Surfing, Not Struggling

BY: CLAIRE KIM

Kids and adults who suffer from autism, often struggle to find an efficient treatment that’s both cost-friendly and progressive. With therapy sessions totaling up to thousands of dollars, many can’t afford these services even if they want too. Even worse, some therapy sessions fail to deliver an improved mindset making the entire investment seem like a scam. To combat both issues, a start-up company called A Walk on Water, a California-based nonprofit, has created therapy sessions based on surfing and the ocean.

Primarily aimed for those who have neurological disabilities, the program aims to use the tranquility of the ocean to calm their patients and provide a sense of comfort that is missing from the tacky-walled offices of mental health counselors.

“In a nutshell, surf therapy is a structured method of surfing utilizing elements of ocean and using its therapeutic benefits for those in need,” said Kris Primacio, the chief executive of the International Surf Therapy Organization.

Each surf therapy organization develops its own program. In the beginning, groups usually discuss their personal mental health struggles in an attempt to grow “team bonding”. After this group session is completed, participants finally begin surfing for a few hours before they gather together once more to discuss their feelings and conditions. Following this routine, patients can finally feel a sense of reassurance from both the members in the program and the elements of the sea. It’s a double-gain situation.

Though concrete evidence of surf therapy being proficient for everyone has not been verified, based on the past results from this experience, it seems like its effectiveness has been applauded by various patients. Office rooms are not for everyone. It can feel very restrictive when sand-colored walls and thick carpeted furniture surrounds one all at once. Now with the ocean, the ambiance is completely different. In one word, zen.

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