FEEL BETTER BY THE BEACH… Beaches are some of the greatest and most enjoyable natural features this earth has to offer us. Homeowners pay exorbitant amounts of money to live near a beach, holiday makers flock to sunny beachside locations on holidays, and when retirement age hits – it’s off to warm coastal areas people go! So why exactly is this? Why do we, as humans, naturally gravitate towards the beach? Going to the beach relieves stress: The number one benefit for hitting the beach is stress relief. As soon as you get out of your car and step out into the sun, you feel the calming effects wash over you like water. Both the sun and the waves combined work to completely relax your body, release you from your aches, and free you from daily stresses. Not only is serotonin almost immediately released when you arrive on the beach, (serotonin is a key hormone for relaxation and happiness), but the sound and visuals of the beach and ocean are simply so soothing and peaceful. It’s for the calming effects of the sound that crashing waves are often chosen for sleep machines. Additionally, light therapy is something that’s actually prescribed by doctors and therapists to help patient’s combat anxiety and stress. You’ll always get a better sleep after a day at the beach: After just a few hours at the beach one of the greatest benefits a person will experience is a truly wonderful night’s sleep later. For insomnia sufferers looking for a natural remedy, the beach is a definite recommendation. It’s because the beach helps relieve three key factors that inhibit sleep: high stress and anxiety levels, lack of physical fatigue, and hormonal imbalances. Not only do you feel immediately relaxed upon setting foot on the beach, but you get a great exercise even from just walking on the beach! Additionally, the sun and lowered stress levels immediately help regulate a person’s hormones – making it far easier later that night to get a peaceful and deep sleep. Increase your body’s levels of iodine by swimming in sea or ocean water: Iodine is actually a supplement individuals take because of all its health benefits on the body. Having adequate levels of iodine in the body ensures that energy levels and metabolic rates are optimal, that hair and nail growth is at its peak, and that hormone levels are regulated. Iodine, surprisingly, also is taken for its anti-carcinogenic properties and for the fact that it can help reduce fibrocystic disease symptoms. Fortunately for those who want to maintain the optimal levels of iodine in their bodies, heading out into the ocean or sea water is a great way to do so! Iodine is naturally present in the water because of the living organisms within it. While it’s not possible to say the exact amount of iodine present in the water, this essential supplement is absorbed through your skin when you swim. Going to the beach is like getting a beauty treatment for your skin: The beach and ocean water truly has an amazingly positive effect on the overall health and appearance of skin. We’re not talking about baking yourself in the sun until you’re leathery tan (please wear sunscreen!), instead we’re focusing on the antibacterial and detoxification properties of the elements. •Exfoliate: the sand does a wondrous job exfoliating our feet, hands, and body. Nothing removes dead skin cells quite like course bits of sand does! •Detoxify: once the warm sun opens up our pores, the salt water is then able to go in and pull out the toxins. No more blemishes, uneven skin, or excess oils! •Antibacterial: next, the iodine and salt in the water work to completely destroy bacteria and fungi on your skin that cause breakouts. So, the next time you’ve had a particularly stressful week, or are just feeling not 100%, take some time off and hit the beach – it’s the doctor’s orders!