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a coral in the water

Swimming, floating, heck, even dipping your feet into salty seawater has so many health benefits, from your skin to your immune system to stress levels. It can clear ailments, soothe wounds, and absorb into your body, giving you vital elements like potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

I once heard the German painter, Anselm Keifer, talk in an interview about how the chemical composition of seawater was the same as human blood, just without red blood cells added in. Even though I thought I must have heard that before (Right? Something like that? In science class? On a health news exposé? Somewhere?) it’s pretty safe to say that my mouth hung open and my little mind was effectively blown. Whoa. And it’s true, the components of seawater are similar to blood plasma. I did some googling and found out one French scientist at the turn of the 20th Century even conducted an experiment by giving dogs blood transfusions, but without blood, but with, you guessed it, seawater.

Things got a little weird from there on my research journey. Is the ocean plasma?, someone asks. A lot of creationist blogs popped up. A tale or two about ancient Greeks soaking in saltwater tubs. Some poetic lines in articles about how the blood in our body is like a mini, contained ocean. Those were my favorite. But mostly I learned that having contact with seawater is just plain good for you.

The Benefits

Since the composition is so similar to blood, seawater gets easily absorbed through your skin and into your system, bringing all the nutrients and elements it’s made up of along with it. Plus, then it expels toxins on top of it, having a purifying effect throughout your whole body.

Swimming, especially in warm seawater like we have here in the Virgin Islands, gets your blood pumping and improves circulation. It can also help with things like asthma, arthritis, and bronchitis. The magnesium that gets absorbed can calm an overactive nervous system, and reduce anxiety, tensions, and that sort of clenched-nerve feeling we get when we’re stressed.

So, it’s not just overhyped, the beach really is relaxing!

I almost don’t even want to get started on the skin because there is so much to talk about. Let’s just say, as, for the biggest organ you’ve got, seawater does wonder.  It hydrates. It reduces redness. It eliminates toxins. It helps heal acne and eczema. It makes you glow (let’s not give the sun all the credit all the time).

Seawater. It started to sound so magical to me: seawater. Like looking out into the ocean is to see a reflection of what is within. Just on a lot bigger scale. How fascinating it is. How lucky we are we can dip our toes, and run out there, and float on a noodle, or swim among marine life, or just watch the waves roll in.

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