By Mami Ishii, Naturopathic Doctor, ND
What does water mean to you?
The ancient Greek philosopher Thales (624BC -546BC) said: “All things are from water and all things are resolved into water.” In fact, 60-70% of the adult human’s body consists of water. While a newborn’s body consists of 80% of water and is moist and supple, the elderly’s body contains 50 – 55% of water and is dry. Aging therefore can be considered a period of dehydration. The important organs in our body are also mainly water — 90% of our blood, 90% of the brain, and 92% of our retinas, which enable us to see the world.
Seventy percent of our planet Earth is covered in water. Most of it is the saline ocean, and together with ice and fresh water, it changes its shape from rain, snow, to fog according to the weather and season. In this way, it continuously circulates the Earth. We can be called “waterians” living on the “water planet”.
Japan has been blessed with an abundance of green forestry and plentiful of water, therefore, Japanese people have a healthy respect towards water and have cultivated an intimate relationship using water in our daily lives, creating traditions and cultures such as misogi (Shinto cleansing ritual), rice cultivation, water ink painting, and the Japanese garden. As you can see from customs such as sento (public bath) culture and hot springs and daily bathing, water is an integral part of our daily lives.
Indeed we all came from the water world. We are all familiar with it. Do you remember? …Yes, that was our mother’s womb. For approximately 280 days, we lived in warm water in the darkness, comfort, and safety of our mother’s wombs while listening to her voice, feeling her heartbeat, and completely being immersed in a maternal sea of love. When we immerse ourselves in the ofuro (hot bath) and are feeling really good, maybe we are subconsciously reminiscing about this experience.
Water is essential for our survival. We cannot live without water for more than four to five days. Next to air, water is an integral source of our lives. It could be said that therefore dehydration can have severe consequences on our lives. Professor Takahito Takeuchi from the International University of Health and Welfare Graduate School has published a booklet called “Life Care Begins with Water and Ends with Water.” Dehydration is a serious matter affecting our health and well-being not only in the hot summer, but it also accelerates the process of aging. The symptoms of dehydration includes not only thirst or dry mouth, but also lethargy, poor concentration, numbness, dizziness, anorexia, headache, emotional anxiety, and forgetfulness. Long-term dehydration may lead to an increase in blood viscosity and eventually to clogging in the blood vessels, resulting in heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. Although this sounds a bit scary, it also means that one can prevent and optimize one’s health by replenishing one’s body with water regularly. Now isn’t that easy?
Just like the Earth, our body is also circulating water within and releasing about 2.5 litres of it every day. This is why we need to actively hydrate ourselves for the same amount or more to stay young and healthy. Let’s go over a few points to make this process more effective!
- A Glass of Water to Start Your Day: Upon waking up, we experience the highest point of dehydration in our day. To recover, please incorporate a glass of water into your daily routine to prepare for a great day. You can squeeze fresh lemon into the water for a wonderful alkalizing effect with extra vitamin C for better immunity and a refreshing aroma.
- Frequent & Slow Consumption: Our body can only absorb 200ml of fluid at a time as it takes a while to go through all the organs and tissues. So please refrain from gulping a lot at once. It is especially good to be mindful to hydrate upon waking, after exercise, after bathing, and before
- Drinking Water (itself): When you have some alcohol or caffeinated beverage such as coffee or tea, they actually work like a diuretic to dehydrate the body. Please make sure to drink extra water to recover the loss of water caused. This can also prevent
- Knowing your Body Type: If you are experiencing edema and coldness due to poor circulation, blindly drinking a lot of water may not be helpful, but rather harmful. You can have boiled water, or make a hot soup or herbal tea. You can consult a Naturopathic, Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine practitioner to find the appropriate hydration method for your constitution.
- Taking in “Live” Water: According to Oriental medicine, it is best to drink fresh water in its natural state because it contains KI energy (life force energy). Bottled water is so popular these days, but have you thought of where that water comes from, and how long ago it was packaged before getting to you? The material of plastic bottles is also concerning as some contain harmful toxins. Please take this suggestion on a case-by-case basis, as bottled water is very convenient. Nevertheless, I recommend that you keep water in a glass container if you ever store it for a period of time. Environmental pollution is something to be mindful of as well. Use a filter or filtration system to purify and ensure the safety of the water you drink.
- Savour a Wholesome Diet: Water is also a component of fresh vegetables and fruits and most wholesome They can be eaten raw, cooked, or made into soup or jelly. Though it might be convenient to use processed foods, it is highly recommended that you enjoy delicious seasonal, wholesome foods since they retain all of the “live” water content.
- Drink with Love and Gratitude: For most Japanese and Canadians, water may not mean anything special because it is readily available. However, we are actually two of only 13 to 27 countries where people can drink safe water in peace. We are so fortunate to be able to drink water every day as much and as often as we want. We are grateful towards Mother Earth for water and these feelings of our gratitude will be transmitted and reach the water. It is a blessing and, just as we’ve experienced mother’s love through water in her womb, our feelings of gratitude will be permeated into each cell of our bodies, rejuvenating the whole body.
When we think about the intimate relationship that we have with water, it is so precious, fascinating and mysterious. This wonder can be visualized in water crystal photographs. Water stores various bits of information such as words, music, objects and setting as they all have unique vibrant energy. The Japanese scientist, Dr. Emoto Masaru, who studied these effects of energy vibration on water, has captured its essence in his beautiful book “The Message from Water.”
Like a river, the stream of our lives has been flowing through the intimate harmonious relationships with all the things in nature. It is amazing to realize that this is a miracle and that water has not dried up throughout time, enabling us to exist here right now. We human beings are born of our mother the sea and grow and live on Mother Earth. Water also teaches us the importance of the responsibility of continuing its regeneration: protecting our Earth, nature, and especially our children. Let’s fill our hearts with love and gratitude while hydrating ourselves with wholesomeness in order to perpetuate our vibrant health and wellness!