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Empirical Research Has Confirmed the Therapeutic Benefits of Scuba Diving
Airworks - 1/23/2020 5:51 AM
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Category: Educational
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Empirical Research Has Confirmed the Therapeutic Benefits of Scuba DivingScuba diving has been around for awhile, and though it is usually considered a recreational sport with a variety of public and private adventurous connotations, it also has very practical commercial and military uses.

But did you know that regular participation in diving can have huge health benefits?

For example, here are the top 10 fitness and health perks that are noted in Samir Becic’s recent book titled Resync Your Life:

1. Physical fitness: Swimming, and by association scuba diving, is one of the very best modes of aerobic and anaerobic exercises we can perform. It provides cardiovascular and muscular exertion as we move our bodies while immersed in water. The natural resistance of the surrounding water offers little to no negative pressure or stress to our joints.

2. Strength and Flexibility: Our muscles work harder underwater, thereby enhancing musculature, endurance, and flexibility. Regular scuba diving can help tone various muscle groups, and even help in bettering our postures.

3. A healing component: One positive aspect of being underwater for extended periods of time is a healing factor that can occur. Due to the increase and infusion of oxygen in the bloodstream and tissues of the body as the result of the physical exertion and deep breathing required for diving, the body is better able to repair minor cuts and bruises that may have been acquired before, during, or after a dive.

4. Better breathing: The slow and deep breathing required in scuba diving optimizes air consumption and allows for longer participation in the water. Regular deep breathing can also provide a calming effect, allowing us to de-stress and relieve tension.

5. Sunlight exposure: One of the most important benefits of being outside and exposing oneself to proper amounts of sunshine is the acquiring of Vitamin D. This vitamin promotes the absorption of calcium, a vital mineral required by the body. Together with proper hydration, the presence of calcium allows for healthy cellular osmosis. Adequate amounts of calcium increases bone strength, enhances energy levels, and promotes endorphin production in the brain. All this contributes to a healthy nervous and immune system.

6. Improve blood circulation: The physical exertion required to scuba dive can be quite a workout! Virtually all major muscle groups are used, pushing the heart and lungs to work harder to provide the oxygen needed by them. Increased blood circulation forces blood vessels to expand and stay flexible.

7. Reduce blood pressure: A corollary to improved blood circulation is the lowering of blood pressure. Several scientific studies have reported that individuals who dive on a regular basis are less prone to strokes and cardiovascular diseases.

8. Underwater contemplation: Much like what happens during meditation, scuba diving can actually assuage mild forms of depression as the diver observes and enjoys aquatic life and environments. The sensation of "flying" and being streamlined and weightless, especially when neutral buoyancy is achieved and maintained, adds to the contemplative experience. Jacques Cousteau, the "father" of scuba diving, put it nicely: "From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free."

9. Social health advantage: Participation in scuba diving allows for interaction with others who have the same interest. A diving community can fulfill the human longing for acceptance and belonging. The sense of adventure that is publicly shared and enjoyed often translates into months and years of social interaction as divers recount memories and experiences.

10. Travel opportunities: Many people believe that travelling to new and/or remote places is one of the very best ways of getting an informal education. Taking the time to check out and discover new locations, experiencing the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of other cultures and places can’t be matched in terms of widening life’s horizons.

The benefits listed above vary in value and effectiveness depending on the individual, but the revelations of a 2016 study - just published, however - found in the Journal of Disability and Rehabilitation has confirmed that scuba diving can have significant therapeutic benefits, particularly for military veterans who have experienced physical injuries and/or some form of psychological trauma as the result of war and combat. The actual research involved direct and personal observations and assessments of mental and functional capabilities of each participant, and incorporated follow-up interviews with them, their family members, and health professionals. The interviews were performed using specific and guided questions.

The research also involved a closer look at Deptherapy, a UK-based charity that offers support to military veterans who have sustained life-changing injuries. Deptherapy provides scuba diving instruction, consisting of lessons and practical diving experiences, together with a “buddy system” that provides continuing support to servicemen. A total of 15 male veterans took part in the study.

Participants reported a drop in anxiety, depression, and insomnia levels, while increasing positive social interactions.

The study’s conclusion was that scuba diving has the potential of offering real and significant therapeutic benefits to most people, particularly to ex-military amputees who experience anxiety and/or any type of chronic psychological disorder.