No living organism on our planet can survive without it but water holds within its energies so much more magic & power than we are perhaps, led to believe. With the worldwide pandemic & stress on the increase – more & more people are seeking out new coping techniques, including healing with water.
Having taken up wild swimming throughout the past winter & knowing the effects it has had on us, both physically & mentally, we felt called to research deeper into what, why & how water can benefit us.
In this post, you’ll learn all about the research we have carried out as well as discovering more about our journey with water healing. In addition to this, we recommend loads of resources from which you can find out more about this fascinating topic & in turn, perhaps you’ll feel inspired to start your own water healing journey… are you ready to dive right in?!
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Written by The Wilder Route on 12th May 2021.
Understanding Healing With Water
Water is necessary for the survival of all species but it also, through sight, touch, or feeling, holds immense healing capabilities. Healing capabilities that we have had the joy of experiencing first hand.
The most abundant resource on the planet, water can help to heal the human mind, body & spirit – both physiologically & psychologically, benefiting people with its restorative nature.
Japanese scientist & author of the book The Healing Power Of Water Masaru Emoto claims that human consciousness affects the molecular structure of water. With our bodies being made up of over 70% water, if this is true (our belief is that it is) it quite literally means that what we are feeding ourselves mentally, can have a direct effect on our bodies. Pretty awesome hey?!
‘Blue Mind’ Science
Our minds are wired for water, as humans we are lured to it…
How do you feel when you are near the ocean, sat watching the waves crash over the shore as the sun sets on another glorious day? Why do you love, at the end of a long & busy week, having a good long soak in the bath with a load of lovely bubbles? Or perhaps, you just like listening to the sounds of a river as it flows & moves gently through the trees.
Marine biologist & author of the 2014 book Blue Mind, Wallace Nichols says “as humans, we’re naturally drawn to blue space…but even if you aren’t in an area where there is easy access to water, you can still experience [its] emotional benefits.” The surprising science detailed in his book shows how being near, in, on, or underwater can make you happier, healthier, more connected, & better at what you do.
” According to Dr Nichols, our moods should flit between ‘blue’ & ‘red’ mind: ‘When we are anxious, there’s uncertainty. We’re overstimulated, there’s a lot of technology, & lots of screens, but it serves as our fight or flight & can be useful when harnessed for good,’ he says. However, it can go too far & turn into ‘grey’ mind, which means burnout, breakdown, disconnection & even mild depression. ‘The goal is to move between red, which is our action mode, & blue, which is calm & restorative, & avoid the grey,’ he adds. As we practice blue mind, we’re leaving the sources of red behind – the mental, visual & auditory stimuli that distract us. ‘Blue mind is as much about what it takes away from us as what it gives us.’ “Source – Soho House
What Our Ancestors Knew About Water Healing
Since early times water has been known to help cure illness, revitlise the body & relax the mind.
In Greek medicine this was known as the ‘Water Cure’, giving way to the collective group of therapies, Hydrotherapy, Balneotherapy & Thalassotherapy. Then there were the Egyptians & Israelites who would plunge themselves in the sacral waters of the Nile & Jordan, to heal both their body & soul.
“According to early Celtic belief, water was said to wash away both disease & physical afflictions & to purify the skin & body. The great water-healing shrines of the Celtic world did not fully flourish until the Roman-Celtic period. In Roman Britain & Gaul there were several curative cults who made regular pilgrimages to the great centres at places such as Bath, Lydney, & Source des Roches de Chamalières in the hope of being healed”Source irelandseye.com
Healing With Water In Modern Times
We live in a hectic world, with our day-to-day lives Sisyphean-filled & our minds in a constant state of ‘on’.
In some ways, it feels as though we have lost sight of what our ancestors knew but it is still there. Even if not at first glance known, ancestral knowledge sleeps, ready to be awakened within us all.
Some cultures still hold on strong to ancient water healing traditions such as Hindus who bathe in the revered Ganga (river Ganges) in the belief that it will free them from sins & the Desana people of the Amazon, for whom speaking to Water is still key to their healing practices.
Then there are those of us, in the Western world who are increasingly choosing to embrace the magic of water. With the Outdoor Swimmer survey showing a boom in winter swimming in 2020 & the ‘blue health’ boom seeing an increase in surfing, paddle boarding & fishing, we just cant seem to keep away from the blue stuff.
Ways Of Healing With Water
There are many ways in which healing with water is possible, here are just some of them including very simple methods that can try from the comfort of your own home…
We took up wild swimming last Autumn & like many other people, stuck with it through the winter of 2020. The past year & a bit has brought with it a lot of uncertainty so with that people have increasingly been looking for ways to ground, heal & cope with everything that has been going on.
As well as being a fantastic way to connect with nature, cold water swimming is linked to boosting the immune system, reducing body pain & inflammation &, even increasing brainpower.
For us, each time we enter the water, there is the initial shock followed by the feeling of being totally in the here & now – because when you are that cold, where else could you be really?! A perfect remedy for the body, mind & soul we are so happy that, inspired by our friends Gemma & Campbell at Highlands2Hammocks, we took up wild swimming.
