Freediving and Mental Health: Part 3 of 5
Our last entry touched on how the Mammalian Dive Reflex (aka the Master Switch of Life) causes broad changes in the human body when the face is immersed. The mind and body are intimately connected. During my training as a therapist, I was taught to ask a patient to make a fake smile, two to three times a day, which could measurably improve their mood. Considering that we’re talking about the difference between a few facial muscles and a full body reaction to immersion in water, it’s clear why this is working for freedivers. Our last two entries have been from Freediving students of mine. Let’s see what Tanner Pedersen, a fellow instructor and close friend of mine at @depthwishfreediving, has to say:
“Freediving has had an enormous impact on my life. I come from a background of being diagnosed with OCD, anxiety, and depression. Medicine was often my daily ritual along with talk therapy sessions. This was until I discovered breath work and freediving. Some days can still be tough but freediving has provided me with an outlet to quiet my mind and soul. I go into the water feeling scattered at times and after every dive session, I feel like I am whole again. Freediving is an experience of exhilarating peace. It has changed my life in the most incredible ways, introduced me to amazing friends, and most importantly has provided me a tool to manage my mental health. Freediving is for everybody! No matter your background, gender, sexual orientation, race, age, previous experience, or physical condition, I believe this wonderful sport has healing properties in store for you!”
Here we see that the sense of peace and quiet from Freediving is approaching universality. You might be wondering if there’s any “in depth” research on this topic… Spoiler alert: there is. More to come soon.