You know how sometimes you walk along the shore, and you just feel better? Revitalised in some way. ‘Must be all that sea air,’ you say to yourselves. Well, there’s more truth than myth in that phrase. For starters, seaweed, which inhabits quite a bit of our coastline, is rich in iodine, a mineral that helps us to maintain a normal metabolism. In fact, it’s so rich that the body absorbs the iodine just by breathing in the air around the seaweed (let alone eating the edible varieties). Seawater itself contains magnesium, also a mineral. Magnesium can be very effective at clearing headaches, balancing stress, and helping us to sleep better. And then, of course, the sounds of the sea can have a relaxing effect because the ocean waves ‘sync’ with our brain waves to calm us down. There’s a couple of other things to think about, too …
1 Our bodies are a delicate balance requiring correct vitamin and mineral input. Too much iodine and magnesium can be as harmful as too little. If you are concerned about whether you are getting the correct amount of vitamins and minerals in your diet, then contact a professional before you reach for the supplement bottles.
2 Be knowledgeable, or have someone knowledgeable with you, if you are planning to pick and eat any seaweed or sea vegetables.
3 Choose your shoreline. Sad to say that some can be very polluted.
Those things aside, a day on the shore really can be the tonic the Victorians believed it to be. Great for blowing away those physical and emotional cobwebs, building a healthy appetite, and sleeping like a log.
Photograph: ‘Seaweed in Cornwall’ © Rose, 2010
Text: © wellbeing practitioner 2012