I think we can all agree that there is a sensual force that acts upon us physically, mentally and for some, spiritually, when we are near water. It is a mystical sensation. No doubt we have all experienced this in a multitude of ways while playing in, on, or around, this luxurious liquid. However, much like Sasquatch, or Tahoe Tessie, it's a bit hard to explain at a dinner party. I'm hoping to change that for you.
If you have you ever camped beside a river, fallen asleep next to crashing waves after a surf, tossed stones into a lake, or brought your deep thoughts to the ocean at sunset for a swim...you've felt it. The magical presence of water, in all its forms.
That feeling and interaction is in our DNA, and it holds a richly ingrained space in our psyche. Our awesome ancestors (as far back as the extremely hairy ones!) were drawn to water and our prehistoric communities developed and continually thrived around this liquid of life. The multitude of lakes, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the ocean offered us an abundant supply of tasty meals as well as necessary hydration. It's a matter of survival. So it seems natural we find water to be a central part of our existence, deep within on some subconscious level. It's such a crucial utilitarian substance. But today, with sushi so easy to acquire with friends after a paddle, and with water on tap (LITERALLY on tap), how is it we still have this primal pull to water?
I believe there is far more going on here; that we aren't completely mindful of. So... Let's dive in!
Our physical and cognitive functions don't always pick up on the massive amount of data affecting us every moment, and I am thankful a bunch of great scientists take the time to get their white lab coats dirty trying to explain some of these subtle nuances in the universe to simple dudes like me.
Let's look more closely at some of the research...
"Aqua therapy" - Also known as “water play”, these flotation exercises that are used for their proprioceptive and tactile input to assist patients with neurological issues, trauma, and even autism. It's highly studied and proven to be quite effective! I know... I know... you want proof. Ok! Do you remember the last time you "washed away the day" with a long hot shower or bath? Boom!
"Magical negative Ions" - It seems like a strange notion that exposure to something negative can have a positive effect on our being. Negative ions do just that! Their radical effect was discovered in 1932 by Dr. C.W. Hansell after he noticed the violent mood shifts of a co-worker who sat by (queue OSHA) an electrostatic generator. He observed/discovered that his buddy was stoked when the machine produced neg-ions, and bummed out when it made pos-ions. Subsequent research has found a boat load of great benefits from negative ions including heightened alertness, reduced anxiety, increased appetite, increased thirst, and stimulated sexual behavior (giggity). AND it promotes alpha brainwaves to cross between left and right hemispheres for higher awareness and a calming feeling. Sound familiar? So...what does this have to do with water?! I'm glad you asked! Negative ions are found in the greatest abundance near bodies of water and moving water. Lakes, rivers, waterfalls, bays, ocean, crashing waves and even the shower (there it is again). How much more you say? Normal ion counts in the country air are 2,000-4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At the ocean or a large lake you might find over 100,000 negative ions. As a point of reference, polluted air in big cities might have less than 100 ions. Get near water and breath in these vitamins of the air!
"Feeling the earth breathe" - Speaking of breathing, did you know our great planet breathes? Yep, the earth breathes. Well not literally, but it has a specific resonant frequency like a breath or heartbeat. It's called the Schumann Resonance, named after the German Physicist who discovered it. This magic frequency is 7.83hz- well below the ability of our human ears ability to detect. However, it is scientifically proven that this frequency is highly capable of cascading those awesome alpha waves through our brains once a human being and the planet come into resonance. Just imagine the transfer of energy and information embedded in that field. Not to mention the massive health effects that come with our connection to it. In fact, early Astronauts' health deteriorated while in space, away from the Schumann Resonance. The problem was solved when NASA introduced the "Schumann Simulator" into all space shuttles, a magnetic pulse generator to mimic the Earth's frequency. This demonstrates that it's hard to be healthy if we are disconnected from this "natural biological frequency."
Why does this matter? In today's ocean of overflowing electromagnetic fields this very special low frequency gets lost on us, and we lose our ability to connect. Enter our liquid salvation. Being on the ocean, lake, or bay takes us away from these electromagnetic fields and allows us to tap into that sweet 7.83hz and chive on!
It's pretty clear that "blue space" has the power to radically shape us for the better on so many levels.
Researchers have poured over the data of hundreds of studies and it's quite obvious that large bodies of water and our interaction with them have lasting beneficial effects on us. Benefits that are mental and physical; decreasing anxiety; improving cardiovascular health; providing relief from PTSD symptoms, addiction, depression; and curbing obesity... the list goes on and on.
In this disconnected age it's obvious to me that our time near, or submerged in, water is a natural and simple antidote to daily stress and complexity. Water offers us a reason to disconnect and at the same time reconnect with our primal self.
So, what are you waiting for?! I strongly encourage you to seek that daily dose of "Vitamin Sea". Remember that the feelings of vitality are not just "woo-woo", they've got some solid science behind them and honestly it is time well spent for your well being. Hopefully you now have some insight into a mystical facet of why we paddle...at least enough to explain to non-paddlers at a dinner party!... And if you happen to see Squatch or Tessie out there- tell em Greggy says hi!
Team Writer Greggy - Growing up in San Diego was a gift to a guy like Greg. The son of an avid California Fisherman, Greg spent his youth infatuated with sharks, building skimboards for his high-school buddies, boating, and spearfishing in the Pacific. His connection to the water has always been what made him live as natural as possible. Calm. Centered. Barefoot. And free. Paddling brought a whole new dimension to his love of water and connection to nature.
Always excited to connect with others, Greg wants to bring people into the sports of paddling to connect and share and experience and explore as one big tribe! Liquid Unites Us !
If you have an idea for Greg to write about or any questions, send it our way and we will pass it along!