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The Healing Benefits of Water by Jaye Levitsky

Water, apart from air, is the most plentiful, life-sustaining resource on Earth and one that has earned its place in the history of medicinal practices throughout the ages. The earliest civilizations of the world established their own methods to harness its healing value. Historical record reveals Hebrews, Persians, Egyptians and Hindus all enjoyed a unique relationship with water. They were the first to experiment with their version of flushes, cleanses, nasal washes, sitz baths, colonics and the like. Every civilization since has explored the incredible versatility of water.

Water is effective in lowering fevers, reducing inflammation, relieving constipation, quelling asthma and improving hygiene in general. Discoveries are limitless in part because water is so adaptable, converting easily from liquid to solid to gas. Water makes up roughly 60 percent of our total body weight and present in every muscle, bone and cell of the body. Without it a person can survive just days. The fact that water is the most accessible and abundant resource on Earth makes it all the more curious how it is so many of us walk around dehydrated from day to day. It comes down to the worn-out adage: “… you can lead a horse to water…”

For most of us, simply drinking more of it would be a big improvement. But as with all things, it takes a certain amount of exertion to grab a glass and go. In an effort to encourage you, below are some motivating reminders.

Water

• Carries Oxygen to Every Cell in Your Body. Two-thirds of the body’s water resides within our cells, with the rest swimming among the surrounding tissue, using it as the carrier of all the nutrients and waste materials within the body. Hydration is imperative. Keep the water coming.

• Replenishes Reserves. Loss occurs every second through urine, stool, skin evaporation—even breathing. Thirst occurs at a one-percent loss. Reach 20 percent and you will die. Water regulates body temperature, improves circulation of fluids, maintains good digestion, absorption and transportation of nutrients and ultimately combats disease.

• Improves Work Performance. Every athlete knows well-hydrated muscles work harder and longer without fatigue. A dip of just 5 percent can result in as much as 25 to 30 percent decrease in work performance. By the time your feel thirsty, you’ve already lost too much.

• Feeds Brain Power. Water keeps electrolyte levels within the body steady, which in turn supports nerve function, thus maintaining optimum communication between brain and body.

• Burns Fat. Well-hydrated kidneys help your body to detoxify on its own, making way for your liver to metabolize stored fat effortlessly.

• Helps You Look and Feel Better. Water supports your skin and makes your body feel lighter. Fluid retention is averted and stiffness is relieved in well-lubricated joints.

Another way to replenish the body is through food, especially fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, soups and stews. Below is a list of some good choices and their water content percentage*:

Food           Water Content Percentage

Lettuce                           96

Watermelon                    92

Fruit and veggie juice     90

Apples                            86

Citrus                              86

Yogurt                             85

Potatoes                         80

Bananas                         75

Chicken                          63

* adapted from the American Dietetic Association

Naturopathic doctors have long touted the benefits of pure, clean water. Recommendations might include what is known as the Japanese Water Cure where one consumes roughly twentytwo ounces of pure water upon waking up each morning. (Avoid ice so that your body does not have to expend energy warming it.) After drinking the water, wait 45 minutes before eating breakfast. The rest of the day eat and drink normally. Some versions suggest waiting two hours after meals to drink more fluid, but use your best judgment based on daily activity. It may take a week or two to build up to that amount of intake, but stick with it. Many people report feeling lighter and more relaxed almost immediately. Incorporating this method as part of your morning routine will help expel toxic buildup and create and maintain metabolic equilibrium or homeostasis within.

Jaye Levitsky is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and has a consulting practice at Vastu Health, located at 17 Main St. in Warwick. She offers whole body wellness packages, natural products, remedies and more. To learn more, call 544-0447 or go to TheOpenBall.com or to VastuHealth.com.

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