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Water for Life and Optimum Health

by Aimee Christine Hughes(more info)

listed in water, originally published in issue 125 - July 2006

"To understand water is to understand the cosmos, the marvels of nature, and life itself."

– Masaru Emoto

How is it that water always makes us feel just a bit better? An evening bath with a drop of lavender relaxes us without fail. An early morning shower awakens and invigorates. A cool glass of ice water refreshes our senses, while a dip in the ocean has the ability to make us feel like altogether different beings; lighter, floating. Water at different temperatures and from various sources has amazing healing properties, while even the mere sound of water takes us to a purer place.

Water washes away our worries and purifies the soul. To many ancient cultures, springs and water wells were sacred and represented fertility. The symbolic use of water in Christian baptism (from the Greek Baptizein; to dip in water) shows us just one great importance water holds on a spiritual level. Even our modern language 'reflects' this importance. We have streams of consciousness and wells of knowledge. Water is a magical creature, ever flowing, ever changing …the essence of life itself.

Somewhere along the way, however, we have lost touch with one of nature's most powerful staffs of wisdom. Now, in this Age of Aquarius, (the sign of the water bearer in Astrology) and the Decade of Water, as the UN declared in 2005, it is more important than ever to understand and debunk all the little myths about what the Greek philosopher Thales called, 'the first principle of all things'.

"You are water and the wisdom of water you know.
So just allow yourself to flow,
And then the wonder grows…"
– Masaru Emoto

Hint No. 1

Water has memory.

Masaru Emoto, one of the world's few experts on water, has, through a series of studies and published books on the subject concluded that water does indeed have a memory and changes its quality according to the information it takes in.

Emoto's hypothesis, that 'water shows different shapes of ice crystals depending on the information it has received,' was realized when he poured water into two glass bottles and labeled one, 'Thank you,' and the other, 'You fool,' in such a way that the water would be able to 'read them.' He then photographed the water and found that the bottle with 'Thank you,' formed beautiful hexagonal crystals, while the one with 'You fool' had only deformed fragments of crystals. He continued to give water various information, freeze it, and photograph the crystals. The consistent results were that water formed beautiful crystals in response to positive energy and broken crystals, or no crystals at all when exposed to negative attention.

Generally, we drink water without paying much attention to it. We know, and understand (to a certain extent), of its importance in maintaining life, but perhaps due to its familiarity, we rarely consciously appreciate it. Emoto urges and encourages us to think positive thoughts and shower the water we drink with our own positive energy so that, in turn, the water will return the blessing of nourishing our own precious bodies.

As an adult body is 70% water, we can say that on a material level, we are water. If water blossoms or deteriorates according to the information it takes in, it follows that we, as humans should take in as much positive information as possible to ensure optimal health.

Hint No. 2

Our physical health and the amount and quality of water we take in are connected in amazing ways.

Water is involved in every bodily function. It transports nutrients in and out of cells, removes toxins, and is necessary for all digestive absorption, circulatory, and excretory functions. It is constantly moving throughout the body and thus must be changed frequently to keep it pure. This water supply must be pure, so as not to add to our body's toxic load, which is already aggravated by environmental pollutants, artificial foods, alcohol, etc.

There are many reasons why physical health and water are directly connected. Here are just a few:

1. Water is the main source of energy for the body because it transports energy-giving nutrients, provides a cellular environment where they can work, helps oxygenate the blood, and maintains proper muscle tone;
2. Water is the main solvent for all foods, vitamins and minerals;
3. It is the main lubricant in the joint spaces, and helps prevent arthritis and back pain;
4. Water helps reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes;
5. Water prevents clogging of the arteries in the heart and brain;
6. Water helps us to receive proper sleep;
7. The human body has no stored water to draw on during dehydration, so the supply must be kept up;
8. Water increases the body's rate of absorption of essential substances in food;
9. It clears the waste from different parts of the body and takes it to the liver and kidneys for disposal;
10. Water hydrates the skin, giving it a vibrant glow;
11. Drinking water separates the sensations between thirst and hunger;
12. Dehydration causes deposits of toxic sediments in the tissue spaces, joints, kidneys, liver, brain and skin. Water clears these deposits;
13. Water gives lustre and shine to eyes.

Dehydration is a common problem that often goes unnoticed until it is too late. Acute dehydration is a common cause of minor health complaints such as headaches, irritability, muscle cramps, constipation, heartburn and fatigue, to name a few. Chronic dehydration can result in chronic constipation, weight gain, elevated cholesterol, decreased ability to clear toxins from the body, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, neck and back pain, asthma and allergies, as well as arthritis.

On a lighter side, the following conditions can also be avoided when the body is well-hydrated.

