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Navy, Marine Corps spending over $1 million on surfing

Marine Lt. Gen. John Toolan surfs at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton with the Jimmy Miller Foundation in 2014. (Photo: Courtesy Of The Jimmy Miller Foundation.)

The US military is looking into ways that surfing could possibly help individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, with the US Navy and Marines investing over one million Dollars into researching the concept.

Currently, researchers believe surfing provides a winning mixture of exercise, time in an outdoor environment and therapeutic exercise that could be beneficial to troops who are experiencing high levels of stress, particularly combat stress.

“Lots of times it becomes therapy under the guise of recreation,” said Helen Metzger, who currently heads the health and wellness department at Naval Medical Center San Diego. “They talk about surfing and then it gets into things that are deeper than that, common experiences, common traumas.”

For many sailors and Marines who participated in the initial Navy studies, the introduction of surfing into a weekly routine appear to be helping them- decreasing issues like insomnia, digestive health, negativity and depression.

“For many of our patients, exercise is the best medicine, and exercise in the natural environment is even better,” said James LaMar II, a physician at the Naval Medical Center San Diego. “Surfing is a way back to a healthy life, the kind of life they had before they were traumatized.”

According to SF Gate, the study began last year and will also determine whether hiking or surfing is more therapeutic for those involved in the study.

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