Wellness and Water
Being in water is a healthy experience. Water stimulates every cell of the skin as it relaxes tightened muscles and promotes healing. It wakes you up, calms you down, and washes away the problems of the day along with the dirt.
More people every day are enrolling in health spas, swimming year-round, and installing whirlpool baths and spas in their own homes. It has always been difficult to get children out of the water - and now the same is sometimes true for adults.
The Japanese have championed communal bathing for centuries. An entire family shares the intimacy and pleasure of being naked together, as each fulfills the basic needs for personal cleanliness and relaxation. Our reticence to accept such a practice in the West reflects our fear of the physical body and its functioning.
There is more to bathing than promoting cleanliness. Water has always been a religious symbol because of its connection to purification, refreshment, and regeneration. We all come from the water - evolving from the creatures of the sea, floating in the uterus of the mother. Water, like air, has the capacity to touch us all over, in every crack and crevice of the body. Immersing yourself in it is one of the greatest and simplest pleasures known to human beings. The security of being surrounded in it can be a source of great healing. And the possibilities for its creative use are limitless:
- Drinking it. Water is an important source of minerals and serves to wash out wastes. The standard advice to drink 6-8 glasses of pure water daily may be more important than ever in a world filled with more and more toxins and pollutants (see Wellness and Eating, for more about this life-enhancing elixir).
- Showering. Take a shower using hot water for thirty seconds, followed by cold water for thirty seconds, followed by hot, and so on. This type of shower is great for stimulating your circulation.
- Bathing. Fill the tub with hot water and a mild bubble bath. Light a few candles. Put on your favorite music or take in a good book.
- Soaking in a hot tub or bath. Whirlpool jets soothe and untangle the knots in tired muscles.
- Sweating in a sauna, steam bath, or sweat lodge. Follow up with a short, stimulating cold shower.
- Having a water fight. Remember how hard you laughed?
- Swimming. Even if you don't know how, just get in there and splash out your frustrations. Surrender to the healing touch of the water.
- Exercising. Water aerobics is a good way to get a low-impact workout.
- Soaking your feet. Fill a basin with hot water and mild soap or baking soda. Experience your whole body relaxing as your feet do. Finish off by drying them with a coarse towel. Then give yourself a foot massage.
- Visiting a hot springs. If you don't live near any natural hot springs or mineral springs, check into them on your next vacation. Often they are not well advertised. The curative powers of these waters have been praised for ages.
- Making medicine. Some Native American healers have long used water to cure a variety of ailments. We know that polluted water can be poisonous, so why shouldn't energized water become medicine? At the least, it wouldn't hurt to try. Fill a glass or bottle with water and place it on a windowsill where it will receive the first rays of the rising sun. Before you go to bed, sit with the water, telling it what you need for your increased health and wellbeing. In the morning, drink the whole glass.
- Cleansing your energy field. Compose a ceremony in which you use water to symbolically cleanse your body (or the body of a loved one), and your mind and soul from illness, darkness, sin," and painful memories. Make it a beautiful occasion. Take a new or additional name to signify your new life. Be at peace.