Water-Based Activities, Adventure, and Therapeutic Exercises
Oceans Global offers water-based therapeutic exercises and engaging activities for those recovering from substance abuse. We provide in-ocean experiential learning and adventure activities with an emphasis on nature immersion, fitness, mindfulness, and general skill development. Our ocean-engagements create physical and mental challenges that work to reinvigorate recovering addicts by instilling a sense of pride, connectivity, and appreciation of the world around them. Ultimately, we focus on helping recovering addicts re-establish a healthy and lasting connection between their bodies and their minds. The ocean provides the perfect platform for this mental and physical transformation.
What is Water-Based Therapy?
Water-based therapy involves using the ocean (or other natural water sources) to create opportunities for individuals to (re-)discover nature, to (re-)unite the mind and body in a healthy context, and to develop self-esteem, confidence, and a variety of useful skill sets. By overcoming demanding yet fun and engaging physical and mental challenges, individuals can build the confidence and self-respect that is necessary to approach life in a happier and healthier way.
Research shows that skills and coping methods learned through consistent water-based therapy transfer to post-rehabilitation success.
“While spending time in, on or near the water, our brain functions shift to the prefrontal lobes, managing our attention, regulating the effects of relaxation and modulating mood. These experiences are also even responsible for other important positive human qualities such as idealism, joy, our ability to concentrate, creativity, and our ability to think abstractly.” - Blue Mind, Wallace J. Nichols
At the most physical level, water-based activities can help individuals learn about using their bodies in a healthy and productive manner. This physical exertion fosters an emotional connection with the water and nature in general. That connection provides a deeper sense of meaning and invigorated interest in the world. Participants can pull from these experiences to approach life with a newfound sense of gratitude, positivism, and creativity.
Recovering addicts often leave rehabilitation or sober-living facilities to return to the same family, friend groups, and lifestyles that they began using drugs in. They are then expected to remain sober while dealing with all of the triggers that became a part of their addiction in the first place. This is akin to placing a fish in water and asking them not to swim.
As a consequence, many of these individuals become disinterested, disconnected, and jaded as they attempt to simultaneously fight their addictions and deal with the stresses of everyday life. Many fall into the mindset that their disillusioned negative state is permanent or irreparable.
How Can Water-Based Activities Help With Addiction?
The benefits of therapeutic water-based activity are not always obvious, immediate, or easily understandable for those who have not shared similar experiences. The physical aspects demand controlled breathing, slowed heart rate, increased focus, and general physical exertion. These are very similar to the physical demands of intensive meditation exercises. The results provide better sleep, mental clarity, endorphin replacement, team building, and the increased ability to establish trust in others. This successful meeting of physical and mental challenges creates a healthily addictive alternative to previously damaging drug habits.
Breathing & Exertion
Breathing and meditation have been used to treat an increasingly wide variety of physical and mental ailments for centuries. The same principles are at play during surfing, SUP yoga, scuba, and freediving. Participants in these activities are required to control their breathing and focus entirely on the physicality of the situation. Studies on breathing exercises have shown that certain breathing techniques can produce serotonin, endorphins, dopamine, and even melatonin that helps maintain positive moods and sleep cycles. This ultimately calms the nervous system and reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and addictive cravings throughout the day.