I know “water of life” sounds like an exaggeration, but as a science fiction fan, I couldn’t resist that little shout-out to “Dune”, one of my favorite sci fi novels.
But if you think about it, associating water and life is no exaggeration at all. We die from lack of water much faster than from lack of food. There has been seemingly unending buzz in the popular media about how much to drink, contaminants in tap water, plastic bottles leeching chemicals into the water they contain (which might just be filtered tap water anyway), you name it. The latest ruckus is the First Lady’s “Drink up ” campaign. While it is true we need to drink enough fluid to maintain optimum health, it is easy enough to get that optimum. I don’t think the point is to drink a higher volume of water, I think the point of the thing is to drink more water INSTEAD of all the sugary, or artificially sweetened beverages. Instead of ‘drink more water’ the message should be to “stop polluting the water you already drink with processed corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.”
But let’s dial all that back a bit. In the bigger picture, water has been associated with health and healing for hundreds of years.
Mostly because the water we take for granted was a difficult thing to get in the past. It was hard enough to get decent water for drinking (often impossible…leading to a panoply of diseases still found in developing nations today) – much less get enough water for cleaning and bathing. Basic hygene could have gone a long way to mitigating the great epidemics of the past. Mineral and natural hot springs were thought to have miraculous healing properties (although it may have been less a matter of divine intervention, and more an instance of heat and minerals killing germs) Even ‘normal’ water was a revered healing method in the 18th and 19th centuries. Extended showers, mineral spas, hot and cold compresses, saunas, and “Kniepp therapy” are just a few examples.
We often take our water supply for granted. We are able to drink all we want without fear of disease or parasites. We can easily keep ourselves and homes clean. A study from Kyoto University proves that simple gargle with plain water 2 or 3 times a day can help reduce colds and flu.
Simple water is a wondrous thing – drink up.
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