Surfers are the last people who need to be reminded of the benefits of riding a wave. What is becoming increasingly clear is the therapeutic effect the ocean can have on the human body. Many apply this to what we now know as ocean therapy, which is the term for using surfing as a skills-based and experiential treatment. For example, researchers exploring the benefits of ocean therapy for military personnel seeking mental health support found ocean therapy can reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
As a surfer and researcher, this got me thinking about the science behind surf therapy. How can surfing inform science and science inform surfing to benefit those in need of extra mental health support? One person in the UK has been thinking this through and putting it into action. Josh Dickson, psychologist and founder of Resurface, is applying the science of flow to develop surf retreats for those with mental health issues, as well as people in the pursuit of creativity and a positive mind and body.