Summertime and the gradual increase in temperature probably means that you’re making more frequent trips to beside the sea. If you are, then it could be likely that you’ve ventured into the sea for a refreshing dip! There is a group of brave adventurous people in Ireland that Sea Swim all year round, and so can you if you prepare well, plus there are countless benefits for both body and mind. Let’s talk about the wholesome fantastic hobby of sea swimming!
The Origin of Sea Swimming
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, doctors began prescribing Sea Swimming for various medical ailments. In fact, they would detail how long and how frequently the patients should be in the water. Using seawater for medical purposes even has a name: thalassotherapy.
Skin & Immune System
Seawater is rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride and sulphate that work as natural cosmetics for our skin. Therefore, sea swimming can help soothe and benefit those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. While trace elements and micro-organisms found in the ocean also have anti-bacterial properties and can, therefore, act as natural antibiotics. These components are absorbed by the skin when you swim helping to enhance the body’s health & wellbeing.
The art of Hydrotherapy, which is typically known to help people with chronic joint pain and arthritis, has also been known to help reduce levels of anxiety and depression in those who suffer from the same. Studies have shown that water therapy helps increase the production of beta-endorphins (the ‘feel-good’ molecules).
In addition, according to scientist and activist Wallace J. Nichols, the Blue Mind “refers to a mildly meditative, relaxed state that we find ourselves in when we are in, on or underwater”. This would indicate that a daily swim can have huge benefits for our mental health. Research has shown that swimming can have a positive effect on anxiety and depression and those who consistently swim have made less frequent visits to a mental health professional.
Nasal irrigation with salty solutions is used as a therapy by many people who suffer from sinus issues or hay fever. Have you ever used an at-home saline solution to help flush out sinuses and mucus? Well, next time your sinuses are annoying you, think about going for a swim, as saltwater can be beneficial for those with chronic sinus issues. Think of it as natures very own saline solution!
Exercise & Wellbeing
Exercising in natural environments has been shown to have greater benefits for mental health than exercising elsewhere. Therefore, it would indicate that sea swimming may be more beneficial to some, than going to a chlorinated pool. Swimming in the sea can actively improve your health and wellness with calming immersion and daylight exposure. Rich in magnesium, seawater can also help to relieve stress, relax your muscles and promote deep sleep.
Cold Water Therapy
Most of us shy away from swimming in the sea during winter. However, a blast of cool water also has health benefits!
- It builds Mental Strength - Exposing yourself to cold water on a regular basis produces a positive pain like effect that can provide benefits to your body.
- Reduces Muscle Pain: Coldwater and bathing in ice have long been linked with helping to reduce inflammation and speed up muscle recovery.
- Increases Blood Flow and Circulation: When cold water hits your skin all your capillaries open then close causing blood to bathe all your organs and your glands. Increased circulation and blood flow can also mean that nutrients and skin significant hormones can quickly travel to the surface resulting in an all-natural, rosy glow!
VOYA & Sea Swimming
Here at VOYA our MD Mark Walton and his brother Neil Walton, owner of our sister company the VOYA Seaweed Baths in Strandhill, Co. Sligo reap the benefits of sea swimming on a regular basis! Most recently Mark competed in the 2019 Warrior of the Sea 6km sea swim from Rosses point to Strandhill hosted by Sligo Masters and Open Water Swim Club! Leading by example in the wellness department!