Reconnecting to our wild side and remembering our ancestral ways can help us thrive and encourage us to preserve our sacred wild places for future generations to enjoy.
Connecting to the element of water is particularly powerful and wild swimming is a great way to do it.
When we sit nearby or immerse ourselves in water it helps us connect with our emotions. It doesn’t matter if it is a lake, a river or the sea, the process of being in or near these wild watery places is healing. This healing power has been known for centuries. In greek medicine it was known as 'water cure' with therapies such as hydrotherapy and thalassotherapy becoming fashionable. There are still ancient cultures such as the Hindus who bathe in the river Ganges with the belief it will free them from sin.
“When you swim, you feel your body for what it mostly is – water – and it begins to move with the water around it. No wonder we feel such sympathy for beached whales; we are beached ourselves at birth. To swim is to experience how it was before we were born.”
-Waterlog Roger Deakin
At Bedstraw + Madder we have a strong desire to preserve our sacred waterways and keep them pure and free from pollution. With 20% of global water pollution linked with the fashion industry from petrol chemical dyes and synthetic processing agents, it prompted our desire to work only with chemical free, natural plant dyes that had a positive impact on people and planet.
Our co-founder Primrose was lucky enough to grow up on an Island and now lives next to the River Dart so wild water and cold water swimming is very much a part of her soul.
There are great benefits from swimming in cold water regularly and it is quickly becoming a global phenomenon with characters like Wim Hof inspiring us with their personal stories of triumphing over illness and depression through the power of the cold.
So what are the Benefits?
It helps to build up brown adipose tissue resulting in fat loss
It reduces inflammation through the body
It boosts our immunity and balances our hormones
Increases our sleep quality
Triggers the production of endorphins - the feel good hormones that naturally elevate your mood making it incredible for mental health which a study by the BMJ can vouch for.
Salt water in the sea contains minerals like magnesium, zinc, potassium and iron which activate the healing mechanisms in the body, reduce aches and pains as well as relaxing muscles and healing skin.
The best things in life really are free. If wild swimming can do all this then what are we waiting for?
The more you do it, the less you feel the cold as your circulation increases. Focusing on your breathing as you swim makes wild swimming a very mindful process and reduces stress.
If you are looking for inspiring wild swimming reading material here are some of our favourites:
The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof
Wild Swimming walks Dartmoor and South Devon by Sophie Pierce
Taking the plunge by Vicky Allan
Cold water plunges can cool our cool temperature, especially in the cooler months. It is at these times it is especially important to have tools at hand to warm up quickly when you get out. You can't beat a hot drink for this. Our favourite companion for cold water swims is a Kelly Kettle so you can boil a cuppa for yourself and your companions wherever you find yourself.
Kelly Kettle - for that warming cuppa after your dip.
“Live in the Sunshine, Swim the Sea, Drink the wild air”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson