Winter dehydration has greater consequences than just dry skin. It may also be the source of your seasonal blues and flues.
“Drink at least one quart of pure water a day” was one of the first self-health assignments for students in my holistic practitioner classes. Over 30 years and more than 12,000 reports from 600 students, along with my professional observations, and I can say quite confidently that drinking pure water has miraculous healing effect.
From allergies to yawning excessively (not quite A to Z), six months’ consistent daily hydration helped cure acne, altitude sickness, arthritis, bladder infections, chapped lips, constipation, depression, headaches, flu, frostbite, heartburn, infertility (two couples unable to conceive children, began their families while taking my courses), insomnia, fatigue, menstrual and premenstrual disorders, psoriasis, restless leg syndrome, ringing in ears. Medical scientists have proven that physical and mental deterioration associated with aging are more pronounced due to cumulative dehydration.
Our bodies are sacks of seawater, but science hasn’t begun to fathom the far-reaching multidimensional effects and physiological interrelationships of proper hydration. So it is the purpose of this article to inspire and empower you to drink more pure water (not flavored, vitamin enriched or otherwise enhanced).
For inspiration, we take a closer look at how your magnificent body works, as well as at metaphysical implications of water for a healthier psyche and spirit. For empowerment, I describe easy, practical tips for building and maintaining healthy hydration habits, starting right now.
More than 70% of your body weight is water, which bathes tissues and washes away metabolic wastes. Nobel prize winning scientist, Alexis Carrel, provided a steady supply of fresh water for chicken hearts, which were still alive 30 years later when he died.
• Two to Three Quarts of Fluids Daily •
Our bodies need at least two to three quarts of fluids every day. (More fluids are needed by bigger bodies, as well as during exercise and extreme weather conditions.) At least half of those fluids should be plain, pure water. (It’s okay to add a slice of lemon.) In the ancient healing system known as Ayurveda, hot water is routinely sipped to enhance tissue cleansing.
In addition, at least another quart of fluids should come from vegetables and fruits. Daily fluid intake needs to be consistent, analogous to brushing your teeth. Four minutes brushing each day is far more effective than if you were to brush only once a month for 2 hours.
Water moving in and out of cells not only cleans them, it repairs cells by entering into the chemical combination of their structures. So, by extension, water builds tissue, too.
If the body doesn’t get enough water, it siphons some from the contents in your colon, causing constipation. When you drink enough water, normal bowel function returns. Have you noticed that air travel is very dehydrating?
A body produces more than a quart of saliva and a cup of bile every day. Water is the chief ingredient of all bodily fluids like gastric juices, skeletal lubricants, mucous, blood, sweat, and tears and maintains their proper dilution. Not enough water in your blood, and it’s too thick and sticky to flow into the teeniest tiniest nooks and crannies so those cells don’t get enough nutrients and sit in a cesspool of waste.
“Yuk,” you say? By drinking enough pure water you turn that negative image into a vision of a pristine Alpine brook wending through a meadow, iridescently green, spotted with fragrant, colorful wildflowers! You may be able to use technology to water your lawn, but only you can water your body.
• More Benefits •
Cleaning your body on the inside with plenty of pure water makes it look and smell cleaner on the outside. Offensive body odors and bad breath disappear. So do pounds. Studies have shown that increased water intake (8 glasses/day + an additional 8 ounces for every 25 pounds of excess weight) actually reduces fat deposits.
Another obvious benefit of proper hydration is keeping various body surfaces moist. Skin and eyeballs on the outside; and inside, nasal turbinates, trachea, bronchi, alveoli for breathing, muscles and joints for flexibility, the G.I., urinary and reproductive tracts for generally better function. Drinking enough water can also improve your sex life by preventing painful friction and other uncomfortable symptoms that result from dryness.
Regulating body temperature by absorption and evaporation is another of water’s many talents, which you probably know. But here’s some news: water distributes body heat. So, if you are feeling too hot or cold when everybody else nearby is comfortable, drink more water.
Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention. When the body gets less water, it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside cells). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands.
