Harnessing the power of the sea

Yachting can be more than the ultimate leisure activity. It can also be used to harness the healing power of the water and help navigate people after being diagnosed with a disease. Maria Alekseenko, founder of Yachting Therapy, explains more about her unique Monaco-based concept.
When Maria’s close relative was diagnosed with a rare neurological illness, the first thing she says she noticed was the ‘SEA’ in ‘diSEAse’, and the power it could play in the healing process of her loved one.
“Though there are very few studies on how the sea and ocean can holistically impact the body, the evidence of the healing power of the sea is all around,” says Maria Alekseenko. “A yacht is the perfect platform to interact with the sea and experience the best of it.”
After more than 10 years’ experience in retail yacht chartering, Maria has started to explore yachting not just as a means for holidays and expeditions, but as a therapy.
It is, perhaps, a concept that is easily grasped by those who own or charter yachts and who understand how being out on the water induces a state of calm and peacefulness.
“The main purpose of yachting therapy is to help people who experience health issues or have been diagnosed with serious diseases to overcome difficult times, deeply connecting to the water element and benefiting from its healing power,” says Maria. “Yachting therapy is not a medical therapy or treatment, but an alternative complementary experience to manage disease or recovery.”

From ‘Night sea swimming’ and ‘Dancing in the sea’, to a ‘Healing jet-ski experience’ and ‘Philosophy of the waves’, Maria schedules a programme that uses yachts and water as informal therapeutic tools to make people’s lives easier and more enjoyable.
The programme is run in consultation with the patient’s doctors and specialists, and it has been designed in a way that means Maria never needs to be present on board during the sessions.
It is currently targeted at people who have been diagnosed with cancer, motor neurone diseases or diabetes, or are recovering from surgery and chemotherapy. Athletes may also find the techniques beneficial, as well as couples experiencing infertility as the techniques are based on four years’ research and Maria’s personal experiences.
Yachting Therapy forms part of her Monaco-based company Experiential Yachting and the programme can take place on either a chartered yacht or on an owner’s personal boat.
Maria says the benefits include slowing down the progression of a disease, speeding up recovery and activating self-healing.
“The aim is to shift the perception of yachting from product-orientated to experience-orientated, by enriching yachting with deep purpose and extraordinary experiences, making a difference to the world and to people’s lives,” she says.
Photos provided by Yachting Therapy