How surf therapy is helping women who have experienced trauma

Groundswell Scotland uses the ocean as a rehabilitation tool and also teaches women breath work, yoga, surfing and swimming.

Women who have experienced trauma are taking to the waves as part of a surf therapy project in East Lothian.

Groundswell Scotland offers participants a surfing course who may not find traditional therapies appealing.

The £4,500 grant from the University of Edinburgh Community Grant Scheme will enable Groundswell Scotland to enhance its seven-week healing programme.

The course uses the ocean as a rehabilitation tool to help women self-regulate difficult emotions and navigate potential triggers to widen their capacity to deal with stress.

Taking place in different locations around East Lothian and the Scottish Borders, these sessions focus on journaling, breath work, yoga, surf safety and sea swimming.

After leaving a 12-year career in the army, Emma Maguire found herself feeling lost and struggling with her mental health.

Emma Maguire said surfing helps 'clear her head'

Although she was apprehensive about the social aspect, she started a surf therapy course just off the coast of East Lothian – and she says it’s been life changing.

She said: “You get back to that childhood joy feeling of feeling totally free. For me, especially when it’s a big waves day, you can really throw yourself into it.

“You get rid of all of that pent-up emotion that I was struggling to find another way of dealing with, or even put a label on. It clears it all and you come back with such a fresh head.”

Sally Harris, Founder and Lead Facilitator of Groundswell Scotland, said: “The ocean has so much power to help build an individual’s self-awareness and esteem – important elements when healing from trauma.

“The funding from the University will help us to continue our work into such a valuable initiative that will benefit hundreds of women as they unite through shared experiences and bond over the joys of surfing.”

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