Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Second Medicine

There are three things the human body requires: Air, water, food.

The body can survive for about 7 minutes without air, 7 days without water and 7 weeks without food. Not easily, or comfortably, but it can survive.

As infants we start out in an enviroment where our every need is supplied even before we understand it. Then we emerge into this odd space where we have to express our needs.

Saying "I need" usually results in something being put in an infant's mouth, resulting in crossed signals--as infants, we learn that "I'm hungry" and "I'm thirsty" are interchangeable. Later, we discover that "I'm hungry" tastes better and "I'm thirsty" is no longer consciously recognized. As adults, for the most part we assume "hungry" when we're thirsty because those first few months of life taught us that they were the same thing. So we eat instead of drink, never satisfied because we're not feeding the correct appetite.

Many diseases, from strokes to headaches and on through some forms of cancer and dementia, can ultimately be traced back to dehydration.

The body relies on a liquid conduction system. Like a wet cell battery, if the liquid level is too low the current drops. When the current drops the body thinks "drought" and goes into survival mode. Everything that is not absolutely essential (skin, digestion, and immunity to name a few) goes into maintenance mode, where the least energy and resources are used.

In the short run, people who do not drink enough are prone to (the short list) muddled thinking, emotional rollercoasters, exhaustion, elimination problems and headaches.

The problem with "drinking" is that many people consider any kind of liquid to fit the bill. So they go for coffee, tea, sodas, all of which increase urination (they're diuretics). Drinking a cup of coffee may actually make you get rid of more water than is in the coffee, so it doesn't work. Same with alcoholic beverages. Any time you add anything to water, it's adding chemicals that are going to have a reaction with your body, either positive or negative.

As we age our bodies fail to adapt to shortages as easily, and the habits of a lifetime catch up to us. Dry skin, brains that don't fire as well as they used to, cell elasticity problems and many others can be traced ultimately back to a lifetime of starving our bodies of one essential nutrient--water.

If you know you're breathing properly and you still have whatever problem you're trying to figure out, drink water. It's not going to be as immediate a solution as breathing correctly. If you're breathing incorrectly it will take about seven minutes for the effects to start showing. If you're dehydrated, it may take a week or more.

Water is the second medicine.

The First Medicine (Air)