Reflections on the Healing Power of Water

Macka-B's funny and accurate description of why we need to drink plenty water, mon

The first named storm of 2018 is in town,  and with it a mostly gentle rain that is lasting for days in North Carolina.   I moved some plants around when it started, because they need to be “watered in” at first.  Why not let nature handle that task? Such life giving substance, this water.  I believe it is our most under-appreciated resource!

My relationship with water started when I was just 21 and became pregnant with Maryosha.  I learned that a woman’s body fluid will double during pregnancy and that water intake is of utmost importance in order for all the magic of making a baby to work well.  

So I started drinking about a gallon a day; my dry skin just went away!

It was an epiphany for me. I had always thought I had an affliction but it was nothing more than dehydration.  To this day, if my skin starts to get itchy and dry, I know I need to drink more water. 

But why bother to drink all this water?

Well for one, it’s kind of addicting.  Once you start getting enough water, and the body is working better, why go back to a state of dehydration?  You’ll now notice the aches and itches associated with not having enough.

The big reason we drink water is to improve our health and our chances at preventing all manner of chronic illness and to slow down the effects of aging.  

We lose around half a gallon of water per day, just in basic body movement and function.  So if you are not drinking at least 64 oz each day, you are already behind. How can your body function at its best if you aren’t giving it the basic building block to do its job?

 

I once had a colleague when I was in sales, who knew I was into herbs and asked me “what do you have for headaches?”  I followed up with the all-important question “what’s causing the headaches?” Charles had no idea. So my next question (as always) was “how much water do you drink?”
 
He literally drank water only to take a pill for the headaches.  He drank coffee all morning, switched to sweet tea at lunch, then drank beer when he got home.
 
I said, “no wonder your head hurts!  Drink some water and the headaches will likely go away.”  I wanted him to start by switching out half of his normal beverages with water and build up.
 
Charles was literally angry with my advice,  He wanted me to give him a pill to fix it.  I didn’t budge.   There is no magic pill to good health.
 
He continued going to doctors who put him on a huge battery of tests including blood work, MRIs and cat scans.  They had him on pain medication (oh yea).  He went to Duke Medical for  more special testing.  After a year, his headaches  (and the pain management) had grown so debilitating that he was about to go on disability and leave work.  Charles was a young man with a small child at home!  He could not function.
 
In desperation, Charles finally and quietly started adding some water into his days.  Later, he confessed to me that in fact he had resorted to my advice and had been drinking water. 
YES! The headaches had gone away!   I was always grateful to Charles that he did confess and thank me for the simple and effective recommendation. 
 
I asked him if any of the countless doctors he had seen had ever mentioned or asked about his water intake?  He said “not one.”  Water is a simple and often overlooked approach to keeping well. 

 

I’ve seen many less dramatic responses to adding sufficient water into  one’s wellness plan—such as my own dry skin resolution.  Some people notice less joint pain or better skin. Some gain Improved digestion or better sleep. 

 

Drinking enough water can impact ANY area of your body and health.  Every single cell needs water to function properly.  We each show the signs of dehydration in our own way, and we each respond to getting enough water in our own way.

Try it! 

Bill Mitchell was one of my most influential teachers and a founder of Bastyr College: he studied directly under Dr. Bastyr.  Through Bill, I got a window into the legendary  philosophy of Dr. Bastyr.  I was taken with his common sense approach.  For instance, he cautioned not to get too caught up in following one philosophy or another; he said “use what works”. 

 

As for drinking water, Dr Bastyr used it as a first line of treatment in almost all cases.  He’d start someone with the simple Rx of drinking enough water for the first week or so, while he came up with the overall approach.  At their follow up visit, Dr. Bastyr often found the water alone will have alleviated some of their complaints.  Gaining insight as to whatever remaining underlying challenges really needed work.

 

The question of how much water to drink is accompanied by the question of what type of water is best? 

 

I find this dilemma to be a bit of a spoiled American problem to have.  There are so many places in the world without access to any clean drinking water!  If you are concerned, like me, perhaps you will consider donating to this amazing project which is helping bring clean water to some of the most needy communities  in the world. How fortunate are we?  Who can with great ease turn on a faucet and drink water that will keep us alive, clean and healthy.   

 

Unfortunately, there are problems with tap water: including potential contaminants and heavy metals in the pipes, plus almost certainly added chlorine and fluoride.  These items are used to keep safe levels of microbialls and to prevent tooth decay.  Now the sanity of the flouride is another discussion, it is public policy and it is done.  Compared to walking miles for water to carry home, it's a small problem.  

 

As with food, my advice is drink the best water you have access to!   I am not convinced that buying water in plastic bottles is any better than tap water.  In fact, I believe the xenoestrogens that leach out from the plastic are likely more damaging than the gases and heavy metals in tap water.

 

  • When I was a young, single mom on a tight budget of both money and time, I’d simply  pour tap water into an open pitcher and let it sit out.  This method allows the chlorine to dissipate out of the water, so it is at least a little cleaner than basic tap water.  Allow a minimum of  5 hours for most of the chlorine to dissipate.

 

  • You can of course buy filters for your home water supply and this is also a great option. Again, just get the best one you can afford!  If you can afford a whole house filter, that’s best! Then even your shower is cleaner.

 

  • I currently buy water filtered with “reverse osmosis” from a local market, using BPA-free plastic jugs. It’s quite affordable at only $0.39 per gallon and I fill up 7 gallons every few days. The water is quite delicious!

 Note on dosage of water. 

Do not overdo: there is no reason or gain from intaking  more than a body can absorb.   

I do not always drink a gallon anymore. I do drink minimum of 8 x 12 oz glasses per day which is ¾ of a  gallon (8 x 12 oz=96 oz or 3 x 32 oz  bottles

I keep up with the ounces in my head as I go through the day.  And I'll drink a full 32 oz bottle at once to catch up.  When I sweat a lot for whatever reason, I’ll go ahead and add more. 

Maryosha, who is 4 inches taller than me and works out like a fiend, does drink a gallon a day (128 oz).

And it really shows in her flawless skin. The water plus our favorite protective product Perfect Hair, Skin and Nails

The important point here is that it’s best to adjust to your own situation.

The popular 8-10 glasses a day is usually about right!

 

NOTE on quality 

I believe it is more important to drink enough water than to worry too much about the type of water.  Just drink it!  Drink the best you have. Avoid tap water when possible.  If you must drink tap water, consider leaving it overnight in an open pitcher where the chlorine can dissipate off.   

Water, totally FREE of calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients.  A beverage with nothing but goodness to give.  Enjoy~


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