Why the Beach is a Migraine Friendly, Healing Place

Dreaming of a beachside vacation? Seven out of ten of the most Migraine-friendly cities in the United States are coastal areas. This is no coincidence. Being near moving water nourishes the body with mood-boosting negative ions while walking barefoot in the sand creates a grounding effect—both of which have proven benefits for health and mental outlook.

Negative ions are particles with a negative electrical charge, and they are suspected to be natural mood-boosters. Produced in abundance in outdoor environments around moving water –picture crashing ocean waves or cascading waterfalls—they boost serotonin in the brain which boosts the mood. A Columbia University study showed negative ions improved mood as much as medication. Unfortunately, many homes and buildings emit few or no negative ions. while computers and electronic devices we depend on for constant connection emit mood-sapping positive ions. That’s why simply opening a window or stepping outdoors for a walk can provide an instant pick-me-up.

Pierce J. Howard, PhD, author of The Owner’s Manual for the Brain: Everyday Applications from Mind Brain Research and director of research at the Center for Applied Cognitive Sciences in Charlotte, N.C., says negative ions increase the flow of the oxygen to the brain. A negative ion environment like the beach can boost alertness and mental energy and could potentially ward off a Migraine attack.

beach is a migraine friend

Image: Unsplash

Devices purported to boost negative ions have begun to flood the market, but many are expensive and some are ineffective. Spending time outdoors or taking a shower are quick fixes everyone can afford.

The Benefits of Walking Barefoot and Gardening

Grounding or earthing occurs when skin connects with the Earth’s surface. There are subjective reports in literature in countries worldwide that walking barefoot on sand, grass or the ground enhances health and feelings of well-being (1). More than a dozen studies in peer-reviewed journals have established that grounding improves sleep, reduces pain and stress, boosts immunity and reduces inflammation in the body (2).

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Walking barefoot, performing a downward dog in the sand, or sleeping with or wearing viable grounding devices available on the market (such as sheets, mats, wrist or ankle bands, adhesive patches, or footwear) all provide grounding. Scientists believe that connecting the body to the Earth enables free electrons from the Earth’s surface to spread over and into the body, producing antioxidant effects (3).

Researchers suggest that widespread disconnection from the Earth may be an overlooked contribution to physiological dysfunction and the alarming global rise in non-communicable, inflammatory-related chronic diseases. Grounding may improve sleep, normalize the day–night cortisol rhythm, reduce pain, reduce stress, shift the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic activation, increase heart rate variability, speed wound healing, and reduce blood viscosity (4).

beach is a migraine

Too far from the beach? Walking barefoot in the grass or gardening are other ways to experience the positive effects of grounding. Image: Storyblocs

Grounding is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory

How do the health benefits of grounding work against Migraine? University of Maine scientist Dr. Jonathon Borkum theorizes that a Migraine attack is the body’s way of trying to minimize damage to the brain when the body is subjected to excessive oxidative stress (5). He theorizes that a Migraine attack tries to protect and repair the brain when an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract their harmful effects occurs.

Stress, noise, air pollution, sleep disruption, and poor diet are common contributors to excessive free radicals, leading to Migraine-producing oxidative stress and inflammation. Because grounding is anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, it may provide a natural way to restore balance, minimize the effects of free radicals, and prevent a Migraine attack from occurring.

Those lazy days spent lounging by the ocean can provide a healing connection between you and the Earth. Time spent around water surrounds you with mood-boosting negative ions that might reduce oxidative stress in your brain. This can, potentially, translate into blissful days free of Migraine attacks. If you decide that time at the beach is a Migraine prevention tool you’d like to adopt, make sure to bring plenty of water along with a towel and sunscreen. Staying hydrated while outdoors in the sea air and sunshine can maximize the healing benefits the sea has to offer.

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Comments? Is the beach a Migraine friend or foe for you?

Image: Unsplash

The post Vacation RX: How Time at the Beach Can Heal appeared first on Migraine Again.



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