Free Healing - by Rebecca Carey


I’ve always had a fascination with water, particularly the ocean and I’m sure a lot of you have too. I’ve always seemed to be drawn to it as it gives me a sense of calm and often inspires me. Lately, I’ve started to question why.

This interest was sparked by reading ‘Blue Mind’ by Wallace J. Nichols. He explains how water makes us happier, more connected and better at what we do, backed up by credible science. Following this, I hope to inspire you all to spend more time in, by and around South Australia’s beautiful coast.

It is no secret that being out in nature positively increases our psychological, social and emotional wellbeing. However, the ocean seems to have the upper hand in comparison to green landscapes. It has been revealed that everyday visits to the coast, were associated with higher levels of relaxation, calmness and revitalization than urban parks or open country side. Additionally, people living by the coast are actually heathier and happier. This does not come as a shock as the ocean provides a plethora of physical activities to decrease stress and improve mindfulness.

*photo by Hernan Pauccara from Pexels

I’m often blown away by the healing powers of the ocean. I recently came across a study which explained the concept of ‘surf therapy’ and how a 6 week surf program decreased PTSD, anxiety and depression in active duty service members. They also had an overall more positive outlook on life. The ocean really has healing powers.

Furthermore, a group of highly stressed individuals (on the brink of full time sick leave) were subject to a flotation-REST technique. Where they spent time in salt water, for a total of 20 sessions. The outcome of this was quite astonishing, the results showed that all individuals felt full of energy and strength, decimating the need for any sick leave. Following this they also experienced a decrease in body pain, and an increase in optimism towards life. Imagine the wealth of benefits a daily ocean swim could have on your life, as Wallace J. Nichols would say, get ya feet wet!

We are all guilty of spending too much time on technology, however we never really delve deep into how this is affecting our day to day life. Technology has shown to disturb the ‘default mode’ networks of the brain, which is crucial for efficient performance of tasks, such  as problem solving and divergent thinking. On the other hand, being in nature engages the ‘default mode’ sharpening our skills and clarity of thinking. So, maybe before that job interview, busy day at work or exam week, limit the time spent of technology and get amongst nature.

Ok, only one more cool science study I promise….

Research has shown that, a visit to an aquarium helped individuals develop a ‘marine mindset’, which means a willingness and readiness to address marine sustainability issues. This is why the Marine Discovery Centre (MDC) is so important, this same impact is created at the MDC by the use of practical learning. Our awareness and understanding about our coasts, can help generate support to preserve the richness and beauty of our oceans and marine fauna.

I could write about this all day, but we can now all see that the ocean and surrounding natural environment provides such a wealth of benefits, many of which we don’t even realise. By reading this I hope we all do our bit to become stewards in marine conservation, educate others and thank our oceans every day!

By Rebecca Carey