Water is everywhere. It’s invisible in the air in the form of water vapor, and in large quantities condenses together to form clouds. These clouds become heavy enough to start condensing and precipitating in the form of rain.
When it travels from the peaks of mountains into lakes and rivers, it carries with it dissolved solids that give its distinct mineral taste. The water permeates plants, animals, and is recycled throughout an ecological system in the form of predator-prey dynamics.
Our bodies are composed of more than 60 percent water, and that’s why it may be the best substance for better health. Enter water therapy.
What Is Water Therapy?
Water therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is a homeopathic approach claimed to “cure” a variety of conditions. Certain medical communities support water therapy and several studies have been conducted to establish its validity as a complementary health regimen for individuals.
Water therapy includes the consumption and its applications such as medicinal baths, compresses, and steams.
Belief in the ability of water to restore health has existed for thousands of years, predating ancient Roman and Greek civilizations, and as far back as the time during Ancient Egypt.
Baths were popular in Rome but Egyptians started the trend of using essences and components found in nature to include in their baths.
The Cultural Significance of Water
Aside from the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, water therapy existed in other cultures and societies. Texts from the Edo period in Japan show recommendations for treating digestive diseases by bathing in hot water.
In Chinese belief, a balance of yin and yang energies within the body is directly affected by the consumption of hot and cold water.
The Hindus use water in almost all of their rituals. They believe that water purifies the body and soul, and the use of water in rituals from conception to the cessation of life remains consistent. In Maori culture, bodies of water are considered sacred places, and that water acts as a gateway between the physical and spiritual worlds.
The long held belief that water has innate healing properties reached the Western world, with one of the leading innovations in hydrotherapy starting in Germany.
Scientists tried to understand the relationship of water to the human body, with conclusions such as weight loss and more youthful appearances attracting dozens to the practice of hydrotherapy.
What’s the Science Behind Fat Loss and Water?
The science surrounding water and weight reduction isn’t complicated – it’s a combination of physics and basic biology. Individuals who want to lose weight simply need to drink water before their meals. The fluid takes up so much space in the stomach that it will reduce one’s ability to eat more.
Other than making a person feel full, water has zero calories and one can drink as much as they healthily can. Water dilutes the acid in the stomach, interrupting the biofeedback for hunger.
Water increases blood volume and helps cells deliver the necessary glucose to the major organs.
The increased blood volume also increases oxygen perfusion, thereby improving metabolism. Increased blood flow to the brain helps an individual remain alert, and as a result they’re more inclined to exercise during the daytime.
Conclusive Studies On The Effects of Water In Weight Loss
A study in 2013 observed weight loss among young women with excess weight. The women drank cold water before their meals in a course of a few weeks and saw visible reductions in body fat percentage. Cold water forces the body to regulate temperature, and expends energy in doing so.
Similarly, cold showers also stimulate thermogenesis and the process requires the use of calories to achieve a stable body temperature. Although the effects are minimal, drinking water and taking cold showers create healthier habits that will eventually lead to weight loss.
A peer review in 2016 on a study correlating mild dehydration and decreased fat breakdown shows that water may help speed fat loss.
Although the mechanism isn’t fully explained, scientists say this may have something to do with hormones directly affected by the amount of water in the body.
The role of the kidneys in the excretion of metabolic waste may also affect weight loss. An imbalance of sodium and water may lead to excess body weight.
The consumption of the right amounts of foods containing sodium and other electrolytes, coupled with healthy amounts of water will eventually help shed excess water weight and fat.
Does The Type of Water Affect Weight Loss?
Both the processes of osmosis and diffusion help the body retain or lose water. These processes occur depending on the concentration of a solution and the available water inside or outside of a cell.
If an individual’s body is accustomed to high levels of sodium they will inevitably require more water as the cells are in a state of “drought.”
The choice of water then affects the body’s ability to retain water. Depending on the concentration of minerals in a bottle of water, the cells in the body may give up water and lead to weight loss.
Who Can Do Water Therapy?
Anything in excess can lead to serious health consequences. People with kidney problems may have to consult their doctors on the effectiveness of water therapy.
The most reliable indicator to drink water is always thirst, although the US NASEM (National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine) states that fluid intake should be 3.7L daily for the average American male and 2.7 liters for the American female.