• Mystical Power, Too! •
Let us consider some of the broader aspects of water. Like, it covers 70% of the earth’s surface. Its liquid, solid and vapor forms have totally different characteristics. Steady dripping forms stalactites and stalagmites in caves, carves canyons through rocks (like The Grand), and from a faucet can cause extreme annoyance, even insomnia. Frozen water in a hole or crevice of a rock, breaks it.
Water gods and goddesses populate myths of all cultures. Water holds an equal place with earth, air and fire as cardinal elements. Civilizations have blossomed where seas and rivers meet. Water fosters mobility, buoyancy, agriculture and refreshment. Water has mystical power!
Now the challenge is to create an effective hydration habit for your optimal life. Here’s how to start, build and sustain that habit. Start with baby steps; create a habit of mastery with those; then progress slowly until you are drinking at least two quarts of water every day.
Begin with two pint bottles of water, and drink them from the time you get up to bedtime. To create consistency, turn it into a game. At bedtime give yourself a gold star on your monthly calendar each day you drink a quart of water.
Keep several pints in your bedside table, so you can drink the remainder of the day’s quota right then and there. Yes, it is inconvenient to drink water before sleep because you’ll get up during the night to pee. Too bad. For the temporary purpose of establishing a new lifelong habit, drinking water is a higher priority right now than a perfect night’s sleep. Besides, the inconvenience motivates and trains you to address your hydration needs well before bedtime.
Get in the habit of carrying a pint of water in your purse or satchel so you have it wherever you go. Drink those two bottles of water each day. If you have a water cooler at work and/or home, you can add water to your bottle, but use the bottle system to keep yourself honestly consuming the minimal quart.
Yes, you will pee more often for a while. This is a temporary, very beneficial cleansing adjustment your intelligent body orchestrates. As you practice daily hydration, the frequency and volume of peeing will harmonize with your activity routine. Be patient for a few months.
Your face may break out. That’s a good thing. Pimples there or elsewhere indicate more toxins than the usual minimum are being cleansed from your innards. The skin is the largest organ of elimination, so cleansing evidence is going to show up there, while your smart cells release a backlog of junk. Water soon plumps the skin, leaving it clear, healthy and resilient.
• What About Mealtime? •
When it comes to mealtime, there is a theory that drinking a glass of water before eating promotes digestion and discourages overeating. Water along with a meal, some claim, dilutes digestive juices thereby slowing or inhibiting digestion. A reasonably healthy person has digestive chemicals way strong enough to withstand a glass of water included with well-chewed food. However, NEVER wash down food with beverages. Saliva and thorough chewing are critical for proper digestion; otherwise the metabolism ignites and burns fuel inefficiently and incompletely, leaving a lot of “ash” or residue that needs to be removed for optimal function. It’s like the accumulation in the hearth and chimney of a fireplace.
You will notice many improvements in the way you feel, physically and mentally. More restful sleep, weight loss, greater mental clarity, clearer complexion, brighter eyes, supple skin and fewer aches and pains are just some of the specific benefits from consistent hydration.
Karen Verna Carlson is a naturopathic physician and professor credited with “the first major breakthrough in Swedish Massage—research demonstrating energetic interconnections”—since Peter Ling systemized it in the early 19th century.
After 35 years running her own nationally accredited school of holistic healing and massage she has retired to provide a new kind of holistic care for individuals and families. She calls her new venture, “Karen for Your Quality of Life.” In addition to her specialties of healing massage and bodywork, she provides sensitive, time- and cost-effective services that include child-, pet- and elder-care, green housecleaning and auto detailing, decluttering and reorganizing, garden care, and academic tutoring for elementary, middle and high school students.
She has received international recognition for holistic healing and educational work, an honorary degree, silver medal, and Who’s Who listing. She’s appeared on TV and radio and been featured in professional publications and mass media.
She works with clients at her private nature sanctuary in Centreville, DE as well as at their homes. She lectures and presents workshops blending timeless healing practices with down-to-earth tips to empower you, which enhances your health, spiritual growth and joyful community service.
Phone (302) 777-7307