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Natural Awakenings Bucks and Montgomery Counties PA

Letter from Publisher, August 2012

During this last official month of summer, people everywhere are famous for squeezing in a few last treasured days of R&R pleasures before falling headfirst into preschool schedules, big-school kids' activities and amped up work routines. Our family is no exception which is why our August Family Health issue speaks to me in so many ways.

As you can imagine, traveling with three young children is rarely easy and hasn't been possible for us until this year. So we're currently busily making as many beach memories as possible before the season ends. My kids love to frolic in the sand, digging deep holes and building rambling sand castles that they try hard to protect from the incoming tides. Sitting and listening to local boardwalk performers while we dig into icy treats brings our family into sync. Wow, are we having fun and it's good for us, too.

Do you ever wonder why the beach is a mecca for so many people? It's the same with almost any body of water. I know that as a scuba diver, I've always loved the peace and tranquility of being 50 to 100 feet under the surface with no sounds but my own breathing; it is meditative for me and I resurface stress-free.

Googling around for additional insights about the nearly magnetic power of the seashore, I uncovered some surprising benefits. First, the sound of waves works to alter wave patterns in the brain, lulling us into a deeply relaxed state that helps rejuvenate mind and body. Floating in water diverts blood from our lower limbs upwards, which is good for the heart and pumps more oxygenated blood to our brain, making us more alert. Sea air is charged with negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen, energizing us; balance levels of serotonin, a hormone linked to stress, altering our mood; and affect the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our body clock, helping us to sleep better. Plus, besides the sheer feel-good sensation of sunshine on our faces and all the vitamin D being delivered, the sun's heat influences the natural secretion of endorphins, contributing a general feeling of well-being (Daily Mail).

Now add to that the benefits of skin-to-ground contact. Debra Melani's article, "Barefootin': It Grounds Us," suggests that allowing Earth's naturally occurring free electrons to move directly into our body helps return its natural homeostasis, aiding healing. Once again, Mother Earth's generosity provides an easy, free, achievable way to support optimal health.

Although I've never been a fan of barefootin' it on a lawn (maybe because I innately sensed the truth, that grass isn't an environmentally friendly habitat), I've always relished being barefoot in freshly turned dry soil, like in an organic farm field right before the seeds are planted. Excuse me while I shed my shoes and head outside.

By land, sand or sea, may you make the most of this magnificent planet,

- Audrey

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