The Healing Power of Water, Part 1
There have been so many times that patients will return to me after doing everything I have suggested and still not have any improvement. The reason? Dehydration. Let me tell you about the most important healing tool in my arsenal.... water. I take water for granted. In fact, I forget that dehydration really is the leading factor in arthritic pain, muscle pain, sugar cravings, insomnia, endometriosis, hypothyroidism, PMS, infertility, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, headaches... just to name a few. When you think of the fact that all of your body fluids are really just water with a lot of stuff floating around in it, then you realize that without the water, you have a dried up river bed. And if you aren’t drinking water, then where are you replacing all the water you excrete in urine, perspiration, respiration, tears and sexual fluids? It’s not from Coke, coffee, tea or Red Bull, I assure you.
First, know that water is what controls lubrication between all the structures of the body, it is what cushions your brain and spinal cord, it is what transports vitamins, minerals and hormones from one place to another. Water controls your body temperature, your ability to detoxify and your very life. Without food, you can live for quite a period of time, but without water, you’re dead within hours.
Most of my patients are dehydrated. Their bodies have become accustomed to low water levels, which means that many functions which require lots of water have been reduced to conserve water. Less water for breathing = asthma; less water for urination = kidney stones; less water for elimination = constipation; less water for liver function = allergies; less water for circulation = high blood pressure. Get the picture?
But lack of water over time can create even more insidious results. We’re not just talking about a lack of water, we’re talking about a lack of cellular water. When cells become dehydrated, they will die, causing large amounts of histamines to be spilled into the body tissues. This creates itching, allergies and inflammation that no amount of antihistamines or anti inflammatives can eliminate because it is continuing to happen every day that dehydration continues. The longer the dehydration, the more capillary beds will close to compensate for the lack of water. This ends up trapping toxins, metabolic acids and fluids in-between the tissues. Headaches, edema, cysts and tumors are the result.
Dehydration affects the joints because movable surfaces utilize water as a lubricant and the lack of water will create friction. Approximately 75% of our upper body weight is supported by the water volume stored in the discs of the back. We are becoming more and more aware that chronic dehydration is the real reason for herniated discs, chronic back pain and spinal stenosis.
And what about diabetes? How can lack of water possibly have anything to do with diabetes? In Traditional Chinese Medicine diabetes is known as the “thirst disease”, because every insulin molecule needs 440 water molecules. Studies in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that drinking micro clustered water actually lowered blood sugar levels in diabetics in four weeks.
And what about athletes? The truth is that a 1% dehydration factor causes a 5% drop in athletic performance. And we’re not just talking about minerals, we’re talking about water at a cellular level which no amount of gatorade or mineral rehydration formulas can change.
But every day your body is dependent on water in some very basic ways. Dr. Seiji Katayama published a study that showed that “the state of water in the body is closely related to the aging mechanism.” At birth our bodies are 90% water and as we age, it gradually reduces to less than 50%. Cells function best when 60% of the total body’s water is inside the cells so as this declines with age, the osmotic potential at the cell membrane reverses making it difficult to rehydrate the cell. So over time, your cells and tissues actually become resistant to absorbing water, and you end up simply peeing out all the water that you drink. And as you lose water, you lose energy. A 4% drop in the water content of body fluids will cause a 30% drop in overall body energy. 30%!!
Let’s talk about proteins. I’ve had patients that are protein deficient and even with the best protein supplementation and a great diet, they can’t increase the health of their body’s structures. Why? Well, in order for proteins to be biologically active, they must be able to fold in three dimensional configurations. Water is what contributes energy and stabilization for this process. Proteins have no activity without the presence of water.
We talk about how essential water is for all the chemical reactions that take place in the body, but it is also the essential ingredient for detoxification. The liver removes toxic substances from the blood through the filtration of water. So do the kidneys. The reason for the amazing detoxification effect of water is its polarity. Most toxins are types of salts, including many of the body’s metabolic acids. In water, the salt dissociates so that each of its ions becomes surrounded by several water molecules, preventing the ions from coming together and reforming. This allows the toxic action to be neutralized so that the substances can be removed from the body without having a negative effect on your living tissues. Because remember that all the channels your body uses to eliminate waste material is living tissue. It would be like pouring sulphuric acid down your throat and expecting not have a reaction.
And when we talk about the importance of water for losing weight, it isn’t just filling up the stomach so you eat less and feel full. Water is the trigger for your body to metabolize stored fat. Without enough water, you can fast through Lent and still not lose an ounce.
So now that you get an idea of the importance of water, stay tuned for part 2... what type of water is the most healing?