That feeling of relaxation when you’re sitting with your toes in the sand and breathing in the sea air is not just a matter of having no phone signal. It’s what scientists are calling ‘blue space’ – a reaction in your brain when you’re overloaded with positive sensations, not unlike being hypnotised.
The reason the beach promotes this feeling so powerfully? It’s the fusion of sea, sand, space and fresh air – all working in tandem to produce different elements of feel good factor in a completely natural and healthy way.
For starters, while being by the water can help with the flow of oxygen to the brain, which in turn helps to boost our mood and give us energy, a swim in the sea can help to ease muscle tension, hydrate the skin, ease stress on joints, improve your immune system and circulation.
It’s the reason spas try to emulate some of that feeling with salt water pools and hot tubs, particularly with the historic practice of thalassotherapy. Meanwhile, listening to the rhythmic sound of the waves is both soothing and meditative, providing another sensory stimulus.
The sand also has positive effects on our sense of wellbeing, with scientists believing it can boost your creativity. Being in that ‘blue space’ can be clarifying and encourage you to think creatively, and it is said that the meditative stillness of the beach can help with the focus that creates that space to be creative.
It’s believed to provide relief from depression for the same reason, and that being at the beach can help you to change your perspective on a situation – courtesy of the open space, the fresh air and the peaceful surroundings (assuming it’s not a busy beach we are guessing – we suggest the likes of Thurlestone, close to the Thurlestone Hotel and Spa).
While some of these concepts, reported in an article on Higher Perspective, might seem a little esoteric, most of us who have a soft spot for the beach will know them to be true, based on how we feel after we have been to the beach.
On a more practical note, the sand does have some more tangible health benefits as well – the sand provides a natural exfoliant, walking on the sand is certainly an effective workout, the stimulation to the feet is like a free foot massage (and anyone who has experienced reflexology will know how powerful that can be). The sand is also a source of magnesium, which has a catalogue of health benefits including helping to reduce anxiety).
Of course, for those who can not make it all the way to the beach at the drop of a hat, there are also a number of spas that offer treatments replicating its benefits, such as the Beach Hut at the Three Horseshoes Country Inn and Spa, or the Sand Burial treatment at Dunes by Al Nahda for those looking to supercharge beach benefits on an overseas trip.
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