a The Healing Qualities of Swimming 

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The Healing Qualities of Swimming 

12/14/2020 | Written by in Fitness & Nutrition Tips
Healing qualities of swimming

Swimming is an activity with a unique and distinct trait: the element of water. Though there are positive aspects of all sports actions, water is the difference-maker factor. Water creates a different outcome and adds another dimension to the whole process: healing. Indeed, the healing qualities of swimming are quite often underrated though they should be glorified. When you exit the swimming pool or the sea after a swim session, there is a great feeling of calmness and relief. Metaphorically speaking, swimming promotes a sense of purification. But why is this happening and what are the reasons for humans to develop such a strong affiliation to water?


Humans are like reflections of the Earth


It would not be an exaggeration to argue that humans are aquatic creatures living in an aquatic world. The percentage of the earth's surface that is covered with water is about 71 %. At the same time, more than half of human bodies consist of water from the moment they are born. Though there is not a common number that applies to all people, the average percentage of water when measuring the weight remains above 50% for the whole life period. At the same time, our bodies are like almost two-thirds of water. 

Water's role in the human body is indeed very significant. The following numbers and facts are indicating:   

  • 75% of the bones consist of water
  • 75% of the brain consists of water
  • 22% of the bones consist of water
  • 92% of the blood consists of water
  • Water carries nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body.
  • Water is required for breathing.
  • Water moistens oxygen for breathing.
  • Water regulates your body temperature.
  • Water protects and cushions vital organs.
  • Water cushions joints.
  • Water helps to convert food into energy.
  • Water helps your body absorb nutrients.
  • Water removes waste. 


All the above data highly indicate that humans and Earth are not only determined by the existence of water but they would not survive without water.


The historical discovery of the healing qualities of water

The healing qualities of swimming were discovered from the ancient years. The great ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome have been using water for therapeutic as well as cathartic reasons.

The ancient Egyptians considered the Nile River to be sacred and were frequently bathing there. Later in history, Hippocrates, who is considered to be the father of medicine was the first who used water extensively for curing different kinds of illnesses. Furthermore, water played a significant role in ancient Greece and was even used for cathartic reasons.

As the Roman Empire had emerged, ancient Romans who considered bathing as a health booster, built thermal baths that were addressed for their therapeutical properties.


The healing power of water

Another aspect of the discovery of the healing power of water that is not so known is the case of Sebastian Kneipp a German priest of the 19th century. Although he was pronounced terminally ill with lung disease, he never gave up and he did not stop fighting for his life. When he accidentally discovered a booklet that was promoting the Cold Water Treatment, he tried it. Not only he became well after trying the treatment, but he also helped other people cure their illnesses without receiving any payment.


The ocean's healing attributes

There needs to be a special remark on the healing attributes of the ocean. A great number of people worldwide swim solely in swimming pools due to several restrictions: the absence of sea, busy timetable, fear of the waves. The difference, though, between pool water and seawater is huge. The composition of the water is different on the two occasions, thus the whole feeling you get differs depending on where you swim. There are many minerals in ocean water, such as chloride, iodine, magnesium and calcium that have healing properties.

The greatest healing attributes of the ocean are the following:


  • It can heal wounds and skin issues 
  • It can help reducing inflammation
  • It can help to deal with allergy issues 


The biology of pleasure

There is a biological aspect of the healing qualities of swimming. When we swim our brains release endorphins, the hormone of pleasure. This release brings out feelings of positivity and happiness. At the same time, it functions as a great anti-depressant factor. This is why people feel so well and relaxed after a swimming session. There is great unity between the function of the body and the brain. There is probably no better way to practice such an extensive workout of the whole body, than swimming. It's great for your heart, your lungs, your joints, and your sense of elasticity. At the same time, swimming allows you to “isolate yourself” from the external world and concentrate solely on it. Again, the element of water plays a crucial role as it allows you to feel like being in a different world and focus on your body moving and your breathing. The sound of water and its buoyancy and resistance are helping greatly in gradually developing a sense of calmness. Not only that, but it's beneficial for boosting blood circulation, reducing inflammation and recharging human organisms.


Psychoanalysis and water: the calmness of aqua

The unique nature of water and its effects have been frequently portrayed in science and arts. In the psychoanalytic theory of personality, the unconscious mind that is consisted of thoughts, feelings and memories outside our conscious awareness, has often been compared to what lies beneath the water. Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis has described in his psychoanalytic theory the importance of the oral and anal stages which can be linked to water and sanitation respectively.

In movies and music too, the element of water has been highlighted and has influenced a great number of artists. Especially during the last years, there has emerged a great number of relaxing music that combines musical sounds with sounds of water. The healing qualities of water are greatly reflected in this music.



Swimming and mental health

Keeping a healthy status is the foundation upon which all human development is structured. This means that we shall be physically and mentally healthy to flourish. Physical health is more easily defined and maintained. A frequent check-up to a doctor, a balanced diet and a slight athletic activity could be enough for keeping fit. On the other hand, mental health is a far more complicated issue. Many argue that it is even more important than physical health because it greatly affects it. The two concepts are highly interconnected anyway. One of swimming's unique points is that it helps greatly in both fields. As far as mental health is concerned, all experts agree that swimming is a great way of boosting your mental health

Taking Great Britain as our case study, 25% of the population (that is one in four people) will face a mental health problem at some stage of their lives. Swimming is one of the best remedies, significantly reducing symptoms of depression or anxiety. Some of its advantages are:


  • Swimming improves drastically mental health. 
  • Swimming improves mood
  • Swimming slows cognitive decline and dementia
  • Swimming increases self-esteem
  • Swimming reduces stress
  • Swimming improves sleep


Swimming helps to heal injuries

 Swimming is also very effective as far as physical injuries are concerned. Because it is a low-impact exercise, it helps bones and joints in various ways. Of course, you will need the guidance of a physical therapist because injuries require different approaches depending on their nature and severity. In most cases, the benefits of swimming for healing injuries are certain:


  • It reduces pain offering ease of movements
  • It supports injured muscles and injuries during recovery
  • It improves motion
  • It reduces swelling
  • It helps to rebuild muscle strength 


With the right guidance, light swimming during the rehab phase is an excellent way for healing most kinds of injuries and promoting nerve regeneration.




The unique nature of swimming is reflected in its multi-dimensional effects. Unlike most athletic activities and sports, swimming is equally effective for both development and healing. Depending on the needs and special traits of each individual it is the optimal choice of keeping fit and stable, both physically and mentally. The healing qualities of swimming are extensive, though underrated on many occasions. The knowledge and, most of all, the experience of the magical elements of water and swimming can be revealing. Are you ready for discovering them?


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