Waves of wellbeing.

As the sea-inspired Mareel Wellness & Beauty holistic spa is welcomed on Cunard cruises, we explore how the ocean can bring health benefits to mind, body and soul.

No wonder we gravitate towards the ocean – the soul-soothing sounds of the waves, the healing sensations of the salty air, and the invigoration of the water when we're swimming in the sea, all feel like a tonic.

‘The sea is a powerful wellbeing prescription for both our physical and psychological health,’ says Jane Alexander, a leading holistic health expert and author. ‘As adults, around 60 per cent of our bodies are made up of water, so it's not surprising that we feel a kinship with the element outside our bodies, as well as inside.’

Here, she highlights just some of the health benefits you can soak up while you’re on a Cunard cruise – whether strolling on deck or enjoying some of the many activities on board.

Boost your defences.

‘Our red and white blood cells - the latter are important for our immune system - can increase when we immerse ourselves in sea water,’ says Jane. What’s more, the colder temperature of the sea also has pain-relieving properties, helping to ease muscle and joint pain.

Lift your spirits.

Breathing in fresh, salty air is seriously good for us. ‘There’s a wealth of evidence showing that being in or near sea water helps us become calmer, more relaxed, happier, and even sleep better,’ says Jane. One of the reasons is that when the wind and waves break apart air molecules, they take on a negative charge. It’s thought that these negative ions increase levels of serotonin, our body’s feel-good hormone.

‘As adults, around 60% of our bodies are made up of water, so it's not surprising that we feel a kinship with the element outside our bodies, as well as inside.'

Try gentle meditation.

A Cunard voyage gives you an opportunity to simply observe the calming sensation of the dancing waves which can have a hypnotic effect. ‘Being in this kind of calm mindful state – in which the brain is relaxed by focusing – has a myriad of wellbeing benefits, from lower stress and anxiety levels, through to relief from mild pain,’ says Jane. ‘Just watch the waves, letting your mind follow their movement as they lap against the shore or ship.’

Calm your brain.

Most of us only have to hear the sound of the waves for our shoulders to drop and to instantly feel calmer. Why? Because being by the sea affords the brain and our senses some vital downtime and solitude from their usual over-stimulated, go-go-go state. ‘The sound of the sea tells our minds that it’s okay to switch off – we’re safe,’ says Jane.

Ocean inspiration.

The extraordinary powers of the sea are reflected in Mareel Wellness & Beauty, the stunning new holistic spa concept co-created by Cunard and wellness trailblazer Canyon Ranch.

Recently launched on Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth - with Queen Mary 2 set to follow - Mareel guests are able to soak up the transformative powers of the ocean with exemplary marine-based treatments, while the Aqua Therapy Centre features everything from billows of aromatic steam to an ice fountain, aqua therapy pool, sauna and sensory showers. A spa experience like no other!

Jane Alexander is the author of The Holistic Bible: Over 80 Effective Treatments to Heal the Mind, Body & Spirit (£14.99, Carlton).