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The Mauli Ola Foundation in Laguna Beach, California, naturally treats people with cystic fibrosis by teaching them how to surf.
Researchers have found that the ocean’s salt water helps to clear and open up patients’ lungs that are clogged by thick mucous. And while surfing might not be a cure, Australian doctors discovered that cystic fibrosis patients who surfed breathed better than those who did not, according to the Associated Press.
Rob and Paulette Montelone are parents to five children, three of which have cystic fibrosis. The entire family has found relief through Mauli Ola, Hawaiian for “breath of life.”
“It’s helping them breathe better…but its also helping us, as a family, enjoy something together,” Paulette said.
World champion surfer Josh Baxter volunteers with Mauli Ola and helped teach the Montelone siblings how to surf. “They’re spitting up their mucous. I mean, I’m out there going, ‘Hey, cough it up man. No shame,’” Baxter told the Associated Press.
Mauli Ola works with other professional surfers as well, such as Kelly Slater and Sunny Garcia. So far, the foundation has helped almost 1,300 patients through surf therapy, according to its official website.