Way Layne Beachley describes the creature in the ocean makes it sound almost like a religious experience.
"Dive into the ocean, I feel that this is the feeling of being cleansed from my head all the way down to my toes … almost like it clears my mind, my body and my soul," she says.
"It's a place where I feel connected. It is a place where I feel a sense of freedom.
"And as a control freak to admit, this is a great place to give up – because this force is way more powerful than me."
Beachley, who has won seven world surfing titles before retiring from professional surfing in 2008, is considered one of the most successful female surfers in history.
But her time in the ocean has brought her more than professional success. Surfing, she says, is "from time to time is saved [her] life. "
"In the mid-90s, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, and it was a really hard time, because I did not want to admit that I was sick," she says.
"I was in a state of depression … I was thinking about to finish their lives on a daily basis."
After seeking professional help, and makes a "complete mental, physical and emotional attachment to [her] Health », Beachley is back in the surf.
"It was the desire to go surfing again, that kept me alive in the deepest, darkest moments of my life," she says.
"Surfing gives me the healthy dose of vision and balance in life. If I ever felt overwhelmed, I know that I was away from the ocean for too long. "
Surfing as therapy
Beachley describes herself as a "huge fan" of surfing as a form of therapy.
"You go there, you free yourself from fears and anxieties and pressures of life … and it really brings you in your own state of being."
Director General of the International Organization of the surf therapy (ISTO) Kris Primacio says that the idea of therapy with surf & # 39 is the introduction of therapeutic services in the "internal causes" of surfing activity.
"Each program surf therapy requires a structured approach to the switch to achieve a therapeutic effect," she says.
"Programs have been developed to cure mental and physical illness through surfing, and at the same time, we increase participant self-efficacy, and provide them with a sense of achievement."
Program surf therapy, typically include a current-based group therapy under the supervision of mental health practitioner or informal peer support, and then a separate search for instructions.
"We did not reinvent the wheel – is a creative art therapy, there is a horse-therapy, music therapy … there we will walk for the way that they cut for empirical therapy," says Ms. Primacio.
Brisbane psychologist Christine Bagley-Jones says that while not surfing from the & # 39 is officially recognized therapy models, including physical activity in the treatment of mental health can have huge benefits.
"Our physical health is closely linked to our mental health, and vice versa. If we do not feel good mentally, it's a good idea to begin to explore how we look after our bodies, "she says.
«Surf therapy looks very physiological components of mental health."
She adds that in addition to the benefits of physical activity, surfing – and other forms of exercise – can help bring someone in real time, creating a sense of awareness.
"It allows us to be distracted from the things that may be bothering us to get a shift of perspective," she says.
"With surf therapy, you need to be 100 per cent focused on the activity in your hand … and while you are totally focused on what you're doing, you can not be a house or engage in anxiety or depressive thinking."
ISTO work with 30 surf care organizations from around the world, including two of Australia. Participants came therapies include young people traumatized young people with autism, people with disabilities, and people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
"Surfing is such physical activity – it builds strength and balance – but it also builds confidence," says Ms. Primacio.
"We know that physical activity reduces our stress and may reduce our concerns. Now research is underway around the world … to see if people get a therapeutic effect on the ocean, and more specifically, surfing. "
Programs for PTSD
Last year, the US Navy started a research project in the amount of $ 1 million to explore the therapeutic potential of surfing for soldiers with PTSD, depression or sleep problems.
It follows a study of Los Angeles occupational therapists Carl Rogers, who investigated the therapeutic benefits of surfing experience a positive impact of this on her own mental health.
Dr. Rogers has developed a program to find a treatment in 2004 (which has since been used as the basis of many programs) and conducted a small study with veterans who are experiencing symptoms of PTSD.
"Our members have taken part five sessions, and we found that they decreased self-reports of PTSD and depression symptoms," she says.
"We also found that there was an increase in their attendance … that really showed the benefit of this therapy."
Michael Burg, director of the Australian College of trauma care, says exercise has long been regarded as an effective adjunct therapy "to reduce stress and injury."
When it comes to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, he says, group lessons, surfing can be particularly useful because of their social aspects.
"Social isolation is well known that the phenomenon of PTSD. People often feel that they are countries and countries because of flashbacks," says Mr Burg.
"If they are involved in sports activities, this helps to reduce their isolation – there is a sense of camaraderie with other surfer … and this can greatly help."
Surfing takes bar & # 39; EASURES to conventional therapy
A professional therapist Joel with Pilgrim & # 39 is the CEO of Wellness Waves, which runs to find treatment programs for people with mental health problems.
He said that the inclusion of surfing in clinical therapy can help eliminate some of the bar & # 39; EASURES people face when receiving mental health care.
"There are many people who shy away from basic services because they do not want to be associated with a brand," he says.
Waves Wellness workshops were inspired by the work of Mr. travelers with a wave, a non-profit surfing community, recently made headlines when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle joined the group at Bondi Beach in Sydney, to raise awareness in the field of mental health.
"The thought of being able to go out and focus on your physical health is absolutely necessary to maintain a positive mental health," said Mr. Pilgrim.
"It is not just the act of being around nature … this is an opportunity to disconnect from injuries that life can often throw at us."