Growing up, our home was on Siesta Key across the street from the Gulf of Mexico.

During my adolescence, we lived in a run-down pink cypress rental cottage. Every evening we watched the sunset, ate dinner and listened to the waves gently wash onto the beach.

As an island kid I was always playing outside. And as kids often do, I would get a scrape or a cut or a bruise, maybe poison ivy, or a bee sting. Even when I came down with a cold, my mother always said:

“Go jump in the Gulf and it will be fine.”

Simple as that.

And I knew that at a young age, if I had any ailment, I needed to go for a swim. Immerse myself in salt water, and everything would go away. And it did.

Saltwater, or saline, has been a home remedy for many things, and is widely used in health care. I’m no doctor, but I’ve seen the results. Sore throats, sinus infections, head colds, tooth aches are just a few of the common ailments that can be soothed with saltwater.

But does this saltwater therapy really work? I’ve heard that salt draws moisture from bacteria and any swollen tissues - thus relieving inflammation. It not only destroys bacteria, it prevents it from growing.

And saltwater is also nourishment for the soul. A simple morning swim is not only great exercise, but it revitalizes and energizes our core being. Or even the simple practice of floating in the water can deepen relaxation. Head partially immersed, arms out stretched makes me let "it all go", one moment at a time, without a care to the world.

Just being near the water can be therapeutic. Like many Floridians, I find that going to the beach is like meditation. Gazing at the water while sitting in my beach chair, walking by the water’s edge, or just doing "nothing" centers me. I call it Florida’s “chicken soup for the soul”.

There’s no doubt in my mind, that since the Florida peninsula is surrounded by saltwater, we have a lot of healing potential.

Florida really does seem to have it all. So just jump right in! You’ll feel so much better.

At least that’s what mom says.

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