According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, it seems that surfing can extend the life of people suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF).
CF is a genetic disease that affects approximately 30,000 people in the U.S. and 70,000 people worldwide. It causes the production of thick mucus, which eventually clogs the lungs and can lead to a variety of lung infections. Furthermore, this disease also affects the pancreas, disabling digestive enzymes to break and absorb food.
Past studies have led scientists to conclude that inhaling concentrated salt water (hypertonic saline) mist provided benefits to adults and children suffering from CF. Moreover, Australian doctors observed that young surfers with cystic fibrosis had significantly healthier lungs.
Inhaling salt water rehydrates the lining of the lungs and loosens the thick mucus that builds up, thus reducing recurrent infections alongside its associated lung damage and respiratory failure.
This type of therapy is already being used by 1 in 5 children suffering from CF under 6 years of age.
In 2011, a group of researchers from Seattle designed a clinical trial to test whether inhaling hypertonic saline helps young children with cystic fibrosis. The study evaluated the safety of 7% hypertonic saline administered twice daily for 14 days in children with CF 12-30 months of age, and the results, entitled “Inhaled hypertonic saline in infants and toddlers with cystic fibrosis: short-term tolerability, adherence, and safety“ and published in the Pediatric Pulmonology journal, showed that the hypertonic saline was well-tolerated and caused few side effects, providing encouraging short-term tolerability and adherence data in young children with CF.
This treatment has been called the “saltwater” breakthrough, and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation wants to raise awareness to raise funds for continuous research into this disease. The campaign is called “PIPELINE TO A CURE” and unites famous, artists, surfers and skateboarders such as Green Day, Tom Curren or Tony Hawk, in an effort to bring global awareness of the positive symbiosis between surfing and people suffering with CF.