1. Wrinkles: Besides exposure to the sun, the main reason the skin wrinkles is that it loses moisture, and the components in our skin that have the ability to keep moisture locked in decrease with age. Misting your skin, (spraying it with a fine mist of water), helps moisturize the face and reduce fine lines;
2. Repetitive Stress Injuries: Staying well-hydrated boosts the circulation of the body, pushing pain-relieving oxygen and nutrients into the areas under strain;
3. Jet Lag: Most symptoms of jet lag are really due to water loss. Recycled cabin air is dry and dehydrating. Drink extra water to prevent jet lag;
4. Dry Skin: Water is an internal moisturizer, and helps to heal dry skin from the inside out;
5. Chapped Lips: If your lips are often dry, you probably need more water. Try sipping hot water, which gently dilates your circulatory system so that the moisture can reach the tissues. Fill an insulated drink container with hot water and sip throughout the day. Sipping hot water is also an Ayurvedic method of ridding the body of toxins;
6. Body Odour: Caused by a diet overloaded with processed foods, from medications, or from environmental toxins which enter the bloodstream and exit via sweat. This unwelcome condition may be eliminated by drinking more water because water helps push the toxins out of the body. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice is even better.

Hint No. 3

Water and our emotional and mental wellbeing go hand-in-hand.

It goes without saying that physical reliance on lots of good, clean water is paramount, and if our physical health is lacking, then emotional and mental health will fall to the wayside as well. More specifically, emotional ailments such as stress and depression are often linked to dehydration.

According to F Batmanghelidj MD, in his book, Your Body's Many Cries For Water, "Pathology, that is seen to be associated with social stresses – fear, anxiety, insecurity, persistent emotional and matrimonial problems – and the establishment of depression are the results of water deficiency to the point that the water requirement of the brain tissue is affected…"

He also emphasizes that "irritability is a cop out process so as not to engage in a brain-energy-consuming involvement beyond that particular moment." Anxiety may also be linked to dehydration. Batmanghelidj defines anxiety as "a perceptive way in which the frontal part of the brain reflects its concern over water shortage."

Over 85% of our brain is water and, next to oxygen, it is the most important material for the brain to function properly. It is a primary nutrient for all brain functions, including transporting information. Effective hydration helps us in concentration, to feel brighter and perform all of its functions to the best of its ability. A short attention span may also be linked to dehydration because the brain needs energy (water) to focus on a particular subject at hand.

Hint No. 4

Obtaining the purest of water is crucial to your health.

Most tap water comes from surface reservoirs formed from rivers, lakes, streams, or groundwater. Groundwater refers to the subterranean reservoirs that hold much of the earth's water supply, nearly all the rural drinking water and approximately half of city water supplies. The water from these sources goes through local treatment plants, many of which use an outdated process of settling tanks, filtration through sand and gravel, and then chemicals to clean up the water so that it is 'fit' for human consumption.

Many minerals and chemicals are added to 'purify' the water, including fluoride to prevent tooth decay, chlorine to kill germs, and some cities add calcium hydroxide or other alkaline substances to change the pH (acidity) of the water so it does not corrode pipes. Not only are these additives harmful to our bodies, they are not always sufficient in clearing many environmental pollutants that contaminate the water supply, such as animal wastes, fertilizers, insecticides, chemicals and wastes from industries, and air pollutants, such as lead, radon, and nitrates.

So, just what should we drink?

For people living in the country, natural spring water, the natural water found in surface or underground springs is the best choice as long as it is tested and clean. For city dwellers, many companies bottle this water. It's not a bad idea to do some research on these companies. Make sure the water is bottled at the source as opposed to being transported and then treated and bottled. Purchasing pre-bottled water is quite an expense, however, and we can remedy that by using effective home treatment systems. A unit hooked up to the kitchen faucet is an excellent choice to purify water for drinking, cooking and washing food. This type of system is the most economical for the quality of water it delivers.

Hint No. 5

Our body tells us we are thirsty in poetically subtle ways.

Taking a moment to pause and listen to its quiet language will help us to fulfill its hydration needs.

The truth is, it is possible to be acutely, or even chronically dehydrated without knowing it. Have you ever dreamt about oceans, rivers, or other bodies of water? Dreaming about water is your body's way of subconsciously making associations to reach a water source in order to quench its thirst. Because water is the main source of energy formation in the body, feeling tired for no apparent reason is also a signal that you are thirsty. Easiest to decipher the water needs of the body, however, is the colour of urine. Exclusive of the colour of vitamins or colour additives in food, urine should be clear to pale yellow. Keep this in mind, and check your urine regularly.

Hint No. 6

Eight glasses of water a day may not be sufficient for everyone.

Here are some guidelines to follow when calculating how much water is right for your body.

• Drink half your body weight in ounces of pure water throughout the day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces, the equivalent of about ten eight-ounce glasses;
• Coffee, tea, alcohol and sugar are drying agents, and push water out of the body. Think about having an extra glass of water for each dehydrating beverage you drink;
• In summer months, periods of humid weather, or when involved in major physical activity, you need more water than normal. Fifteen or more glasses per day may be necessary;
• Excess environmental heat without water intake results in dehydration. Even excess bed covers that don't allow the body to regulate its temperature during sleep dehydrate
the body.

Be conscious of all these factors and carefully plan your water intake accordingly.

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About Aimee Christine Hughes

Aimee Christine Hughes ND holds a BA in French language and literature from Tulane University, and a certification as a Doctor of Naturopathy from Clayton College of Natural Health. She may be contacted via aimeechughes@yahoo.com

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