Embracing Blue Therapy: The Healing Power of Water

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding moments of peace and tranquillity can seem like an impossible task. However, there’s one natural element that has been proven to have a profound impact on our health and wellbeing: water. From the soothing sounds of the sea to the invigorating rush of a wild swim, water has long been revered for its therapeutic properties. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of ‘blue therapy’ and delve into the many ways in which embracing the blue can enhance both our physical and mental wellness.

The Blue Gym: The term ‘blue space’ encompasses a diverse range of aquatic environments, from oceans and rivers to lakes and waterfalls. These natural spaces, collectively referred to as the ‘blue gym’, offer more than just aesthetic beauty – they serve as catalysts for increased physical activity, stress reduction, and community building. Research has shown that a staggering 50% of the UK population interacts with blue spaces at least once a month, highlighting their widespread appeal and accessibility. Moreover, studies have linked proximity to water with a reduced risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, underscoring the therapeutic benefits of incorporating blue spaces into our lives.

Water for Mental Wellness: The calming influence of blue spaces on our mental state is backed by science. Exposure to water can trigger a biological response that lowers levels of stress hormones, regulates breathing, and slows heart rate, leading to feelings of calmness and improved mood. Dr. Catherine Kelly, author of Blue Spaces: How & Why Water Can Make You Feel Better, explains that the meditative quality of gazing at the horizon fosters mindfulness and a sense of connection to something greater (source). Whether it’s a serene lakeside retreat or a tranquil riverside walk, urban dwellers can also reap the mental health benefits of water by seeking out blue spaces in their own cities and towns.

Body Benefits: Beyond its mental health benefits, water also offers numerous advantages for physical wellbeing. Engaging in activities such as swimming, surfing, or simply strolling by the water encourages physical movement and exercise, leading to improved cardiovascular health and the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine. Studies have even suggested that cold-water swimming can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and menopause, thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects on the body (source). Claire Powell, a resident of Wirksworth, Derbyshire, attests to the therapeutic power of coastal living, describing how proximity to water has served as a source of solace and strength during challenging times.

In a world filled with stress and uncertainty, the healing power of water offers a beacon of hope and rejuvenation. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll along the shore or a refreshing dip in the ocean, incorporating blue therapy into our lives can have profound effects on both our physical and mental wellbeing. So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or in need of a mood boost, consider embracing the blue and letting the healing waters work their magic.

5 Ways to Soak Up Blue Space:

  1. Immerse Yourself in Nature Sounds: Listening to the gentle lapping of waves or the soothing rush of a waterfall can evoke feelings of calmness, focus, and creativity. Even if you don’t have access to a natural water feature, you can still experience the therapeutic benefits of water by incorporating nature sounds into your environment. Consider installing a battery-powered water feature in your garden or balcony, or download an app like Naturespace, which offers a variety of ocean sounds to help you relax and unwind.
  2. Indulge in a Relaxing Bath: There’s nothing quite like a leisurely soak in the tub to melt away stress and tension. Dr. Catherine Kelly recommends taking advantage of the calming effects of water by treating yourself to a rejuvenating bath. Add some bath salts or essential oils for an extra touch of luxury, and allow yourself to fully unwind as you soak in the healing waters.
  3. Embrace the Cold Shower: Inspired by the techniques of Wim Hof, also known as The Iceman, who champions the benefits of cold exposure, consider incorporating cold showers into your routine. While it may sound daunting, a brief blast of cold water can have invigorating effects on the body, stimulating anti-inflammatory responses and boosting overall wellbeing. Start with a few seconds of cold water at the end of your shower and gradually increase the duration as you become more accustomed to the sensation.
  4. Express Your Creativity: Tap into your artistic side by sketching or painting scenes inspired by the sea. Whether you’re capturing the serenity of a coastal sunset or the dynamic energy of crashing waves, expressing yourself through art can be both therapeutic and rewarding. Alternatively, if you prefer to stay active, consider incorporating regular bike rides along scenic blue routes into your routine, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of nature while staying fit and healthy.
  5. Savour the Outdoors: Make the most of your time outdoors by immersing yourself in blue spaces whenever possible. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll along the beach or a picnic by the river, spending time in nature can have profound effects on your overall wellbeing. Take advantage of opportunities to connect with the natural world around you, and reap the countless benefits that blue space has to offer.

Incorporating these simple yet effective strategies into your daily routine can help you harness the healing power of water and experience greater levels of health, happiness, and vitality.

Sincere thanks to woman&home Magazine for their article “Embrace the blue” published June 2022 which served as inspiration for the contents of this blog.