Why Is the Ocean So Healthy for Addiction and Mental Health?

Why Is the Ocean So Healthy for Addiction and Mental Health?

There are several complex challenges when one enters recovery. One is getting present, letting go and “just be.” If you think about it, it’s hard enough to do that even if you are not in recovery. Meditation, breath work, yoga, and the great outdoors help. However, being near the ocean is a game changer. That’s why more and more ocean-close and wellness-minded treatment and recovery centers are using salt water therapy as part of their mental health wellness plan.

What Is Salt Water Therapy?

As the name describes, it means getting in or reasonably close to the ocean to heal or help mental health issues. The ocean is an amazing healing tool and an evidence-based and proven therapy alternative that resets the brain while minimizing anxiety. It’s also an amazing way to relieve stress and depression while taking gratitude to a new level. Healthcare professionals encourage many patients to use salt water therapy to minimize symptoms related to underlying mental health issues. It also has many benefits for physical well-being.

The Ocean Is an Amazing Tool

The ocean contains 120 million tons of salt per cubic mile of ocean. That means you can float in its extreme buoyancy with ease. You can feel weightless as if gravity has shifted. That’s outstanding for your physical well-being, such as sore muscles and joints. It’s also good for letting go of one’s anxieties, worries, and stress. Being in the ocean changes our brain frequency and puts us in a calm place. The sound of the waves coming in and out can put someone in a meditative space. The feeling of sand under our feet and between our toes is natural. No shoes. No cement or asphalt. I

Enjoy It From The Sand

We live our lives on land. So let’s leave life there and dissolve our challenges with each wave. What if one doesn’t want to go in the water, or the water is too cold? One powerful, meditative exercise is to stare at the ocean from the sand and watch a swell roll into a wave; just one. Then watch it crash, dissipate and roll towards the beach until it either loses steam or rolls right up to the sand. That wave represents one of your biggest emotional challenges, fears, or anxieties, and watch it go away, at least for that moment.

The sand is a great place to leverage traditional mediation. The beach has calming sounds from the waves, birds, and wind. This environment cultivates a sense of mindfulness, making you aware of the moment and what is around you. You can utilize this to help you process difficult thoughts and discover the root of why you feel a certain way.

The sun is rich in Vitamin D, which helps improve mood and boost the immune system. However, make sure if you are going to be on the beach or in the water to bring sunscreen.

Breathe in Negative Ions

Ocean air is filled with negative ions, which help us absorb oxygen. Negative ions mainly come from ions of sodium, magnesium, chloride, and sulfate present in seawater. Negative ions mean positive mood. The more negative ions you breathe and feel, the better quality of sleep you will get at night. Sleep is essential to a person’s mental health. Once detected by the bloodstream, negative ions produce biological chemicals and reactions that increase mood-altering serotonin levels. That minimizes depression and stress while boosting energy, creativity, and well-being.

All of this may be surprisingly new and natural for someone struggling to overcome symptoms of a mental health disorder. Salt water therapy is a form of dialectical behavioral therapy: finding a connection and amplifying that connection healthily, or replacing riding out a craving or emotional trigger with riding a wave or feeling the sensation of being in the ocean.

Ions equal peace and calm. Here are a few added salt water benefits:

  • Helps with trauma and PTSD
  • Elevates feelings of gratitude and happiness
  • Restores calm while reducing heart rate
  • The ocean is multi-sensory. It affects sight, sound, smell, and feel
  • The ocean naturally ignites dopamine, the “feel good” hormone
  • The ocean naturally ignites serotonin, the “happy” hormone
  • The ocean naturally ignites oxytocin, the “cuddle” hormone
  • The ocean minimizes serotonin, the “stress” hormone

You can’t get much closer to a “higher power” than when in the ocean. If the ocean is not a true connection to oneself or something much more significant than oneself, we don’t know what is. Consider a facility close to the ocean when seeking diagnosis and treatment for a mental health disorder.

Wellness and outdoor adventure therapy are integral to today’s treatment of mental health disorders. The ocean offers countless benefits to individuals struggling to overcome symptoms of an underlying mental health disorder. The ocean also touches all of our senses deeply. At Alter Wellness Care, we are located right on Laguna Beach and incorporate the benefits of the ocean into our treatment plans. In addition to utilizing the ocean, we also offer a variety of other conventional and holistic approaches to care. Our goal is to help you and your family understand mental health and how to successfully manage the underlying symptoms through developing healthy habits. Our evidence-based and curated treatment programs will support your recovery path. If you or a loved one needs help, don’t wait; act today. To find out more information about our programs, contact Alter Wellness Care by calling us at (866) 311-3510.

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