“The sea cures all ailments.” – Plato
It’s not just a myth, being in or near the ocean really is good for you. And for thousands of years, civilisations around the globe have leveraged its healing power.
In this edition, PADI®, the world’s largest and most popular diver organisation, highlights the healing powers that the ocean provides, whether you are simply within close proximity of it or diving beneath the salty surface for an underwater adventure.
For more information about PADI visit www.padi.com
The Science Behind the Healing Powers of the Salty Sea
PADI wants to ensure all of humanity benefit from the healing powers of the salty sea, so they are on a mission to create one billion torchbearers for ocean change – working together to restore our blue planet’s healthy balance. PADI torchbearers are anyone who cares deeply about healing the planet, above and below the surface. Someone who believes there is a better and more responsible way for humanity to live in balance with nature, and is ready to take action to prove it.
Whether or not you are a diver, saltwater offers us a natural healing superpower that enriches each of our lives – and the best part? There is no cost to this. There’s a science behind how this unique body of water that comprises more than 70% of Earth can truly help each and every one of us. It’s no coincidence our bodies are 70% water – as is our planet.
Ever wonder why you feel so much better at the beach or at sea? We have the scientific answers that prove it’s much more than just a mindset.
1. Saltwater Rejuvenates You
Thanks to the high magnesium levels in saltwater, being in or near the ocean will literally help regulate your muscles and nerve functionality, moderate blood sugar levels and improve your sleep. This will leave you feeling rejuvenated, with the rhythmic sounds of the waves equally helping balance out your circadian rhythm. Magnesium is a critical element in our bodies – and one many people are deficient in.
2. Saltwater Improves Your Skin
Vitamin Sea is not just a cute ocean pun; it highlights how saltwater is an essential nutrient for our body’s biggest organ–our skin! Saltwater is rich with minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and potassium, which all help reduce inflammation, protect our skin, and heal any scrapes, cuts, or sores. Saltwater can also help enhance the flow of lymph, which can reduce the appearance of cellulite.
3. Saltwater Increases Your Consumption of Trace Minerals
Our bodies need trace minerals to function and develop optimally. It just so happens that saltwater has many of the essential trace nutrients we need, including magnesium, manganese, cobalt, sodium, calcium, potassium, and boron. You do not need to drink saltwater to get these trace minerals. They will simply be absorbed by your body through your skin – your largest organ – when you are in or near the ocean
4. Saltwater Improves Your Breathing
Swimming, diving, or even simply floating in saltwater can enhance your breathing abilities. In fact, it can also alleviate symptoms from hay fever, sinusitis and asthma too. This is because the saline in the ocean reduces inflammation and mimics your body’s own fluids.
Because sea air has high salt content, it is quite thick. This means that as you breathe it in, it’s clearing your throat and respiratory system, allowing clearer breathing and better-quality sleep. Sea air is also known to keep you awake and energetic during the day because it is much cooler.
5. Saltwater Literally Grounds Us
Have you ever felt at peace with the world when you walk barefoot on the beach? There is a scientific reason for that known as “grounding.” Positive electrons in the form of free radicals can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the sand and saltwater, which have negative charges, literally balances this out. This is why you likely feel more energized and relaxed at the same time when on the beach–and why many of us feel naturally drawn to the sea.
6. Saltwater Boosts Our Immunity
Did you know that saltwater has been proven to help heal those with weakened immune systems, anemia, and high blood sugar levels? In fact, saltwater is now being used in modern medicine now more so than ever before–specifically for its ability to help our immune system stay strong against viruses, bacteria and pathogens. Ocean water strengthens the body against viruses, low defenses, bacteria and pathogens. In fact, saltwater from the ocean and our blood plasma are 98% identical.
Dive Into Wellness: PADI’s Top Benefits of Scuba
Wanting to dive deeper into the healing powers of the saltwater? As a PADI Open Water Diver, you will be able to optimise the wellness benefits that our blue planet gives us all.
