Naturism can bring several health and psychological benefits and is a way of thinking geared towards getting humans back in touch with our natural surroundings.
We're going to take a look at some of the ways you can start incorporating naturism and naturist practices into your daily life so that you can get started on your naturist journey.
To fully immerse ourselves into the naturist way of living, we need to understand what naturism is and what separates it from simply practising communal nudity or exhibitionism. Naturism is just as much a way of thinking as it is integrating certain physical lifestyle practices into daily life. It's not all about being naked for the sake of being naked, but rather internalising what it means to be naked.
What is naturism?
The International Naturists Federation (INF) defines naturism as “A way of life in harmony with nature, characterised by the practice of joint nudity, having for goal to support self-respect, the respect of others and the environment".
Naturism is, fundamentally, a social mechanism that allows people to come together in the nude in a non-sexual manner. The theory behind naturist practice is that it builds self-esteem and appreciation for the bare human form. While nudism is simply about being naked in public, naturism places far more emphasis on feeling the effects of nature on your body.
Naturism strips away the social pressures of idealised body image, fashion, make-up and the general conventions of what is deemed beautiful in normalised terms today. Instead, naturism allows participants to explore physical and spiritual acceptance within themselves and others in the same community.
What are the physiological health benefits of naturism?
Since the pandemic, there has been a rise in British naturism as many felt comfortable practising naturism in their homes during the lockdown. Many people have looked towards different outlets to improve their mental health and emotional well-being. And naturism can bring many benefits to your mental and physical health.
Increase in vitamin D levels
Exposing our whole body to the sun means more of our skin can absorb vitamin D, which we need to regulate the body's natural production of calcium, increasing teeth and bone strength.
Vitamin D also helps to make you feel happier. In countries like England, a lack of vitamin D can lead to conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder. Increased sun exposure in a naturist setting can help prevent this as you build up vitamin D for the winter months.
Improved blood circulation
Have you ever thought about how tight clothing can limit how blood circulates? Most people haven't! Being naked for longer helps to improve blood circulation around your body because you're not restricted by potentially tight clothing. Goodbye skinny jeans, hello freedom.
When you sleep naked, it makes it easier for your body to regulate your temperature. It's also easier to get a better night's sleep when your body is exposed to cooler environments. Getting better sleep will improve your mental health and help you function optimally the following day.
What are the psychological benefits of naturism?
Many have taken to the naturist way of living to decrease their stress levels and improve their mental health. Naturism has several benefits for your mental health, which is why so many have opted for this lifestyle.
Boost in self-esteem
When you practice naturism within a naturist community, you'll find that nudity is normalised, as are various body types. Those new to the naturist philosophy will feel vulnerable and exposed initially. However, your complexes about your body image will gradually disappear. This will, in turn, boost your self-esteem and confidence surrounding your body.
Increased appreciation for your body
Naturism embraces nudity in a non-sexual manner and instead demonstrates appreciation for the human body and all it does for us. By appreciating physical bodily functions, you become motivated to live a healthier lifestyle and can enjoy substantial psychological benefits. Naturism also helps us to respect others' bodies as it exposes imperfections and gives us a deeper understanding of what normal, healthy bodies look like as opposed to what the media tells us they should look like.
Increased understanding and cooperation with your natural surroundings
The naturist way of life promotes living in harmony with nature and helps us understand how we can work with nature to benefit our physical health. The feeling of nature on your naked body stimulates a feeling of euphoria. The wind blowing on your skin is highly invigorating, and the texture of grass or soil under your feet makes you feel grounded.
Walking barefoot outdoors may have physical benefits too. Many believe it realigns your body's electromagnetic field, which helps with stress and anxiety. The idea is that grounding makes you feel more orientated and can stimulate clear thought and calmness.
Lowers stress levels
When you no longer have to conform to the pressures of what society deems attractive, you no longer feel the need to look a certain way. When the anxiety surrounding how you look falls away, your stress levels naturally decrease.
How to start practising naturism
If you're thinking about practising naturism or adopting the lifestyle into your daily routine, finding like-minded people and attending events for naturists is the best place to start. There are several festivals you can attend where clothes are optional, and several places even advocate public nudity. However, if you are very new to the concept of naturism, it's a good idea to start experimenting with nudity at home.
Naturist clubs will also give you insights and tips on how to start practising naturism and pointers on the best public places for non-sexual social nudity. As a newbie in the naturist community, it's perfectly acceptable for you to have a cover-up item to hand. Something like a sarong or towel close by in case you feel uncomfortable is a good idea for first-time naturists.
Skinny dipping is a hugely popular naturist activity; many say it's incredibly liberating. It allows you to feel the water wash over you, which has several psychological benefits. Cold water therapy is a way to release endorphins and natural minerals from natural bodies of water are good for the skin, too.
Nude sunbathing is a popular activity within the nudist community, as feeling the sunshine all over is one of the main goals of naturist practice. Organisations known as sun clubs will give you pointers on where the best spots are. Popular spaces are nude beaches and nude parks.
Taking a naturist holiday
Several travel agencies organise naturist holidays, allowing you to stay in nudist resorts and attend nudist gatherings. Such holidays enable you to experience naturist campsites, beaches, and hotels where clothing is optional. Some popular naturist holiday spots include Croatia and Spain.
Naked bike rides
Taking a nude bike ride is a great way to feel the wind on your skin and is a great way to experience nature.
Spaces for naturists
Official nudist beaches
Attending official naturist or nudist beaches can help make you feel like you are part of the community. If you are new to the naturist lifestyle, it's often helpful to attend these places with like-minded people as it will make you feel comfortable being naked in public.
Naturist campsites are a great environment to practice naturist rituals as they are great spaces for you to experience nature through forest walks, river swims, or even beach walks, depending on the location of the campsite.
Is naturism for you?
If you're feeling stressed or mentally unfit, incorporating naturist practices into your life may be a good move. Some who started practising naturism in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic have found that they are far happier and more satisfied with life than before. Physiologically, you will also feel healthier and more at ease with the appearance of your body and that of others.
If you’re interested in getting started with naturism, try contacting some naturist clubs or sun clubs to enquire about gatherings and communities close to you. They will also be more than happy to answer any questions you may have about the principles of naturism.