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Ocean Therapy

What Is Ocean Therapy? Shell Avenue tribe at Venice Beach

The ocean is the great reset. It's an expansive natural therapy center. Taking a plunge first thing in the morning as the sun's coming up offers a massive combo of lifestyle shift power:

  1. It takes people out of their comfort zone. When we're out of our comfort zone, we're making a big commitment to ourselves and our mind is open. Shell mornings start early because we start as we mean to go on.

  2. It's an opportunity to immediately translate thought into action. We jump in. We don't think about it. For addicts who have done the get sober/don't get sober dance, this is a welcome initiation into immediate action!

  3. It's a mental and physical reset. You're not worrying about the little things when you're cold plunging. It's good for your body and your mind.

  4. The ocean is a symbol of depth, the unknown, the restorative and abundant power of nature. When you connect with those elements, you're on the right track.

That's not to mention the well known medical benefits of cold plunging, which include a jump-start in blood flow, hormone regulation, positive impact on respiratory functions, improvements in mood disorders, immune function and general well being.

Beach towels on the sand at Venice Beach

What Does Ocean Therapy Look Like?

Every Friday morning at 7am the Shell tribe congregates on the beach in Santa Monica. We go for a run down to the pier. Everyone buddies up and blows out in real time how they're feeling, what they have planned for the weekend, what's on their mind. Tribe is everything. Seano connects with the sober living clients because the early a.m. is honesty's best friend. When the mind is still waking up and before the realities of the day have set in, connections happen, conversations naturally flow and the real 'you' is available.

We work out on the parallel and pull-up bars to really get our bodies in gear, run back and get ready to jump in the ocean.

We get down to our swimsuits, stand with our feet in the wet sand and set our intentions. We get quiet. Whether or not you're spiritual, this is a moment where you check in and get back in your body. A little prayer prepares us for what's next.

"God, please be in my thoughts about everything and everyone today. Please help me get out of my own way and do what needs to be done. Please do for me what I cannot do for myself."

And then we go in, swimming out, treading water, riding the waves. By now there's a hazy sunrise glow over the Malibu mountains. The palm trees have golden auras. I've seen people with the most obstinate lack of gratitude, within minutes of their first plunge, take it all in and smile from ear to ear. Once you've overcome that initial resistance it's almost impossible not to be grateful.

Tower 28 at Venice Beach

Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes

The wonderful thing about jumping in the ocean is that it represents one of the most critical elements of sobriety: taking action. Without actively making changes, sobriety stands less of a chance of sticking. A lot of sober livings and rehab programs will address immediate aspects of addiction, but the real test of sobriety is its long term viability and the extent to which it integrates with the totality of the person.

That's where Shell differs.

We're about gratitude, nature, physical health and narrative shifts. At Shell you'll learn to tell yourself a different story.

We show people how little changes to their morning routine can set them up for success. We show by example how the seemingly wild and crazy choice of jumping in the ocean before 7:30am can be an exhilarating way of starting the day, a million miles away from waiting for the liquor stores to open or hitting snooze until your life is in the rear-view mirror.

Very few non-addicts are showing up for their lives as much as someone who's wave-riding onto shore at dawn. For the addict it helps people put distance between the person they were just days or weeks before, and the person they are becoming at Shell.


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