Salt. It’s one of the chemical compounds that is most intimately connected with our human bodies — one that might even hold a candle to hydrogen, oxygen or carbon. A myriad of elements fused together, salt holds great power on elemental, cellular level. These microscopic effects, as they always do, ripple outwards to alter life as a whole. Our experience of this earth changes in ways we may never consciously recognize, but it’s always present and ready to be harnessed.
When it comes to curiosity of simple things, things like salt, simplicity become an obscure concept. There’s an undeniable beauty that comes from the delightful replication of its chemical structure [in numbers absolutely inconceivable], assisted by the concept, the idea, of potential. It’s comforting to look at salt and know that this inert substance have the power to cleanse one’s body and protect our collective psyche. To some, it might be even more comforting to admit that we might never completely understand its power — and to love it anyways. Here, gratitude is the name of the game.
Which begs the question: can we, as humans interacting with this earth and its many different building blocks, accept the idea that salt might hold more a healing dominion over our bodies than even we possibly could, or even conceived as possible? So far, it’s been interesting to watch us toe the line.
However, there’s another combination of the elements that results in another joyfully simple state of being: water. Is there a single person in the world who can deny the healing power of water? We can see the progression of our lives clearly reflected in the endless movement and curls and currents of a river. We delight in dancing rainfalls, so out of context as it falls from the sky. Fresh water is so essential to us that we would, with ease, perish without it; even a simple glass of water can cure most of our everyday ailments, from headaches to exhaustion. Same goes for salt water: thalassotherapy utilizes the ocean as a mode and methodology for healing, for both mental and physical health.
The difference between the power of river or glacier, which can carve through a mountain with unreal precision, and that of the ocean, mysterious and all-knowing?
Drinking salt water is not recommended as method of hydration, but salt does have its nutritional purposes other than making food taste supremely delicious. Sea salt can cleanse your digestive system by blasting through any blockages that might have built up there. Salt water is incredibly buoyant and can gracefully cradle arthritic joints, as well as give your immune system a nice boost. You know those archaic nutrients brought to the top of the sea by those deep ocean currents? They nurture your body just as they nurture the clouds of blooming plankton, which in turn feeds the fishes, which then feeds the world. The sea is a constant reminder that we are not separate from the natural world but rather innate part of it; just as essential as plankton and sardines, as we are to the grand blue whale, or the fearsome great white shark, or even as the salt locked in its waters.
When looking at salt on its own, there are tomes of information available on its many uses. It’s not hard to find the many metaphysical uses for salt, as they’ve been well documented by ancient Asiatic and Wiccan cultures throughout the ages. It’s been noted that salt, especially sea salt, is particularly superb at neutralizing excess energy. According to quantum physics, a considerably more recent science, all matter emits vibrations on a sub-atomic level. All things vibrate at different levels, and different vibrations have a tendency to come into balance and sync with one another when in relative physical proximity.
Salt’s vibrational frequency draws out excess or irregular energy from anything placed near it, which is why you’ll find new-aged crystal lovers cleansing their stones in real, living salt. In more colorful terms, it is known to ‘draw out bad energies.’ Many people throw salt over their shoulder with the intention of neutralizing any ‘bad luck’ they might have accrued — in fact, salt is used in exorcisms as a way to rid people of their devil within! Or, you know, you could keep insects at bay by leaving a thin line of salt around the perimeter of your house. Depends on what your situation calls for!
All this is great, but the addition of water makes salt’s benefits ever-more accessible to us and our bodies. Just soak in a salt bath, and you’ll understand.
Ocean water is, quite literally, swimming with minerals. It’s almost as if all the earth’s forces conspired to make a cocktail that was ultra soothing not only our outer skin, but also our inner spirit. Seawater helps those with various skin conditions and can spur on the healing of wounds — but when working with the ocean, it’s presence that serves to heal us on the inside. Whether it’s swimming or surfing or floating on the waves, the focus that’s needed to ensure you have a safe experience is powerfully cleansing. The rhythmic waves of the ocean seem to wash away our anger with ease, and sheer power of it can topple our egos from their foundations. The breathing patterns used in swimming produce the same effect as pranayama used in yoga. Standing on a beach, at the edge of a continent, reminds us how small we are and how much we don’t know about the world in which we live. What could those saline waters possibly conceal so effectively? In our lifetime, we may never find out.
There are so many ways that salt serves us, from ayurvedic tradition to tastefully seasoned meals; however, I challenge you to experience salt, and salt water, in a different way. The next time you are at the beach, and it is a calm day and the seas feel settled, try mindfully floating. Feel the seawater support your body; feel the pulse of the ocean move in and around you. Allow your thoughts to melt away as your very essence becomes one with the salt water. It’s like a naturally occurring sensory deprivation tank, but immensely more effective than anything that us humans could invent. Believe me, you will emerge with a new understanding — of what?
Well, that’s for you to find out.
Salt is intimately connected to us in almost every way. It’s the main reason our cells function. It’s a part of the soil, it’s in our oceans, it’s in our tears; it builds the universe. Simple salt even gave us the ability to preserve food and advance as a human race. To think of it solely as the white, crystalline ingredient that sits on our dinner tables is doing salt, and us, a huge disservice. Embrace salt as one of our most readily available conduits of healing, and feel the difference!