Surf Therapy: when contact with the ocean heals

Surf Therapy: when contact with the ocean heals

Léa Gourdin |

Winter can often be synonymous with low energy and low morale. Cold temperatures, gray skies and light rain can have a real impact on our mental and physical health. Faced with this, alternative methods of well-being are emerging to help us cope better with this period. Among these, surf therapy offers an innovative approach, combining the benefits of sport with interaction with the ocean. Find out more.

What is surf therapy?

Surf therapy is a wellness method designed to treat physical and psychological disorders through surfing and water sports in general. First introduced in the 1990s, the discipline is becoming increasingly popular in France and around the world. Surf therapy is based on the idea that contact with the ocean and the practice of intense physical activity contribute to soothing the body and mind. Being in the water and facing the waves allows you to reconnect with the present moment and benefit from the ocean's soothing and revitalizing virtues.

Surf therapy - flowThe mental health benefits of surf therapy

Surf therapy has many mental health benefits:

  • Stress reduction : Contact with the water and ocean has a calming effect on body and mind. The concentration required for surfing also allows you to clear your head and let go of everyday worries.  For some people, particularly those with traumatic experiences, surf therapy can offer an alternative approach to overcoming symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Contact with the ocean and the concentration required for surfing can help alleviate some of the effects of PTSD.
  • Improved self-confidence: Overcoming the challenges posed by the waves can provide a sense of accomplishment, boosting self-esteem and confidence in one's abilities.
  • Social inclusion : Surf therapy can also promote social inclusion. Surf therapy programs are often designed to encourage the participation of people of all ages and skill levels, creating an inclusive community.
  • Increased emotional well-being: Physical exercise combined with surfing releases endorphins, the pleasure hormones that provide a feeling of well-being and help combat depression and anxiety.

The physical health benefits of surf therapy

In addition to supporting mental health, surf therapy also offers significant benefits for physical health:

  • Improved physical condition: Surfing involves a wide range of muscle groups and develops endurance, strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Boosting the immune system: Exposure to the sun and sea salt present in seawater stimulates the production of vitamin D and boosts the body's immune defenses, which is particularly beneficial in winter.
  • Alleviation of chronic pain: Water movement and buoyancy provide a massaging and relaxing effect on muscles, helping to relieve muscular pain and tension.

Surf therapy - Surf waveSurf therapy: for whom?

Surf therapy is aimed at anyone wishing to improve their physical and mental well-being, whether to overcome a depressive episode, cope with stress or simply boost their physical condition. The approach is also suitable for people with disabilities, thanks to special equipment and professional supervision.

How do I get started with surf therapy?

To try surf therapy, you'll need to find a surf center or surf school that specializes in this method. In France, several facilities are dedicated to this discipline, offering courses and workshops adapted to different levels and objectives. To reap the full benefits of this practice, it's advisable to commit to a regular, ongoing program to create a genuine interaction with the ocean and its elements.

In short, surf therapy offers an innovative solution to the challenges of a gloomy winter, supporting mental and physical health through the soothing contact of the ocean and the benefits of physical exercise. So don't hesitate, take to the waves and enjoy the well-being provided by this original method!

Surf therapy - wave