After spending a week floating in the soothing 0cean water in Hawaii, and hearing story after story from locals regarding the ‘magic’ healing properties of the sea – I did a bit of googling to confirm or reject these claims.
While ‘magic’ isn’t the exact word scientists have used to describe the healing and healthful properties of clean ocean water (there’s some nasty stuff out there on polluted beaches) – there are quite a few proven benefits. I liked this simple wrap up by writer Sharin Griffin from Livestrong.com – it is easy to understand and best of all she cites her sources!
Skin disorders such rosacea, psoriasis and eczema are also helped by the ocean’s salt water as minerals and amino acids in the water draw out impurities. With the removal of these toxins also comes faster healing time during flare ups where open lesions are present. Rashes from plant allergies or heat are also soothed by ocean water, improving skin texture and boosting your skin’s natural immunities. Waters are believed to increase blood circulation, thus speeding up skin cell regeneration, cutting healing times in half.
Warm baths have been attributed with stress reduction properties, but many may not realize the long-term stress reduction benefits of ocean water. The minerals in ocean water decrease stress and increase a sense of well-being. Water temperature also plays a major role in your emotional health when swimming in ocean water. Cool ocean water in the spring and fall months provides a soothing treatment for your nerves while warmer waters in the summer months relax your muscles, according to Dr. Connie Hernandez and Dr. Marcel Hernandez of Pacific Naturopathic in Mountain View, California.
Iodine, one of the trace minerals found in ocean water, is directly linked to your body’s natural ability to fight off infection. Iodine in ocean water boosts your thyroid function, increasing your immune system. For this reason, ocean swimming is known as preventative treatment from certain illnesses and infections. Ocean water also increases the amount of oxygen carried throughout your bloodstream and and provides the nutrients required by your blood cells to fight off free radicals.
And down to the cellular level!
This research reminded me of an article I had done on the health benefits of seaweed detox wraps. This particular study has stuck with me evensince;
To illustrate the importance of detoxification, we need look no further than the work of Dr. Alexis Carrell. Nobel Laureate (1912), Dr. Carrell was awarded this honor for his pioneering work in France on organ and tissue transplants. To prove that animal cells can live in a seawater medium, he placed chicken embryo cells in a special flask engineered with the help of Charles Lindburg. The seawater bath used was isotonic meaning that it was a saline solution. The cells thrived for 5 weeks before eventually expiring.
Carrell was curious to learn what actually caused the cells to perish. He discovered that due to the buildup of toxins in the form of metabolic wastes, the pH of the water acidified that deteriorated their environment. It could be argued that this is an example of an ecological disaster like Lake Erie. So he repeated the experiment; and this time, he drained the toxic water and kept a fresh supply of seawater flowing in daily. Rather than perishing in 5 weeks, he kept these cells alive for 22 years! This lead to his famous quote: “The cell is immortal; it is merely the fluid in which it bathes that deteriorates.”