Why Drink Water?
Water is that magic wet substance that is vital to all forms of life. It’s an ever changing icy, snowy, gassy, rainy liquid that has been around since the dawn of time – in nature, it is as essential and as harmless as it is destructive. For eons we have been swimming in it, drooling it and floating on it. We’ve been flooded by it, we have washed and cooked with it and of course we have drunk it. And during all these millennia, the volume of water on this planet has remained pretty much the same – which means that we drink the same water today… as we always have. So why drink water?
If you’re deep and weird thinkers like us, you might be wondering if we are drinking the same water dinosaurs did – and the short answer is yes. Dinosaurs were around for approximately 170 million years and we’ve been around for a measly 200,000 – so, according to some – every glass of water we drink may (or may not) have gone through another person or two, but it has almost certainly passed through a dinosaur. Right through.
To take the weirdness a step further – given that bodies are 60 percent water – chances are you have actually drunk a minuscule part of one of those ancient beasts more than once. Mmm, Eau du Triceratops…delicious!
All this grossness actually serves to highlight one of the most remarkable things about water; the fact that it cycles – between rivers, plants, people, our atmosphere, animals, glaciers and our oceans.
Why Drink Water?
Human beings – by and large – consist of around 60 percent water. The Journal of Biological Chemistry states that our lungs are about 83 percent water, the brain and heart contain 73 percent, our skin is composed of 64 percent fluid while our kidneys and muscles are 79 percent water. Interestingly, even our bones are somewhat watery at 31 percent. All in all, we’re rather soggy creatures living on a rather soggy planet too – one that is predominantly covered in water.
From a biological perspective, water has many different properties that – as those in white lab coats would say, “Are critical for the propagation of life”. To list every function in which water is pivotal requires a book – not a blog post – but just to give you some idea – let’s say this:
- For starters, all known forms of life depend on it. When it comes to human beings, water is crucial for the many metabolic processes that happen in our bodies every day. Water’s ability to dissolve substances allows our cells to use precious nutrients, minerals and chemicals in what are indispensable biological processes.
- Take digestion for example – digestion relies on enzymes to break down all our yummy noshery and dissolve it into nutrients, minerals and so on. Where are those enzymes? Well, to begin with they’re in our saliva. Then in our stomach, pancreas and finally in our small intestine too – and wherever they are along the digestive tract, they need water to function.
- Water also acts as a lubricant and not only keeps our tissues moist, it protects them too. Water does an excellent job of shielding the spinal cord and forms soft, squelchy cushions for all our joints as well.
- Just as important as anything else is water’s ability to transport wastes out of our bodies. The kidneys and liver rely on water to flush out waste and our intestines do too. Perspiration as well is yet another ‘swilling’ exercise in which water plays a pivotal role.
- Importantly, water prevents us from becoming dehydrated. We all lose fluids when in hot weather for example or when exercising, breastfeeding, running a fever and so forth and – as we lose it – it is vital that we replenish it to avoid dehydration. Which brings us to the next question…
What happens if we drink too little water?
We hate to be the Mongers of Doom but – if dehydration happens and it is not ‘corrected’ – all toasty hell breaks loose. Urination eventually stops, the kidneys pack up and the body can’t remove harmful waste products. Not good. In extreme cases, (cue a scythe-bearing Grim Reaper) dehydration results in death.
The same thing – but different. Back in 2007 news broke of the death of a young American woman who competed in a radio station’s challenge to see how much water contestants could drink without going to the bathroom. The Coroner reported that Jennifer Strange died of ‘Water Intoxication’ and many were gobsmacked that this could even happen. Hyponatraemia is the medical term for water intoxication and it occurs when sodium in the blood plummets to a dangerous level. When this happens, your body’s water levels rise and your cells begin to enlarge. This swelling can cause many health problems, from mild to – sadly – life-threatening.
Why Drink Water After Your Massage?
You might be surprised to learn that massage is dehydrating. When your massage therapist kneads and works on your muscles, the fluids within them are activated and released. Once these fluids are in your circulatory system, they head straight for the kidneys in true Thelma and Louise style!
Massage also stimulates the lymphatic system so toxins are released and water, of course, helps to flush these out too.
For these reasons, our massage therapists always recommend you drink more before and after a massage. That warm herbal tea or that cool cup of water provides your kidneys with the extra fluid needed to efficiently remove the newly liberated wastes and will also help your muscles fully re-hydrate so they feel supple and work well. More after massage tips are here
Ultimately, drinking enough water is essential to good health – a well-hydrated body is able to detoxify, process nutrients efficiently and transport oxygen throughout all cells. So, when your massage therapist suggests you drink an extra glass of water or two – she cares for your overall well-being and wants you to feel at your best. Always.
Have more questions for your massage therapist? Some of the common ones are here.