Health geography makes critical contributions to contemporary and emerging interdisciplinary agendas of nature-based health and health-enabling places. Couched in theory and critical empirical work on nature and health, this book addresses questions on the relationships between water, health and wellbeing. Water and blue space is a key focus in current health geography research and a new hydrophilic turn has emerged with a particular focus on the aspects of water which are affective, life-enhancing and health-enabling. Research considers the benefits and risks associated with blue space, from access to safe and clean water in the Global South, to health promoting spaces found around urban waters, to the deeper implications of climate change for water-based livelihoods and indigenous cultures. This book reflects recent theoretical debates within health geography, drawing from research in the public health, anthropology and psychology sectors. Broad thematic sections focus on interdisciplinary, experiential and equity-based elements of blue space, with individual chapters that consider indigenous and global health, water’s healing properties, leisure and blue yogic culture, coastal landscapes, surfing, swimming and sailing, along with more contested hydrophobic dimensions.

The interdisciplinary lens means this book will be extremely valuable to human geographers and cultural geographers. It will also appeal to practitioners and researchers interested in environmental health, leisure and tourism, health inequalities and public health more broadly.

chapter 1|18 pages


part I|58 pages

Interdisciplinary perspectives on water and health

chapter 2|19 pages

The meaning of water to health

Antipodean perspectives on the ‘substance of life’

chapter 3|14 pages

Keeping leisure in mind

The intervening role of leisure in the blue space – health nexus

chapter 4|13 pages

Sailing, health and wellbeing

A thalassographic perspective

chapter 5|12 pages

To the waters and the wild

Reflections on eco-social healing in the WILD project

part II|74 pages

Experiencing health in blue space

chapter 6|18 pages

From water as curative agent to enabling waterscapes

Diverse experiences of the ‘therapeutic blue’

chapter 7|22 pages


Being and belonging on the borderlands of surfing, senses and self

chapter 8|15 pages

Blue yogic culture

A case study of Sivananda Yoga Retreat, Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas

chapter 9|19 pages

No ducking, no diving, no running, no pushing

Hydrophobia and urban blue spaces across the life-course

part III|85 pages

Blue health inequality and environmental justice

chapter 11|23 pages

Thirst World?

Linking water and health in the context of development

chapter 13|23 pages

Environmental uncertainty and muddy blue spaces

Health, history and wetland geographies in Aotearoa New Zealand

chapter 14|8 pages


New directions