The sea has long been a favorite destination for individuals seeking to treat different ailments and for convalescent patients.
In the 19th century England, seawater baths gained popularity as an unconventional convalescence treatment for an assortment of ailments, which range from melancholy to respiratory ailments. Patients have been told to devote some time by the sea or to enter baths filled with seawater to help them return to health.
The foundation of utilizing seawater in medicine goes back much longer, however. There’s evidence, for example, the Ancient Egyptians used it in the treatment of severe wounds and burns. To this very day, the amount of scientific literature on the subject remains quantitatively significant, but the quality of the evidence concerning sea water’s curative benefits varies broadly. The majority of the research has focused on its effect on skin ailments and mental health.
Seawater and skin ailments
For several decades, anecdotes of people with psoriasis locating relief from spending some time in salt baths or more generally, in mineral-rich water, have been reported. Even the Dead Sea, in particular, is famous for its high levels of calcium and has been a favorite destination for people who wish to try out an alternative treatment course to help handle their skin condition.
A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that patients who have chronic, stable, plaque-type psoriasis benefited from spending some time in the Dead Sea, taking sea baths, and getting sunlight exposure, which led to remission periods lasting over three months normally. These results were then backed up by subsequent and more recent studies, although none explained which components of seawater, if any, had this effect.
“Any progress observed after swimming in the sea could be explained by exposure to UVB rays from sunlight as this may improve skin conditions, such as psoriasis.
A huge inspection zoomed in on different trials of seawater therapy and found that eczema patients’ responses to seawater and salt baths, in general, were highly variable.
“Research about the benefits of seawater on inflammatory skin conditions is very limited. There’s some evidence to suggest that water from the Dead Sea can help to improve eczema flares; however, most evidence is anecdotal,” Rai explains.
It’s also possible that it’s not merely seawater per se that is having an impact. It might be that being in a new environment, using another climate, by the shore, is what helps some patients.
The mainstay of treatment for eczema and psoriasis incorporates topical therapies and biologics in the event of psoriasis, says Rai.
Improving your mental health
This type of study has grown in popularity lately, in particular, as a result of the launch of BlueHealth, a pan-European research initiative investigating the connections between environment, climate, and health. In particular, scientists in the program consider how the sea along with other water-based environments can impact well-being.
There’s ample evidence to suggest that physical exercise is quite beneficial for mental health, specifically, to control stress and anxiety, partly because it encourages the release of endorphins (the feel-good hormones).
This, based on the study, appears to be much more true for people who exercise in natural, outdoor environments, including the ocean.
“Outdoor exercise, such as swimming at the sea, maybe especially valuable and some research suggests that outdoor exercise in this way can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression. The mental health charity also explained.
But swimming in the sea may also help mental health via other mechanisms. When we are swimming, our breathing patterns change, which might result in a more relaxed state.
Suggestions to enjoy the sea’s benefits
Don’t forget that sea generally means sunlight, and both sea and sunbathing have been linked to improvements for the skin. But get decent sunscreen too. “It is important that individuals make sure they remain protected whilst outside in the sun, due to the possible danger of developing skin cancer,” Rai says.
Do not stop taking your meds
Even if you decide swimming at the sea does help you, don’t stop the other remedies you are taking. In case you have concerns and want to change anything on your treatment program, talk with your doctors first, to get their advice.
Find an activity you enjoy
Select the physical task that works for you.
“While swimming in the sea attracts benefits for mental well-being for a lot of people, the most essential thing is to find a type of physical activity you enjoy and can do regularly. An outdoor swimming team or other team action might be ideal for you if you find being sociable provides you a boost, while others who gain from yourself, a task like running may do the job better,” Buckley says.