Water = Life
It’s no secret that keeping hydrated is crucial for your health and wellbeing. About 70% of our body is made up of water, and H2O is involved in many of our body’s processes. Water is essential for our kidneys to operate at their best, our digestive system depends on it, and it keeps our body temperature within safe limits, too.
Water helps dissolve minerals and nutrients, making them more accessible to the body, and it assist the body to remove toxins and waste products. Drinking water, whether from the tap or a bottle, is the best source of fluid for the body. Bottled water can be a convenient alternative to tap water, but there’s really no hard evidence that it’s better for you than drinking water from the tap.
For your body to keep functioning normally, it needs a steady supply of water, especially in hot weather, when exercising or playing sport. The amount you need depends on your age, size, the weather and how active you are. It also depends on the amount of sleep you’ve had the night before, as fatigue can cause you to dehydrate more quickly.
How much and what should we drink?
As a rough guide, adults should aim to drink 1.5–2 litres of fluid each day. This includes most drinks such as water, milk and herbal tea but don’t count caffeinated drinks or alcohol in the total as they actually have a have dehydrating effect on the body.
Smoothies are a great way to refuel after exercise or for kick-starting your day with a dose of vitamins. However, they pack more fruit (read: more sugar) into your daily intake than you may think. Fruit is healthy to eat on its own, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing!
Watch out with the vinos, too. Any alcoholic drink that has 10+ percent alcohol strength is classed as a dehydrator, which means more of the liquid will leave your system than be absorbed. Most wines count for around 12 percent, so they’re better than spirits (37 percent) but worse than beer (4-5 percent). When drinking alcohol, the best approach is to have a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you have. We call it the one-to-one rule.
Fizzy drinks and most energy drinks are packed with caffeine, fake sugars and complicated chemicals. The amount of added sugar in these types of drinks cancel out the hydration benefits.
In moderation, coffee isn’t all that bad. But once you go past that second cup, you are not doing your body any favours. Research shows that drinking more than 300 milligrams of caffeine—that’s the amount in two to three cups of coffee – can dehydrate you.
10 Easy ways to drink more water
Despite the proven mental and physical benefits of being well-hydrated, many of us still aren’t drinking enough water. If that’s you, just follow these tips to help you drink more water each day:
- Drink a big glass of water as soon as you get up
- Keep a water bottle close by during the day
- Eat foods with a high water content
- Drink water before or with every meal
- