the fresh ocean mist.
This exposure to the ocean water increases the production of white blood cells, an important process for the body to fight off infection and overall improve your body’s immunity (see ref. 3).
4. Assists with Respiratory Issues
As we all know, the sea is full of salty water. Salty water is beneficial for anyone with sinus issues because it acts as an all-natural saline solution. It provides relief through opening up the sinuses by assisting the cilia to breakdown and shift the mucus.
5. Cold Water Therapy
Hydrotherapy is the use of bodies of water for pain relief and treatment (see ref. 4) and is practiced by many health professionals.
Studies have shown that water therapy can help people reduce chronic join pain and arthritis, reduce anxiety levels, and alleviate pain associated with asthma and bronchitis. It also helps with general body aches and pain and is known to reduce inflammation and speed up muscle recovery.
Immersing yourself regularly into bodies of cold water can also produce a positive resistance to pain-like effects that can benefit your body and mind.
Read More: Cold Shower vs Hot Shower
Sea Swimming Health Benefits – In Short
Sea swimming is a great activity that you can partake in to improve your body and mind. It can assist with ailments across your entire body, from healing your outer skin and addressing your respiratory issues, to improving your blood circulation and immune system, and overall improving your mental wellbeing.
Remember that swimming in the ocean can be rejuvenating and reinvigorating but it is imperative that you do so in a safe manner.
Taking such precautions as knowing your swimming ability limits, not doing the activity alone, and being aware that the ocean can change in an instant will make your experience much safer and more enjoyable.