It’s six o’clock in the morning. You’re barely awake; muzzy headed. But you know that work or school awaits and you have to be up and ready to face the day ahead. And then… you step into the shower. Somehow a magical transformation takes place as the cascading, beating rhythm of water caresses your skin, massages your nerve endings and washes away that early morning grogginess. This everyday miracle is just one simple example of the awesome power of water to revive, freshen and invigorate.
And yet, on the flip side, many of us find nothing more relaxing or soporific that the sounds of rolling ocean waves breaking against a sandy shore or of falling rain gently pattering on leaves or against a window pane.
Water’s Powers Have Been Recognized Since the Dawn of Man
Of course, man’s recognition of the awesome power of water to relax and revive is nothing new: the fundamental knowledge that life itself cannot exist without water is innate. Civilizations that have survived and prospered invariably originated from settlements close to natural water sources which allowed not only for drinking and bathing but also for crop irrigation, so vital to sustainable food provision.
The power of water is a key element in many world religions and is frequently associated with miracles, whilst the relaxing and purifying qualities of water are central to several forms of Buddhist meditation.
The point at which man first discovered that, beyond needing it purely for survival and hygiene, water also possessed the power to relax and revive can only be guessed at, but it is not unreasonable to believe that ancient man could have enjoyed the beneficial properties offered by natural thermal springs and pools.
What we do know is that in the Western world, the ancient Greeks were among the first civilizations to install public baths and showers intended for the purposes of relaxation and revival rather than for personal cleanliness alone. These were the roots of a new discipline which was rooted in water’s power to relax and revive as beneficial to health; the discipline we know today as hydrotherapy.
The Sea: an Irresistible Source of Relaxation and Revival
The connection between the sea and health, relaxation and invigoration is irrefutable. Ask the average person to describe their ideal vision of relaxation and you’re guaranteed that a popular response will mention relaxing on a sunkissed beach beside the sea. Asked to describe an activity that’s refreshing and invigorating and mentions of a brisk walk, taking in the sea air would be equally popular.
In fact, belief in the awesome power of water to relax and revive was the foundation upon which many of Britain’s oldest seaside holiday resorts were built. Spurred on by the declaration of respected doctor Richard Russell that sea water was an effective ‘cure-all’ for many diseases of the day, wealthy families of the Victorian era who had formerly travelled to spa towns such as Bath, Harrogate and Buxton for their hydrotherapy now transferred their attentions to coastal towns to partake of the relaxing and reviving benefits of the sea.
This belief in, and fascination with, the power of the sea as an aid to relaxation and better health is still a global truth today; whether we are taking a luxury sea cruise holiday or heading for a sunkissed beach resort, the sea has become indelibly associated with relaxation and a restorative break from the stresses and anxieties of modern urban life.
The Awesome Power of Water to Relax and Revive Touches Every Part of Modern Life
You don’t need to look far in the 21st century to understand how much of an impact our belief and reliance upon water’s power to relax and revive us has had on our everyday lives. Take the bottled water industry for example; our growing faith in the reviving and health-giving benefits of bottled spring and mineral waters over the last four decades has seen a niche product, originally greeted with cynicism (“why would anyone buy bottled water?”) become a multi-billion dollar industry which, thanks to consumer demand, shows no sign of slowing down for a while yet.
Our investment in water’s ability to relax and revive us is perhaps demonstrated nowhere better than in the immense range of appliances that we continue to devise and install in our homes and that allow us to enjoy and benefit from water’s soothing or rejuvenating properties: power showers, massage showers, hot tubs, whirlpool baths, Jacuzzis, foot spas and even aquatic fitness systems.
And, of course, we still regard spa visits and hydrotherapy treatments as playing an essential role in helping us to relax, recover and recharge, the better to enable us to deal with life’s everyday problems and challenges. All of which leads to the inevitable conclusion that there must be evidence that supports our unshakeable belief in the awesome power of water to relax and revive.
Studies Have Proven the Beneficial Powers of Water on Health and Well being
Reinforcing what our ancient ancestors suspected about the awesome powers of water so many thousands of years ago, medical studies have proven that spa treatments and hydrotherapy can produce beneficial results in the treatment not only of stress-related illnesses including insomnia, depression, headaches, and even gastrointestinal conditions but that water therapies are demonstrably able to relieve the symptoms of physical ailments including rheumatism, arthritis, swollen ankles and varicose veins. Furthermore, the use of hydrotherapy has been proven to reduce pain and swelling and encourage the faster healing of post-operative surgical scars.
Whether you choose the luxurious indulgence of unwinding in a hot bath after a hard day at work, the stimulating invigoration of an early morning shower to blast away the overnight cobwebs, whether you prefer to holiday by the sea or cruise upon it, or even if your preferred method of slipping into sleep is to listen to the soothing sounds of crashing waves, there can be no denying the awesome power of water to relax and revive.