Vitamin Sea is real.
The sea, the sea!
For us sailors, seafarers and sea-lovers, our waters are our pastime, hobby, passion, tonic and for many, profession. It’s what we look forward to, enjoy and often long for when we aren’t around it.
Various studies have shown that being close to bodies of water improves our overall level of happiness, is incredibly therapeutic for us mentally and physically and encourages the release of a whole host of natural good-vibe hormones in our bodies. Studies have also indicated that those living close to the coast reported greater health and well-being than those in cities.
So what *exactly* is it about the sea?
We did a bit of investigating to understand why we feel drawn to it, and importantly, how its proven to be so good for our physical and mental wellbeing, and importantly, why we need to keep our waters clean…
What is it about Water?
Scientifically, our connection to water runs incredibly deep, innate to our very beginnings and genetic make-up
- We grow in / from water
- ~60% of our bodies are water
- We need to consume ~3 litres of water a day, to stay healthy
According to a study carried out by an international team of scientists and published in Nature, we human beings actually evolved from a microscopic species of fish, which lived about 540 million years ago. This means we originally came from the sea, before developing on land, through s hominid (‘great ape’) phase to where we are today.
Whilst this theory will no doubt undergo further testing, it’s clear that our affinity with water at least starts at the very beginning of our conception – in the womb. For the first 9 months of our lives, we grow in a warm water of amniotic fluid that includes the nutrients, hormones and antibodies we need to fully develop and survive once born. Fully grown, our bodies remain made-up of at least 60% water – that’s a lot!
Us humans also share more evolutionary adaptations to air-breathing aquatic mammals such as whales and dolphins than land mammals, like dogs and cows, with the ability to swim in and dive under water for a while without taking a breath. Swimming is also the first entirely well-developed skill of us as new-born babies. When born, we innately know how to hold our breath and move through and under water. This ability stays with us as we grow, as through freediving we have demonstrated that we can dive hundreds of feet underwater with one breath of air in our lungs, without being crushed by the increasing pressure. Our bodies are incredibly adapted to using and enjoying aquatic environments.
We need water
In the course of, well, being alive, most of our bodily functions, we lose water – breathing, sweating and well, going to the loo, so it’s important that we stay hydrated; to cleanse our system, stimulate healing and regeneration, sustain a healthy bloodflow and to regulate our body temperature and organs. Water also provide us with crucial minerals and elements we need to get by.
Because water is vital for our survival and as one of the primary ingredients for life, it is no surprise that for thousands of years us human beings have sought out water and built dwellings, then towns and cities around them. Most major settlements across the globe have evolved from wet sites – those on or very close to rivers or the sea, until the engineering of dams, hydraulic and sewages systems gave us the opportunity to live a little further afield. Still today, major world towns and cities share this same characteristic – proximity to water.
Today, around 80% of our total world population live close to water, it being a major source of food and specifically the primary source of protein for over 3 billion people, plus a source of livelihood.
But it goes deeper than that – beyond evolution and our biological needs, what else draw us to water?
The Sea on our bodies (and minds)
It’s no secret that spending time in and around nature and fresh air is calming and great for our health, but the sea in particular is a major source of physical and emotional nourishment.
The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.
Scientific studies have shown that the colour blue stimulates creativity, being the colour we most associate with openness, peace, tranquillity and safety, shown to help reduce our heart rate and ignite our feel-good hormones. This allows us to feel more at ease and better at expressing ourselves – no wonder, then, that a blue-green inspired by the River Tay in Scotland is purportedly our collective favourite colour across the world.
The colour blue, combined with the gentle, repetitive action of the sea and sounds has been shown to activate our parasympathetic nervous system, a whole network of connections and stimuli responsible for relaxing us, slowing us down and reducing our brain frequency towards a more meditative state. Add this to the sound of the waves, which promote alpha waves in our brains, (alpha waves = are when we are awake but relaxed, not overly focused or stressed) means for a very calming experience, reducing our levels of cortisol (stress hormone). Even putting your face into the sea, or cold water, (despite the initial shock!) stimulates the same response in us, as well as stimulating our bloodflow and leaving us glowing.
At sea, our expansive gives brains are also given a bit of an opportunity to rest – there are fewer cognitive stimulants, colours, sounds and distractions when out on the water, in comparison to everyday life (and unless you are racing!), meaning we can be in better control of our stress and adrenaline levels.
Mineral make-up of the Sea
As we evolved from the sea, it’s not so strange that our mineral profile is incredibly similar to that of our oceans.
Much like water in general, sea water also has a whole host of inherent properties that help to boost our minds and bodies. Containing minerals including magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride, vitamins, amino acids and sulphates, sea water:
- Is an excellent antiseptic – cuts and bites sting in saltwater but the healing effect of salt in a wound is well-known, even to gargle for a sore throat;
- The rich mineral content of the water, particularly in magnesium, is well-known to provide relief to and support healing of many skin conditions, including eczema;
- Salt water is super for stimulating the oxygenation process in our blood stream – super important in keeping us functioning tip-top;
- Fresh sea air has also been shown to be hugely beneficial for our health. It is charged with negative ions which stimulates our serotonin levels (literally our happy hormone!);
- Sea air has often travelled hundreds, if not thousands and miles and is constantly moving around. This helps to keep the air cleaner, greatly reducing pollution and the effects of inversion (where polluted air gets trapped in natural basin or as a result of little air movement).
- Sea air also contains tiny droplets of sea water – such aerosols are said to help stimulate immune reactions in our skin and also respiratory organs.
Aside from all the science….
“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”
President John F. Kennedy
There are hundreds of studies which share exactly what being near, in, on and under water does to our finely tuned physical, nervous, psychological and emotional systems, but aside from this there is a pure, simple instinct we hold about being close to or around the blue-stuff.
Water makes us feel calm, it gives us energy, it uplifts us and connects us back to the very source that gives and sustains our life.
We are water. Instinctively, we need and appreciate water.
Not only do we need clean seas for a healthy and functioning global ecosystem, the emotional, physical and psychological benefits of our beautiful Blue are priceless to us also. Our survival and sanity, in every sense, depends on it.
Let’s keep our seas clean and healthy, so we can stay the same way, too!