Other Water-Based Activities
Surfing, body boarding, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling… there’s a lot of choices when it comes to water-based activities.
Connecting with nature through adventure is the perfect way to embrace water whilst having an awesome time.
Adam, after getting properly acquainted with the waves through body boarding has recently taken up surfing – he is loving both the challenge of learning a new skill & the energy & force of the mighty ocean. In his words it makes him feel ‘extremely free’.
Immerse Your Hands In Water
If you aren’t able to immerse your whole body in water, just your hands can help.
My Dad has done this for years, filling up a sink with cold water & placing his palms flat down with his wrists submerged to help him to cool & calm down after a long day at work.
The focus here is on the pulse points in the wrists, since the blood vessels in those areas are close to the surface of your skin, the cold will bring your body temp down much quicker with the cold water also having an energizing effect & helping to calm.
Use A Cup Of Water
How lovely does it feel to sit with a cup of hot tea between your hands whilst listening to the rain pouring outside? Or how about that feeling of slowly sipping on an ice-cold drink when it’s boiling outdoors?
In a world that is getting busier & busier, it has never been more important to stop & enjoy these simple pleasures.
You could even go a little bit woo woo (we love a bit of woo woo) by channeling energy into the drink you are about to consume through intention. Holding your chosen drink between your hands, think of an intention or something you’d like help in manifesting. With this intention in mind, focus your energy on the cup & imagine the energy from your thoughts being transferred to the cup. When you feel as though the intention has been transferred, take a few deep cleansing breaths in & out then (slowly) drink your drink. Imagine your intention being carried to every part of your body with every sip you take. Relax & repeat until the intention has been absorbed into every atom of your being, through the blessed liquid.
Listen To The Sounds Of Water
Crashing waves or a babbling brook are of course wonderful but may not, however, be easily accessible options for us all. The good news is, simply listening to a ‘water healing’, ‘water sounds’ or, ‘water meditation’ playlist on Spotify or YouTube can help you to ground & reconnect.
” Nature sounds have been proven to prompt more external-focused attention as well as a decrease in the body’s sympathetic response (which causes that “fight-or-flight” feeling) & an increase in parasympathetic response – the one that helps the body relax & function in normal circumstances, & is sometimes referred to as the “rest-digest” response. “Source – health.com
Relax In Hot Water
From taking a long hot soak in the bath to scoping out natural hot springs, if there’s an opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in the water, we are there.
The worst thing about living in our van full-time, is hand down, having no bath!
Hydrotherapy in water at 32°C (90°F) has been shown to reduce blood pressure & heart rate. It can also slow the production of the stress hormones cortisol & aldosterone. A hot bath can also help you breathe a little easier. Studies report improved oxygen transportation when the chest was immersed in hot water.Source – Neurotrack
Go For Slightly More ‘Extreme’ Methods
There are a couple more adventurous or explorative methods we have tried, to deepen our connection to water & further heal. They have worked for us but we are all different with each of us having our own unique needs. We’d recommend, if you’d like to try any of these methods, doing some more in-depth research (sources for which are linked below)…
The Wim Hof Method
Over time, we as humans have developed a different attitude towards nature & we’ve forgotten about our inner power. This is the ability of our body to adapt to extreme temperatures & survive within our natural environment – The Wim Hof Method is based on this principle.
“You are stronger than you think you are”Wim Hof
Based on three powerful pillars – breathing, cold therapy & commitment. Wim Hof ‘The Iceman’ & his practices are both challenging & awesome. To be honest, if that voice is not enough to soothe yet equally motivate you, we don’t know what is.
Wim has tons of videos on his YouTube channel, for which he currently has 1.5 million subscribers. He offers a free app & has a load more info & resources including courses & his book over on his website (his website also includes frequently asked questions including those related to the safety of practicing the Wim Hof method).
After reading a blog post on water fasting, I (Kelly) decided I’d like to give it a try. Whilst I am happy to share my personal experience, I am not a medical professional so I would recommend, if you are thinking of trying a water fast, to do your research & seek medical advice if there’s anything personal to you that may be of concern.
For me, the reason for deciding to do a 2-day water fast was emotional healing & paired with other techniques, it did help me to dig deep & further my trauma healing.
We also, for the weekend of my fast, parked next to the ocean in our van which, with the sound of the waves crashing at night, deepened my water connection.
Water fasts can be tried for longer than 48 hours, which I think I’ll try quite soon & write a longer blog post on perhaps a 5-day experience.
This blog on a 5-day water fast is pretty detailed & this post on the benefits & dangers of water fasting gives an all-round view. Again though, knowing what’s right for your body & seeking medical advice based on your health status is recommended.
The Healing Power Of Water ∼ Summed Up
We have you have enjoyed learning all about the healing power of water & we have inspired you to either start your own water healing journey or, deepen your connection with this powerful source.
Our journey so far has been incredible & has taken us to emotional depths, that this time last year, we never dreamed that water would be able to take us to.
This is a new type of content for us here on The Wilder Route & we’d love to know what you think of it, so please do leave us a comment at the end of this post & let us know.
Thanks for reading & happy healing,
Kelly & Adam x
p.s. if you are looking for more nature inspired content, visit our nature & adventure page.
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