Blue Mind is Serious Wellness Science
The Blue Mind effect, Wallace J. Nichols the author of Blue Mind says, “May result at least in part from the action of catecholamine neurotransmitters. The neurochemicals, which relay stress signals in the brain, re-calibrate in water to low levels similar to those delivered by meditation reducing stress and anxiety.”
Humans have understood the therapeutic beneﬁts of water since ancient times. Early civilizations like Rome knew that baths were not only culturally important but also offered healing and relaxation. Ayurveda, Indian medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine, prescribe water for balancing the physical and mental body. Rivers have been known as sacred places and water has been a symbol of rebirth and cleansing. Our desire to be near aquatic environments may be explained by waters role in our evolutionary history. Clean water has always been critical to human survival. And remember, you were once ﬂoating in the saline water of your mother’s womb long before reading this.
Blue Mind, is far from a new abstract concept or a theory. It is supported by science. The University of Exeter Medical School in the UK looked into the idea that living near the coast improves both health and well being. They used census data and found this was true. Stress reduction near the ocean and beach side was profound. Japanese researchers conducted studies with 500 residents and found those who lived near the sea had greater emotions like peace and calm when compared to others living inland. In 2017, Spanish researchers reviewed more than 35 different studies and the results revealed an overwhelmingly positive association between exposure to outdoor blue spaces and mental health, stress reduction and well being. Water can have effects even in virtual forms. For instance, when cancer patients suffering chronic pain viewed nature videos that included sounds of the ocean, waterfalls and rivers, they experienced up to a 30 percent reduction in the stress hormone cortisol.
Water’s healthful effects are so great that aquatic therapists are now employing water to treat addictions, PTSD, anxiety, autism as well as many other conditions. Surfer’s often describes a Zen-like state they get by being on the water and catching and riding waves. But the goal of surfing therapy is not to teach people to surf. It is to get them to use the activity of surfing to help change their brain chemistry to Blue Mind. It
is no wonder that today humans still go to the water for these same purposes. One just has to think of how many vacations we spend near the beach, lake or river participating in water sports like swimming, sailing, fishing, scuba diving or visiting an aquarium.
Many of us enjoy just sitting near the water which can induce a mild meditative state of calm. We relish in water at home whether it’s a fountain, pool, or by taking a refreshing bath or shower. And many of us escape to the shower or bath knowing that this can get our creative ideas ﬂowing. We build homes near or on the water and will pay signiﬁcant sums of money for this. Our affinity for water is also seen in our attraction to the color blue. We’re naturally drawn to aquatic colors. Blue is the favorite color of people the world over.
“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Sylvia Plath, Poet
Blue Mind, Live Blue, Slow Coast & Groove ©™ (2009-2021) by WALLACE & Co. LLC