Surf Therapy - ONLY ONE OF OUR TREATMENT MODELS
We have designed a treatment model for individuals suffering from P.T.S.D. that is guaranteed to make a dramatic difference in their lives and the lives of those around them. We have a proven formula of treatment that will be administered to the veterans in a one on one setting, group dynamic and in the water. Our style of treating P.T.S.D is much different then any other Doctor or therapist before us.
Why Surf therapy works
Surf Therapy is an adaptive surfing program to assist individuals coping with mental and physical illness in accessing the water environment. Surfing has long been a sport associated with freedom and independence and has the ability to support individuals with special needs in increasing their self-esteem and self-confidence.
The purpose of this program is to increase perceived self efficacy in individuals with physical, mental and developmental disabilities through engagement in physical activity in a water environment, specifically the activity of surfing. The program can be a one-time activity or ideally an ongoing program where growth and healing can be seen and measured.
The initial idea for a therapeutic surfing program came from Dr. Carly Rogers; her personal experience working with children with special needs at a beach as an ocean safety instructor with the Los Angeles County Lifeguards. Carly found that the therapeutic benefits of surfing were obvious in the emotional reactions of children during and after their experience in the water. She later wrote the ocean therapy program utilized worldwide today while earning her master's degree at USC in Occupational Therapy.
Surfing, a sport practiced outdoors in medium that is in constant motion, appears to be an asset compared to traditional sports. It has a broader approach, covering several areas of occupational performance as well as various physical and psychosocial skills of the individual, and it does it in one all encompassing activity. It can have a significant role to play in the life of children with disabilities as well as in children without it can promote physical well-being, combat discrimination, build confidence and a sense of security, as well as play an important role in the healing and rehabilitation process for all people affected by crisis, discrimination and marginalization.
Surfing therapy programs that are well designed can offer important opportunities for leadership development, discipline, teamwork, and personal and professional growth. Advances in technology ranging from wet suits to surfboards make participation in surfing more inclusive.
Occupational therapists consider that people are occupational beings inserted in a social context. As occupational therapy's domain stems from professional interest in human beings; ability to engage in everyday life activities, the broad term that occupational therapists use to capture the breadth and meaning of everyday life activity is occupation.
An occupation is defined as:activities of everyday life, named, organized, and given value and meaning by individuals and a culture. Occupation is everything people do to occupy themselves,including looking after themselves, enjoying life, contributing to the social and economic fabric of their communities.(Law et al.,1997)
Surfing can be a complete and integral activity, taking into account the huge amount of features associated with not only performance in areas of human occupation and performance skills, but also characteristics of the context Lopes, 2006).
We can identify four major factors intervention in practice centered with surfing
- Aquatic Environment (Water Physical Properties) Important in the functional rehabilitation (balance, strength, flexibility);stimulating and relaxing effect; absence of gravity, improves mobility; improves cardiorespiratory capacity; integral muscular work; pleasure.
- Environment Individual interaction (Sensory Integration in an environment rich stimuli): Environmental rich in sensory stimuli (water, sand, seaweed, rocks, aquatic fauna);Awareness for the environmental protection; Help find healthier ways of interaction with the surrounding world;
- Individual Coach/Therapist Interaction (works concepts like expression of feelings and emotions): The trust relationship between teacher/therapist allows the individual to explore their intra-personal conflicts and find solutions; the expression of emotions; look/gaze, physical presence, touch, movement; sharing feelings; working the intra personal and interpersonal concept; improved self-esteem.
- Group Interaction (works concepts such as socialization, Leadership, Inter-help) Contribute in a playful way, to the motivation of a group; establishing a suitable climate for interpersonal interaction; develops social skills; develops concepts of leadership, mutual respect, and mutual help.
SENSORY INTEGRATION THROUGH SURFING
Surfing offers a wide range of sensory stimuli(Lopes, 2010)
Visual reflection and refraction of light on the water surface associated with the constant motion of the waves.
Gustatory/Olfactory The intense smell of the water, and the smell of water and algae.
Tactile/Proprioceptive Buoyancy, sliding over the surface of the water, and the simple passage of the hands through the water distal movements as they drop into the wave, or tactile stimulation of the foot on the sand.
Auditory The sound of the waves and movement of the water.
