Healing Powers of Water
Up to seventy percent of the total body weight is due to water. Although it is present in all parts of the body, it is more in organs such as lungs and brain and fluids such as blood, lymph, saliva and secretions by the organs of the digestive system.
Most people believe that we feel thirsty whenever our body needs more water. While this is true, recent research studies have indicated that there are several other indicators of inadequate water in some or all parts of the body. Ignoring these indicators can lead to several major diseases that medicines may cure but not treat.
How is the body water regulated?
Whenever there is water shortage in the house, one would prioritize the use of water for essential purposes. Similarly, when the body receives less water histamine, a chemical compound present in all cells, initiates a system of water regulation.
Histamine directs some neurotransmitters to operate sub-systems to regulate water intake. These sub-systems use chemical substances such as "vasopressin" and "renin-angiotensin" for regulating water intake and distribution.
The ratio of the water content in and outside the cells of the various organs is very important. As age advances, water content in the cells decreases. Since the water content in each cell plays a vital role in maintaining is normal function, inadequate water can lead to loss of some functions. Loss of functions results in specific signs and symptoms.
Important use of water for maintaining normal health
Necessary for all chemical reactions in the body. Just as water helps a seed grow into a tree, it also helps our body grow from birth to adulthood.
The flow of water inside and outside the cells generates energy. This energy is stored in body along with other chemical sources of energy in the body. The energy generated by the water in the cells helps transmit impulses in the nerves.
Helps formation of a glue like material that helps the solid substances in the walls of the cells to be "stuck" to each other.
Helps transport the chemical substances produced by the brain that carry its messages to different parts of the body. Just as there are lanes on a main road for different types of vehicles, chemical substances of the brain are transported in the "water lanes" along the length of the nerves.
Water content in the body influences the functions of the various proteins and enzymes that are dissolved in it.
In addition to these, Nature Cure describes the following roles of water in our body
Water helps maintain the moisture of the lining of the internal organs of the body.
It maintains normal volume and consistency of fluids such as blood and lymph.
It regulates body temperature.
It removes "poisons" or "toxins" from the body through urine, sweat and breathing.
Water is essential for regulating the normal structure and functions of the skin.
The body looses about four liters of water every day. It is therefore necessary to replenish this volume by drinking at least the equivalent amount of water every day. Inadequate intake of water can lead to dehydration.
Normal daily requirement of water
Quantity of water required for the body functions depends on several factors such as age, climate, season, physical activity, type of food consumed, amount of condiments and spices used for cooking, the water content in the food, salt intake etc.
Normally, our daily diet provides about two-third of the body's requirement of water. Some health practitioners suggest that you drink about eight to ten glasses of water every day to meet the remaining one-third of the body's requirement. You also need to drink a lot of water when you are tired and / or are sweating profusely.
One should avoid drinking water while eating food, as digestion of the food is likely to be adversely affected. Water also dilutes the digestive juices in the stomach, thus leading to indigestion. It is desirable that you drink water on empty stomach or three hours after food or one to one and half-hours before food.
How should you drink water?
Nature Cure recommends that you need to "eat liquids and drink solids". This means that you need to take water sip by sip, and "chew" it in the mouth in order to mix it with the saliva. Avoid regular use of straws for drinking water and or fluids.
What is the best type of water for drinking?
Nature Cure recommends drinking pure water to which no minerals are added. However, water from natural sources may contain minerals that can be beneficial to the body in specific conditions due to their reaction and affinity towards the mineral content in the food.
Does temperature of the drinking water affect health?
Cold water from natural sources is fit for drinking because of six main reasons.
1. Lowers the body temperature
2. Dilutes the blood to the required consistency.
3. Promotes excretion of poisons from the skin in the form of "evaporation".
4. Stimulates the normal functions of the kidneys and therefore increases the rate of removal of "poisons" from the body through the urine.
5. Increases movements of the intestines, thus facilitating formation and passing of soft stools.
Sipping hot water has several benefits too. For example, as soon as you drink hot water, there is instant stimulation of the inner lining of the stomach and contraction of its blood vessels. Thus, you are less likely to suffer from increased acid secretions in the stomach.
Hot water cleans the stomach, relieves heartburn, belching, flatulence, acute indigestion, vomiting and cramps in the abdomen. It is important to remember that hot water should be sipped and not gulped.
Hydrotherapy Hydrotherapy is a branch of healing systems that deals with the management of diseases such as headache, constipation, high blood pressure, etc. by using water, either as an external application or taken internally or both. Water is used for hydrotherapy because of three main reasons:
1. It has immense power for absorbing and communicating heat.
2. Water is an universal solvent. This means that majority of the substances can dissolve in water. 3. Water can be easily frozen to a solid state as ice or heated to a gaseous form as vapour.
Water therapy in the management of dieses
How is water used in management of diseases?
