by Marcel Hernandez, N.D.
The physical and spiritual appeal of water has attracted the infirm and weary throughout history. The Greeks soaked in sea water hot tubs and heated seaweed baths, drank and inhaled sea water for health, got sea water massages, had sea green facials and body wraps, and used sea water pools for hydrotherapy and elimination of toxins from the body.
In modern upscale spas and resorts the sea is used to reduce tension and stress, detoxify the skin and improve circulation, speed weight loss and cellulite control, and even ease menopausal discomforts.
The ocean a boundless therapeutic reservoir of health. It contains all of the vital elements needed by our bodies: vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, amino acids, and living microorganisms that secrete antibiotic, bacteriostatic, and hormonal substances with biological balancing effects. These substances are easily assimilated by our bodies during sea bathing.
An interesting fact is that seawater has a composition similar to our blood plasma.
You don’t have to get wet to have the ocean work its healing magic. The gas molecules in ocean mist create a spray that’s rich in iodine which helps regulate the thyroid gland.
The spray is also loaded with negative ions that strengthen the body’s immune defense mechanisms. The ocean mist of extremely small molecules enters the body through the respiratory system, where they attach to the walls of the lungs for distribution throughout the body.
Direct contact with ocean water is even more therapeutic. Seawater baths open the pores and help eliminate toxins from the body. Swimming or wading brings our bodies in contact with the sea’s pulsing, massaging waves, its rare minerals, and its dissolved gases.
Although few realize it, our skin is our body’s largest organ. Human skin absorbs chemicals just as readily as it excretes chemicals through sweat. The magnesium content of seawater is significant enough to have a nutritional and calming effect on our nerves, which explains why sea bathing is so relaxing.
The potassium in seawater enters the skin and encourages good urinary flow.
Seawater contains all 89 known elements present in our bodies, including osmium, gold, vanadium, zinc, and iodine.
The skin is the exchange barrier through which these substances pass into the bloodstream from the surrounding environment. During swimming, the negative ions move through the epidermis into the dermis, where they are taken up by the capillaries and distributed by the blood to various organs. Calcium ions are carried to the bones, while potassium ions are directed toward the muscles.
The therapeutic effects of the ocean go far beyond the merely physical benefits. The sea makes us dream. It promotes a feeling of liberation and wanderlust. To sailors, there is no feeling so liberating as the ocean breeze filling the sails. Our evolutionary roots are in the sea, and we are drawn to it mystically.
It is our nature to stand silent on the seashore or on a cliff and gaze at the ocean for extended periods, unmoving. The sound of the ocean flowing and crashing against rocks fills us with wonder and promotes a sense of calmness. The sea has the power to relax and renew us, relieve our stress and pain, and soothe our soul.
The sea offers us a healing magic that transcends drugs and prescriptions. It forces us to become involved with it. The ocean draws on the strength of plants from the Earth, the water that is a part of all life, and the mineral salts from which our bodies are created.
In color therapy, “ocean blue” is used to balance or enhance freedom verbal and artistic freedom of expression, integrity, honesty, loyalty, reliability, gentleness, kindness, commitment, and endurance.
Here in northern California, we have the advantage of living a short distance from the Pacific. When we’re at our retreat in Hawaii, the pure ocean air wafts deliciously into our everyday environment. Re-visiting this article, which I first published many years ago, is moving me to hop in the car and go!
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