Monday, May 10, 2010

From Nature With Love {Curative Effect of the Sea and the Sting of the Jellyfish}

My mom and dad both grew up in the province, and they have managed to retain their provincial upbringing upto this day, especially when it comes to utilizing homeopathic medicine and natural healing methods. Growing up, it was not unusual to be treated for our childhood cuts, bruises and bumps with a mixture of dried herbs mixed with a pungent dark liquid. Our sprains and body aches were likewise remedied with a healing massage by the "manghihilot," a trained chiropractor well-versed in the ancient Filipino art of healing called hilot. Rashes and other skin irritations were alleviated by going to the beach and soaking in sea water. This is because sea salt acts like a magnet, pulling toxins from the body.

For the therapeutic reasons, whenever C and I stay the night at a beach resort, we always have this routine to saunter to the shore first thing in the morning. We enjoy our walk in silence, inhaling the crisp sea air, almost tasting its saltiness. They say that the see breeze has lots of negative ions floating around, and much research has been done to document that the negative ions present in the sea breeze contributes to that relaxed state of mind that most of us feel after a beach vacation.

My three kids suffer from eczema, although the attacks have become few and far between now that they are older, they still experience some minor recurrence from time to time. Whenever we visit the beach, we include sea bathing in the itinerary, we ask the kids to soak themselves in the salty healing sea water.. The recent visit to Anvaya Cove was no different.

This is how much they liked it:

Those who did not have violent reactions had to be escorted on both sides...
or carried with no part of their body touching the water. Just look at my nephew's tightly curled up legs.

They do not have issues with the sand...

It is the multitudes of jellyfish present in the Bataan water that gets to them. The lifeguard was quick to mention that the jellyfish thriving on their shore are what you call the sand jellyfish, and not as lethal as the box jellyfish which was in the news recently. He also made mention that the developers have made measures to curb the growing jellyfish population from reaching the swimmers by putting up nets along the buoy lines. Still despite the precautionary measures, the Anvaya beach is still a jellyfish minefield.

The warm water that summer brings always attracts a huge population of these gelatinous invaders closer to shore. Although the chances of being stung by a jellyfish is minimal, the risk is still evident. I made sure my kids are protected by letting them wear long-sleeved rash guards and long board shorts, or a long sleeved wet suit. Only very minimal skin is exposed. Not only does this protect them from the harmful UV rays, but it also defends against the painful sting of the jellyfish.

We figured that the worst thing that could happen from a jellyfish sting was a bearable pain akin to an ant bite. The lifeguard assured us that dousing with household vinegar will immediately ease the pain. we recklessly abandoned caution (and common sense, too, perhaps?) and swam with several stingers; the normal arm movement during swimming pushed them away from our space and kept us safe.

As soon as we got back home, I immediately went to check my inbox, and what would welcome me but an article about a jellyfish attack on a nine year old girl. After reading the article, I looked back to our close encounter with the jellies, and wonder if we were recklessly putting ourselves in harm's way. Now that I have all the facts, I am not that brave anymore. :)