Water of Life

Water makes a news splash – again

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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.

Related posts and sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian_Kneipp

http://www.cartercenter.org/news/documents/doc130.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16242593

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/12/first-lady-michelle-obama-ask-everyone-drink-more-water

How to drink water

Flu Vaccine – a Holistic Point of View

Sometimes Holistic Health isn’t an alternative…it is a compliment

I think it does a disservice to Holistic Health when we call it “alternative medicine”.

“Alternative”  means another choice, but it also implies a mutually exclusive, this-or-that choice. I don’t think health and healing works that way. No one symptom exists in isolation…people are whole, interconnected organisms, even at the purely physical, biological level. Add to that the connections of body to mind and spirit. Add to that the connections of relationships and social functioning. Health and healing is a “big picture” venture.  “Mainstream” and “Alternative” medicine can (and do) work together – hence the names “Complimentary” and “Integrated” medicine. In the totality of health care, both are a viable ways to help. The difference comes in deciding which is the BEST approach in a given situation. Sometimes the best answer isn’t “this” or “that”. Sometimes the best answer really is “all of the above”.

The gap between mainstream, ‘scientific’ Allopathic health care and Holistic Health is narrowing. The more science studies holistic health, the more common ground is found.  Naturopaths were promoting hygene long before the days of Lister and Pasteur.  The “Nature Doctors” have been telling people to wash their hands for hundreds of years.

Vaccines are another area where modern medicine and holistic health finally agree. Now I’m sure many of you natural health fans are bristling at that and are ready to stop reading…but wait a minute first.

I realize there are religious objections to vaccines. Those are personal decisions, and outside of the scope of this post. I know there has been panic and mis-information about connections between vaccines and autism, not to mention legitimate problems with preservatives and allergies – but consider this for a minute: homeopathy.

The theory behind homeopathy is that the symptoms in an illness are actually evidence of the body’s self-healing efforts, not evidence of the disease process. So tiny doses of a substance that induces the same set of symptoms is given to help and support that inner self-healing. As the adage says,  “like cures like”.

Now look at how vaccines work. A tiny bit of killed or disabled germs are given to teach your body how to protect itself against that particular germ and the disease that it causes.The germ-containing vaccine directs and helps our natural inner germ-fighting system. The germ helps the body self-cure the germ-caused disease before it even progresses enough to cause symptoms. In essence, like cures like. Sounds a little like homeopathy, doesn’t it? Yet vaccines are supported by hard science, and are time-proven good medicine.

Whether you are an advocate of natural health, or a pure mainstream kind of person – vaccines make sense. It keeps individuals healthy, it’s true. Looking again to the big picture, it keep the community as whole healthier too.

I’ve had my flu vaccine – have you? And wash your hands.

 

http://chartiersvalley.patch.com/articles/flu-season-starting-earlier-this-year