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Blue Mind Theory – the healing powers of blue spaces

3 August 2021

A visit to the coast has been recommended for the positive effect of being close to the sea since Victorian times. And well before that, relaxing spas and communal baths were an important part of society. Cornwall has long been a destination for rest and recuperation, especially since the post-war British seaside holiday boom. It’s one of the reasons people return to St Mawes. Once the restorative effects of the Roseland Peninsula have been experienced, they are hard to forget.

Scientifically proven

Science shows humans have an natural draw towards water, positively affecting both our physical and mental wellbeing. Being able to see, hear and feel the water around us makes our minds and bodies relax. We become more at ease, more inclined to rest, and have a better perspective on life. For many of us, even remembering one of our favourite waterside places provides a flood of positive emotion.

Copyright Aaron Lee, Unsplash

In his book Blue Mind, marine biologist Dr Wallace J Nichols explains this goes beyond a simple feeling of pleasure. Being near, in, on, or under the water can provide a long list of benefits. These include lowering stress and anxiety, increasing our overall sense of well being, lowering breathing and heart rates, and providing a background for safer and better workouts.

The healing powers of blue spaces

The restorative powers of water are also shown to help manage physical and mental health conditions. Immersion tanks, coastal retreats and aquatic therapies are increasing in popularity, with a number of pilot schemes showing incredibly promising results.

Photo by Katii Bishop from Pexels

In Cornwall alone, sailing charities have helped hundreds of people to improve their emotional well being. Surf charities have grown to support thousands of children and young adults. Being near water provides a positive backdrop to playing, grieving and communicating, and can enhance the conversations we have surrounding all aspects of life.

Blue Mind and Cornwall

The positive impacts of blue spaces can be felt by anyone, anywhere. All you need is clean, safe and healthy water. Whether you’re near the sea, a river, taking a bath, listening to ocean sounds, or even making a trip to the local water fountain, being close to water triggers the full ‘blue mind’ experience.

When visitors make their annual visit to coastal areas, this is what they are drawn to. They leave the stresses of everyday life behind, entering a more peaceful state of mind. It’s one of the reasons visitors love St Mawes – surrounded by expansive, calming sea views and easy access to the beautifully clean water.


Kindly Written by Lydia Paleschi