Blue Mind Rx: Water Is Medicine

Blue Mind Rx: Water Is Medicine

Resurface Documentary Trailer from Eric Alexander-Hughes on Vimeo.Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Today, Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., launched Blue Mind Rx, a campaign to change the conversation about the true value of healthy, wild waters for good, and for all people.

The launch coincides with the United States Department of State’s Our Ocean Conference. We have gathered more than 100 endorsements from doctors, psychologists, other health professionals, associated researchers, conservation educators, and communications specialists, part of our commitment to the Our Ocean Conference,” said Wallace Nichols.

Many of us have personally experienced and/or witnessed the positive cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, and spiritual impact wild waters can have. In that light, we thought you would be interested in this effort.

A strong, diverse group of global leaders is emerging to change the conversation about the true value of our ocean and wild waterways for good.

Please share this statement about the scientifically defensible benefits of healthy, wild waters for human health and well-being with doctors, psychologists, other health professionals, and associated researchers. The document supports physicians and their patients in integrating nature—specifically aquatic environments—in treatment plans, provides updates for use in conservation, and bolsters transdisciplinary communication and collaboration.

The statement, a growing list of endorsers including physicians, mental health professionals, neuroscientists, and many past presenters at the Annual Blue Mind Summits with supporting literature.

Endorsements can be added directly as comments on the document or emailed to [email protected] and will be included in the living document as part of our commitment to the Our Ocean Conference held at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on September 15th-16th. To endorse, include your full name, relevant information (affiliation is optional), and location.

Just as health practitioners include exercise, a good diet, and relaxation in their Rx toolkit, they now have peer-reviewed research to support a prescription for regularly scheduled time near, in, and on, healthy waters.

As science, environmental, and outdoor educators teach students about the importance of ecological, economic, and cultural diversity, they can also include emotional diversity in their programs, lessons, and curricula.

Our hope is that doing so will help reverse the under-valuing of wild waters; expand this important conversation to new sectors; improve access to effective, non-invasive therapies; inspire deeper lifelong connections to natural areas; and build wider support for the actions and policies that drive restoration and protection

The Blue Mind Rx Statement as as follows:

Our wild waters provide vast cognitive, emotional, physical, psychological, social, and spiritual values for people from birth, through adolescence, adulthood, older age, and in death; wild waters provide a useful, widely available, and affordable range of treatments healthcare practitioners can incorporate into treatment plans.

The world ocean and all waterways, including lakes, rivers, and wetlands (collectively, blue space), cover over 71% of our planet. Keeping them healthy, clean, accessible, and biodiverse is critical to human health and well-being.

In addition to fostering more widely documented ecological, economic, and cultural diversities, our mental well-being, emotional diversity, and resiliency also rely on the global ecological integrity of our waters.

Blue space gives us half of our oxygen, provides billions of people with jobs and food, holds the majority of Earth’s biodiversity including species and ecosystems, drives climate and weather, regulates temperature, and is the sole source of hydration and hygiene for humanity throughout history.

Neuroscientists and psychologists add that the ocean and wild waterways are a wellspring of happiness and relaxation, sociality and romance, peace and freedom, play and creativity, learning and memory, innovation and insight, elation and nostalgia, confidence and solitude, wonder and awe, empathy and compassion, reverence and beauty — and help manage trauma, anxiety, sleep, autism, addiction, fitness, attention/focus, stress, grief, PTSD, build personal resilience, and much more.

Chronic stress and anxiety cause or intensify a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, and more. Being on, in, and near water can be among the most cost-effective ways of reducing stress and anxiety.

We encourage healthcare professionals and advocates for the ocean, seas, lakes, and rivers to go deeper and incorporate the latest findings, research, and insights into their treatment plans, communications, reports, mission statements, strategies, grant proposals, media, exhibits, keynotes, and educational programs and to consider the following simple talking points:

Water is the essence of life: The ocean, healthy rivers, lakes, and wetlands are good for our minds and bodies.

Research shows that nature is therapeutic, promotes general health and well-being, and blue space in both urban and rural settings further enhances and broadens cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual benefits.

All people should have safe access to salubrious, wild, biodiverse waters for well-being, healing, and therapy.

Aquatic biodiversity has been directly correlated with the therapeutic potency of blue space. Immersive human interactions with healthy aquatic ecosystems can benefit both.

Wild waters can serve as medicine for caregivers, patient families, and all who are part of patients’ circles of support.

Realization of the full range and potential magnitude of ecological, economic, physical, intrinsic, and emotional values of wild places requires us to understand, appreciate, maintain, and improve the integrity and purity of one of our most vital of medicines — water

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association