1. Get a Boost of Vitamin D
The last two years have specifically shown the correlation between vitamin D and our overall health. A great way to get your daily boost of vitamin D is by being outside in the sunshine. A daily dive in the ocean (wearing reef-safe sunscreen) will ensure your body gets the right dose of this essential vitamin.
2. Be Conscious of Your Breath
The golden rule in scuba diving is to never stop breathing. So naturally, you are going to focus on your breath in ways that you may not do so while on land. Breathing mindfully will not only help you stay neutrally buoyant but equally calm your nervous system, boost your immune system and get rid of any negative emotions.
3. Find That State of Flow
Being present and in a state of flow is something that naturally often occurs while driving. In fact, you will likely find yourself in a meditative mind frame when beneath the surface as you will be fully immersed in diving, breathing, and the magical blue world surrounding you–with your worries left far behind back ashore. There are several studies behind the “blue mind” theory: the mildly meditative state we fall into when near, in, on or under water.
4. Enhance Your Fitness
Diving will give you a workout without you even realizing it. The physical movements you do while diving will feel relaxed but equally keep get your heart pumping, your muscles toned, and your endurance enhanced. Water is a great medium to exercise in, providing pressure from every angle without impact.
5. Decrease Your Blood Pressure
While your heart rate will undoubtedly increase from excitement when you encounter a dolphin, shark, or manta ray underwater, the overall diving experience is a relaxing one. That means often stress and anxiety levels decrease, along with your heart rate and blood pressure being lowered.
6. Enjoy a Boost of Dopamine and Serotonin
Diving and being in the moment will give you happy hormones, known as dopamine and serotonin. Exploring, being present, and seeing a whole new world beneath the surface is not only stimulating but directly aids in our body producing more of these happy hormones and will leave you feeling great for the rest of the day.
7. Improve Your Quality of Sleep
There is no better way to follow up a great day of diving than with an evening of relaxation. Many divers find it easier to sleep after a day of diving, especially as the hits of dopamine and serotonin wear off later in the day. Chances are you may even have more vivid dreams of the magical underwater world you just experienced firsthand.
Top Wellness PADI Dive Resorts
Find the perfect balance of wellness both above and below the salty surface.
Six Senses Fiji | Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
Find happiness in this island nation nestled in the South Pacific PADI Dive Resort Six Senses offers guests access to a Fiji wellness expert who will customise your itinerary with personalized wellness treatments, sleep programs and nutritional menu planning. It is the perfect way to spend a surface interval after having a life-changing connection with a sea turtle, shark or manta ray while on your daily dive.
Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences | Amilla Fushi, Maldives
Meditate with manta rays in the UNESCO-protected Baa Atoll and then balance it out with a detox bath ceremony as part of your wellness package to this newly opened resort. This PADI Dive Resort even offers guests the chance to experience “sensora”–which is a multi-sensory light, sound and vibration session aimed at washing away any anxiety or stress you may have arrived with.
Windjammer Landing Beach Resort and Spa | Labrelotte Bay, St Lucia
This PADI Dive Resort has turned their glittering gem-toned waters into an actual underwater yoga studio. Guests at this wellness resort are invited for a wholesome day out at sea, where they will start with pranayama on the boat and then take their breathwork lessons underwater while staying zen amongst the fish–even learning how to do some aquatic yoga positions too. The hotel’s on-land spa also offers guests with a chance to keep their physical and spiritual healing flowing when back from the day out at sea.
Misool Eco Resort | Raja Ampat, Indonesia
This PADI Dive Resort allows you to fully disconnect from the outside world and get immersed in your natural surrounding. Located within a 465 square mile Marine Protected Area that includes part of an 18,000 square mile shark and manta ray sanctuary, you will be blissing out beneath the surface all day long. Back on land every guest at the resort gets their own team of staff to customise your stay, including a range of traditional Indonesian spa treatments
Photo Credit: Neil Andrea