Exactly how important is adequate water to your health and well-being? Much more so than most of us realize, considering that approximately 3 out of 4 people are inadequately hydrated. Take a few minutes to learn a few facts that just may have a major impact on your life.
In his book, Your Body's Many Cries For Water, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj states: “[E]very function of the body is monitored and pegged to the efficient flow of water.” He goes on to say that some of the conditions adversely affected by dehydration include:
- poor digestion
• rheumatoid arthritis pain
• low back and neck pain
• anginal (chest) pain
• stress and depression
• high blood pressure
• elevated blood cholesterol
• excess body weight
• asthma and allergies
Dr. Batmanghelidj reported seeing the above conditions reduced or eliminated in many hundreds of patients he has treated over the years simply by getting the body adequately hydrated. How can something so basic make such dramatic changes to your health?
Among its many sophisticated designs, your body is programmed to allocate water based on availability. In other words, if there is a water shortage in your body, the most important areas are rationed the available water, while other body systems are deprived of the water needed to function properly.
Consider how chronic dehydration can affect your blood pressure. Some of the water is lost from within the cells (about 66%), another 26% is lost from water held outside the cells, and 8% is taken from blood volume. In an effort to compensate for the loss of this water volume, the blood vessels tend to constrict, contributing to the condition we know as hypertension.
What about low back pain? According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, “Fully 75 percent of the weight of the upper part of the body is supported by the water volume that is stored in the disc core ... The principle in the design of all joints is for water to act as a lubricating agent, as well as bearing the force produced by weight ...”
In fact, water works its magic in many ways. Many important chemical reactions within the body are water-dependent. When water seeps through cell walls, it helps to create a sort of hydroelectric energy that is stored for later use. Proteins and other enzymes in the body tend to function better in more fluid solutions, so being properly hydrated can help your body to do its many jobs more efficiently.
Since our bodies are composed of 75 percent water, it's easy to understand how health problems could arise when you don't replenish your water supply. One of the most common confusions that people have about hydration is thinking that any liquid will do. Your body needs plain water, not tea, juice, or any other beverage. You can drink any of these other beverages all day long and still be dehydrated—and the average person consumes approximately 50 gallons of sodas annually! Some drinks, such as alcohol, actually increase your levels of dehydration.
To help your body get the water it needs, try to eliminate other drinks from your diet for the next week or two. By focusing on quenching your thirst with just water (at least 2 quarts daily), you should begin to see for yourself how being properly hydrated can help you.
This brief overview should begin to give you the idea how vital proper hydration is to your health and your future. For more information, consider reading Dr. Batmanghelidj's book.
You may now better understand how adequate water intake and regular massage go hand in hand. Bodywork tends to flush toxins and cellular waste, which are then ready to be eliminated from the body. Water is the medium that allows your body to accomplish this vital cleansing process. So be sure to include plenty of water (especially before and after each massage!) and regular massage sessions in your personal wellness