A few weeks ago we had one of those everything-you-want-for-great-California-diving days – calm, clear water, vibrant kelp and the right mix of friends and family – even grey whales migrating by between dives. And surfacing from our second dive, I noticed something; I felt better. Yes, a great dive always feels satisfying, but I connected with more this time – just being in the sea was mentally, physically, and spiritually healing and therapeutic. In an often graceless and cruel world, this was a welcomed introspection.

Diving’s ability to promote emotional and physical healing is beyond debate. Deptherapy uses scuba to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and physical disabilities. The First Step Foundation, founded by PADI Diver Cody Unser, uses scuba to help people living with paralysis and conduct related therapy research.

Can it help with dealing an anxiety personality, or managing through a tragic deep, personal loss? According to inspiring stories posted by bloggers Tara and Lauren Hodges, Ed.D., yes it can, through freediving in their cases. Even the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends water exercise for physical and mental health.

water is healing us love divers

In his book Blue Mind, marine biologist Wallace Nichols explores and explains the mind-body-water connect that is so powerful and healing. According to Nichols, research shows that being in, under or simply near water reduces stress, promotes relaxation. “Whether it’s a deeply relaxing vacation or a weekend getaway, water is the best way to reset,” he says. And as my recent dive shows, of all the ways you can be in and around water,  diving does it particularly well.

Blogger Tara put it this way: “[Underwater] It’s just you and the seemingly endless depth below, but you feel immense clarity and peace. ‘Here’ is all you know. Thoughts of what you ate for breakfast or the guy that broke your heart are as good as gone. All that matters is the perfect present.”

We all need healing moments like these.

Good diving and healing,

Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO PADI Worldwide

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