Hydrops: Drinking about two to three liters of water at a time in the morning and evening is recommended for those who have hydrops. This is a condition in which there is abnormal collection of clear and watery fluid in some parts of the body.
To increase volume of blood: You need to drink large quantities of water to increase the blood volume. It is desirable that you drink a maximum of three fourth to one cup of water at a time as often as possible during the day. This amounts to about one hundred and thirty to one hundred and eighty milliliters of water at a time.
Fever: You need to drink at least one glass of water every hour during fever in order to compensate for the water lost from the skin during evaporation.
Urinary tract infection: Drinking more water during urinary tract infection increases urine production. It therefore helps "flush" out the infection faster.
Rheumatism: This is a general term used for a large number of conditions with inflammation of joints, muscles, lining of the joints, etc that result in pain limited movements and degeneration in the structure of the affected muscles and / or joints.
Effects of cold water
1. Dilatation of blood vessels of the skin
2. Redness of the skin
3. Feeling of warmth
4. Decreased metabolic rate
5. Decreased pulse rate
6. Decreased respiratory rate
7. Decreased blood pressure
Effects of hot water Heat or hot water can be applied either by fomentation, hot compress, hot water, vapour or hot air. It is sedative and relieves pains, cramps and spasms.
Dehydration is excessive loss of water from the body. It results in imbalance in sodium, potassium and chlorides levels. This is often the result of rapid loss of water due to conditions such as fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, or etc.
The common symptoms of dehydration of the entire body include increased thirst, loss of skin elasticity, dry skin, decreased urine production, irritability and confusion. Indications of dehydration
Thirst is an early indicator of inadequate water in the entire body. Depending upon the organ affected by inadequate water supply, there are specific signs and symptoms. Chronic pains and allergies are the most common symptoms indicating limited functions of an organ due to chronic dehydration of the affected organs.
Common health problems due to chronic dehydration
Dyspepsia is the term used for a vague feeling of discomfort in the stomach region soon after eating food. This discomfort can be in the form of a feeling of fullness, heartburn, bloating and nausea. Dyspepsia is not a disease but a symptom indicating that there is an underlying disease such as ulcer in the stomach, diseases of the gall bladder or chronic appendicitis.
There are two main reasons why inadequate water intake can lead to dyspepsia. These include (a) increased acid in the stomach and (b) changes in the normal functions of the pancreas.
How does drinking more water prevent dyspepsia?
When one drinks a glass of water, especially on empty stomach, it passes into the intestines immediately and is absorbed into the body. After about one to one and half-hours, the absorbed water is secreted into the stomach through its inner layer and as a result removes the excess salt deposits on it. Thus, the protective layer of water remains intact. The acids therefore cannot penetrate the layer and cause dyspepsia. This is why Nature Cure recommends drinking water at least an hour before meals.
You can cure gastritis and heartburn just by increasing the intake of water to about two and a half liters of water per day.
Role of medicines in dyspepsia Medicines such as Ranitidine or Cimetidine that are extensively prescribed for control of dyspepsia are very effective for short-term therapy. However, it is likely that prolonged use of these medicines may actually be harmful. This is because they block the action of histamine on specific "receptors" in the body.
Other Disorders Due To Dehydration :
Stress & Depression
High Blood Pressure
Asthma & Allergies
High blood cholesterol indicates that the cells of the body have lost the ability to allow adequate water to travel through the cell wall. This is because cholesterol is like natural cement that fills the gaps of the cell walls and prevents water from passing through it. Several weeks after increasing the daily water intake, the water content in the cells will become normal. Thus the flow of water through the cell walls will also become normal. As a result, the need for cholesterol defense mechanism against passage of water across the cell walls will gradually decrease. Hence, the body will produce less cholesterol.
The brain is very sensitive to low energy levels available for its functions Low energy levels cause thirst and hunger sensations. The sensation of thirst and hunger are felt together to indicate the brain's needs for more instant energy. Drinking adequate water before the meal will reduce the intensity of the thirst and therefore help prevent overeating. In case the water intake is inadequate, one is likely to feel more 'hungary' and eat larger portions of food at more frequent intervals in order to supply necessary sugar to the brain.
Asthma & Allergies
Asthma is a disease of the respiratory system. It is often due to allergy. People with asthma have increased histamine in the lung, which results in contraction of the air passages. Some studies on animals have indicated that increased water intake reduces histamine production after one to four weeks of appropriate water regulation. They therefore are less prone for allergic reactions. Drinking excess water will not control asthma immediately. Drinking about ten glasses of water per day for a few weeks can lead to adequate water in all cells of the body.
Effect of alcohol on water regulation
Alcohol adversely affects water regulation because of two main reasons:
(a) it suppresses the secretion of vasopressin and
(b) it leads to chronic dehydration in some parts of the body.
Decreased vasopressin can adversely affect the body's natural compensatory mechanisms of water regulation. Regular intake of alcohol and caffeine can lead to chronic dehydration in some organs of the body.