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Showing posts with label bipolar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bipolar. Show all posts

HyperActiveX - Surfing Is My Therapy

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For me, surfing is like no other outdoor activity. Surfing, or as I like to call it - "soul surfing", is my therapy. For me, surfing is an outlet for anxiety and stress, an inlet for nature and satisfaction, a connection between me and the ocean. Surfing is my religion, and the ocean is my temple. It helps me battle my inner demons.

The physiological effects of surfing are widely known.

Studies have already demonstrated that physical activities such as running can chase negative feelings. And although there's plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting positive results from using surfing as therapy for a range of physical and mental ailments, only recently has science begun to establish a link between surfing and mood.

In October 2010, Britain's National Health Service (NHS) concluded the first phase of a pioneering program to assess whether surfing can be used as an effective therapy for treating depression and other mental health disorders.

Under instruction from coaches, 22 participants between the ages of 12 and 23 with mental health issues from depression to schizophrenia and psychosis learned to ride waves for six weeks on the rugged Cornwall coast, in southwest England. The essence of the program: get participants stoked on surfing and build on those good feelings.

As a result, Ryan Pittsinger, a surfer and doctoral student at the University of Iowa, presented a paper at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association showing that riding waves for 30 minutes increased positive feelings and diminished negative ones.

Pittsinger and colleagues polled more than 100 surfers in Manhattan Beach, Calif., on their mood both before and after surfing. The result: subjects described being in a better mood and experiencing increased feelings of calmness after catching a couple waves.

Also, surfing offers a wide range of sensory stimuli:

Visual – reflection and refraction of light on the ocean surface associated with the constant motion of the waves.

Gustatory / olfactory – The intense saltiness of the sea, and the smell of the sea and algae.

Tactile / Proprioceptive – Buoyancy, sliding over the surface of the sea, and the simple passage of the hands through the water distal movements as they drop into the wave, or tactile stimulation of the foot on the sand.

Auditory – The sound of the waves and movement of the sea.

Vestibular: Constant imbalance and rebalance inherent to the activity.

In short, surfing can and should be seen as an added value in the prevention and treatment of many pathological conditions, contributing to social inclusion, avoidance of a sedentary lifestyle and stress, improvement of self-esteem and encourage teamwork as well as to stimulate protection of the environment and quality of life.

There's no question that for many -- whether with a disability, disorder or not -- surfing is fun and feels good. The healing waters of the oceans work in mysterious ways...

 Stress dissolves when exposed to water