”O I do want to be beside the seaside, O I do want to be beside the sea…”
The wind whips harshly on your face while you stroll along the shore, you breathe long and deep, taking in the smell of salt and sea. You feel rejuvenated, like this stroll could easily turn into a run. Why do we feel like this when by the sea? It is as if the mere air could cure us. Surprisingly that isn’t as a ridiculous sentiment as it sounds.
Sea air has been shown to possess healing properties. Back in the old days Victorian doctors would prescribe a dose of sea air to revitalize the senses and how right they were! Old ladies would be pushed eagerly by their children into a seaside holiday. One where they would spend weeks drinking in the refreshing air, ailments would heal and health would improve drastically.
The same affects are seen today in the homes of seaside towns. A census in England by the University of Exeter* showed that those who live by the coast thought in the majority that there health was ‘very good’ but when the same question was posed to inland city dwellers the amount who said ‘very good’ was significantly lower.
However, this does not necessarily mean there is a link between health by the seaside and sea air having healing properties. Others may contribute this rise in health to stress reduction, as being by the sea is an escape from life’s tribulations. Something about the great expanse of calming waters and the beauty of a sunrise on an open sky makes people heal.
This may be probable but we must look at the scientific properties of sea air. Now, I don’t want to bore you with complicated science so I will keep it simple. Sea air contains sea water droplets, these droplets have an abundant of properties which are designed to revitalize and energize you. Iodine, Magnesium and Trace elements, these ‘surf generated aerosols’ stimulate the immune system making air waves clear and loosening mucus.**
There is also something that sea air lacks which inland city air contains. This is harmful vapors such as soot particles and the dryness of the air produced by air pollution and central heating. All these factors make sea-side life ideal for an asthmatic or those with allergies.
My mother would tell me ‘Some fresh air will do you good.’ while eager for me to escape the stale and stagnant confines of my room and she was right. It seems that the freshest air is to be found away from the pollutant toxins of the city and near the calming motion of the ‘big blue’.
Of course, not all of us are lucky enough to live in a seaside town but that doesn’t mean we can’t escape to one now and again. We shouldn’t neglect our coastal regions or the powerful effect simply breathing in the sea air can cause.