Q: I’ve always felt like water has healing powers. Other than just drinking more of it, what are some of other ways to benefit from water?
Humans are 60 percent water, and water is one of the most essential nutrients for our health and well-being. Of course, we need to drink water throughout the day, but water can also be applied to the skin for therapy through a wide variety of techniques.
Water immersion (such as swimming or snorkeling) is extremely calming to the nervous system. In Germany, boys diagnosed with hyperactivity disorders are often sent to summer camp, which keeps them in a cool lake for much of the day. I absolutely love the simplicity and effectiveness of using alternating hot and cold water, or, when tight on time, just plain cold water, as a general tonic. The main idea is that cold causes blood vessels to constrict temporarily (to conserve precious body heat). After removing your body or body part from contact with cold water, a reverse reaction quickly kicks in. The blood vessels open up, flooding the treated area with fresh blood containing nutrients, oxygen, and white blood cells—a magic elixir required for physical healing.
Here are a few more water therapies that I use frequently and are easy to add to your routine:
If you have an outdoor stream nearby, that’s the best. Otherwise, use your bathtub or a Rubbermaid-type tub large enough to stand in comfortably. (I generally do my whole-body skin brushing routine while the water is filling.) Run cold water at least ankle deep, and walk in place for 60 seconds. Then get out of the tub and pat dry.
It’s a great way to start your day—who needs coffee after this cold dip? Once you learn to love this morning routine, consider increasing the bracing effect by sitting down in the cold water for another few seconds. I like to splash into my armpits (lymph nodes near the surface there) and up to my mid-back (where the adrenal glands sit, above the kidneys). If this routine (which really only takes a few minutes) is too much, then try rinsing with cold water for 30–60 seconds when you shower. It’s an excellent habit to acquire and will keep your skin glowing, your hair shiny, and your energy primed.