Promoting Health Through Nudism
Jul 01, 2016 12:32PM
● By Ronna E. Krozy and Nancy Greenhouse
Nudism allows individuals to live a life of freedom and self-acceptance in a safe, natural and healthy environment for all, among a community of caring friends.
Nudism, also known as naturism, is both a philosophy and a lifestyle. It’s a way of life that promotes the enjoyment of daily activities free of clothing, in a non-sexual social setting such as a camp, resort, club or beach. People who enjoy social nudism reflect a cross-section of society—professional, political, academic, spiritual and creative.
Backed by several research studies, nudists cite many physical and psychological health benefits, especially for women and children. These benefits include body acceptance, self-image and personal confidence; freedom from shame; a sense of liberation, relaxation and peace; a realistic view of the diversity of bodies, rather than magazine-altered supermodels; the realization that nudity and sex are not synonymous; and acceptance based on the individual’s self, not on looks.
Our society tends to dictate that the ideal woman is young, busty, slim and provocative; the ideal man is tall, muscular, athletic and “well-endowed”. As a result, many individuals feel that they do not measure up. In fact, girls as young as 7 years old have been reported as being dissatisfied with how they look or with particular parts of their body. Anorexia, bulimia and steroid usage remain significant public health problems, while consumers spend billions of dollars for services that alter the body, and products to lose weight or guarantee a more youthful appearance.
Nudism, on the other hand, promotes the acceptance of every person, irrespective of size, shape or body condition. Nudism is considered the great equalizer, because uncovering the body removes the symbols of status and allows you to discard labels, titles and uniforms.
As at any camp or resort, typical activities include tennis, yoga, swimming, hiking, biking, volleyball, gardening, community dinners, dances, live music, wine-tastings and socializing by a campfire with friends. The only difference is one’s right to do it clothes-free.
Many naturist groups tend to be socially conscious, and fundraise for charities and volunteer in their communities (while dressed). For example, Solair Recreation League in Woodstock, Connecticut—one of the oldest family nudist resorts and campgrounds in the U.S.—installed solar panels to heat its swimming pool, dramatically reducing fossil fuel use and carbon emissions while saving thousands of dollars for members and guests.
The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) is the national organization that maintains a stringent behavioral code for individuals and clubs holding AANR membership. Safety and security of members and guests, especially women and children, are key priorities. While most naturist camps and resorts require positive identification from all visitors, including Sex Offender Registry Information and Criminal Offender Record Information checks, as well as personal interviews, visitors shouldn’t be intimidated—club staff and members are ambassadors, aiming to make each visit as comfortable as possible while looking out for the safety and privacy of every member and guest.
Additionally, at every club or resort, guests will find specific rules against any public behavior that is sexual in nature or uncomfortable for others—not much different than rules applied in neighborhood parks. One such strict rule: no photography of any sort is allowed. Persons not adhering to these rules are asked to leave immediately and are not allowed to return. Other AANR-affiliated clubs may also be alerted and the offender’s name placed on a watch list.
Finding Clubs or Resorts
Hundreds of AANR-affiliated clubs and resorts, including Solair Recreation League, can be found with a quick internet search. In addition to the friendly and stress-free atmosphere that visitors experience, Solair is particularly aware of the apprehension many women feel on their first visit to a naturist resort. In response, it has formed a chapter of Women in Nude Recreation, and any woman visiting for the first time, without a male companion, is entitled to a free visit.
An Important Message
Nudism allows individuals to become their own image maker. As one Solair member describes, “As a woman who has always been ‘of size,’ becoming a nudist was the first time I could truly and thoroughly accept myself and feel comfortable in my own skin.” Another states that nudism created a sense of spiritual connection to the earth. Many visitors say they wish they had learned about nudism when they were younger and that their children were given the opportunity to experience nudism growing up.
In fact, research shows children that are raised with nudism are confident, at ease with themselves and more accepting of differences. These are characteristics that build good citizens and democratic leaders. “Come for a visit, stay for a lifetime” is Solair’s motto. Anyone that discovers nudism will wholeheartedly understand this sentiment.
Ronna E. Krozy, EdD, RN, is a retired professor of nursing and health education in Massachusetts. Nancy Greenhouse has created development programs for numerous Boston-area nonprofit organizations. Both are longtime members of the American Association for Nude Recreation and Solair Recreation League, in Woodstock, Connecticut. For more information, call 860-928-9174.