Divers just know. They know they love the water, especially being under it. What they might not know is that water has tremendous healing power and there are demonstrable physiological reasons for this. Now, thanks to Wallace J. Nichols’ descriptively titled book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, interested divers can learn more about the science behind this amazing phenomenon.
Reconnecting People to Water
Nichols trained as a biologist and ecologist and he brought experts in sociology, anthropology and the cognitive sciences together with biologists to tackle a fundamental question: “What happens when our most complex organ – the brain – meets the planet’s largest feature – water?”
“There are lots of anecdotes, lots of personal feeling, lots of poetry, but what is going on?” Nichols asked while talking about his book in Seattle, USA. He’s conscious of how close he’s sailing to touchy feely shores with Blue Mind and is quick to keep things on a scientific tack. He quotes well-known neurologist Oliver Sacks, who studies the brain, “There’s something about being in water that alters my mood and gets my thoughts going like nothing else can.” Nichols explains that when you’re in water, cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) levels go down, your breathing and heart rate go down and you relax. Assembling data from electroencephalography (EEG) and, since the 1990s, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and using other scientific inquiry techniques, Blue Mind lays a solid scientific foundation and helps explain what happens when your “mind is on water.”
It’s a fascinating exploration and clearly relevant to divers around the world who will find great value in the pages of Blue Mind. It’s a treasure trove of good ideas and inspiration and the kind of book you’ll read once and find yourself returning to time and again. And it’s simply nice to know that diving is actually good for you.