Vestibular Constant imbalance and rebalance inherent to the activity.
In short, surfing can and should be seen as an added value in the prevention and treatment of many pathological conditions, contributing to social inclusion, avoidance of a sedentary lifestyle and stress, improvement of self-esteem and encourage teamwork as well as to stimulate protection of the environment and quality of life.
Surfing also helps individuals lead to a better understanding of life. Here are a few of the primary reasons why:
1. Surfing gets the individual onto natural time. A surfer's schedule is not set by calendars or days of the week. If the waves are firing, they are out on the water. If it's flat or the wind is blowing onshore, they are doing other things. By tuning into Earth;s natural rhythms of swell, wind, and tide, your body aligns with the forces that surround us daily, but has gone mostly overlooked in present society. When we go by the human-devised clock and calendar, we lose touch of that natural rhythm and get into a routine that is not harmonious with the world around us. The moon plays a role as role. Surfing helps you develop a sense for which phases of the moon create the best tidal conditions for particular breaks.
2. Individuals feel the vortex. The dictionary defines vortex as a whirling mass. This can be fire, air, water, or any other medium that can whirl on it's own. From what we have noticed in life and the universe around us, is that life produces itself in spirals. In surfing, you find this in the barrel. These spirals range from the minuscule (a DNA strand) to the astronomical (a galaxy). Set these spirals in forward motion and the space within becomes a vortex. This is essentially how life springs from either.
3. You won't catch a wave by staring at it. This is one of those truths that is painfully obvious when in the water but when translated to other aspects of life it is a bit more obscure. When surfers see a wave coming but are not 100% focused on doing everything in their power to catch the wave, it doesn't work. To catch a wave it means paddling, and usually paddling hard. If you are not completely lined up at the right spot, the wave will either pass underneath you or will come crashing down on top of you. But, if you are positioned well and put in the appropriate effort, then (and only then) will you catch the momentum and be able to ride the wave. the same is true in "catching" other opportunities we hope to "ride" in life. It could be a job, or a relationship, or a moment in time on a street corner with a random passerby. The point is that unless you are lined up in the direction of whatever is coming your way, it will either casually pass underneath you or come down crashing hard. But if your effort is aligned with the force coming at you, you'll be able to stand up and ride alongside whatever may come.
4. You literally dance with nature. It might sound like hippie talk but it's true. Waves are all around us. They permeate our very existence on a level that none of us truly understand, or can even fully perceive. Waves are the basis for how information is transmitted in the universe. Surfing is dependent on the interaction between wind and water to create swell, until that swell reaches land causing it to break. But here's the kicker - the water we ride on is simply a medium that transmits the energy we ride. The actual water molecules are more or less stationary as the waves themselves travel hundreds if miles across the water. What does that mean? It means when you are surfing, you are riding energy.
5. You learn about true love. Just when you think you have something down, you learn something new that is so humbling, you are forced to evaluate what you thought you knew. You are brought to reality time and time again, and any ego trip that you are on will put you in ultimate failure if you bring that attitude to the waves. On the other side of that equation, by putting in your time and forgetting about all the bad moments you will relish in moments of pure ecstasy that cannot be described in a simple line of text as this. It's a lifelong relationship that is not without it's struggles. But the reward is ultimate. Being around something or someone that makes you feel better is a pretty good definition of true love.
6. Not all hard work earns you a paycheck. Aside from a small percentage of professionals, surfing will not make you rich. Sure, there are jobs relating to surfing that allows for the freedom to surf, but you will find very few people who make a living simply for going out and surfing. But surfing can be hard. You have to put in your time. There are no shortcuts. You reward isn't money. Which is a very powerful lesson, showing that monetary gain is not the end result.
7. It is scientifically proven to make you happier. The actual state of being "stoked" is a real thing. It has to do with ionized water particles in the air that you either inhale or ingest. The turbulence created by breaking waves alters the physical structure of the air and water, breaking apart water and air molecules and releasing charged ions into to the atmosphere. On their eternal quest for perfect waves surfers inevitably encounter this altered atmospheric state. Some scientists are convinced this abundance of negative ions has a positive effect on mood by triggering the release of endorphins and serotonin - the "happy hormones" - and increasing the blood flow and oxygen circulation throughout our bodies.