From Showers to Oceans: How Being Near Water Promotes Wellness

Water is the elixir of life as we know it. Where there is one, the other must exist. That’s why just over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. And why the water composition of the human body averages around 60%. What’s less known is the underestimated ability of water and aquatic environments to promote psychological and emotional wellness. Plus, even if you don’t have the luxury of easy access to water, you can still experience these benefits through virtual reality, images and sounds.

It’s not solely for practical reasons that most communities are built near bodies of water. As humans, we naturally gravitate towards ‘blue space’ and the waves of peace and comfort which seem to wash over us in its presence. Today’s scientists are using research studies to arrive at the very same conclusions as the artists, writers and dreamers among us. That is, the rejuvenating effects of water on the mind and body.

Being close to water seems to trigger a deep-rooted biological response in our brains. Even the mere sight and sound of it can incite a copious release of neurochemicals, which has the knock-on effect of increasing psychological well-being as well as blood flow to the heart and brain. In other words, relaxation is induced.

This is why considerably more thought is now being given to the merits of including blue spaces and water features in urban centres to bolster community health, for example in the EU-funded Blue Health 2020 research initiative.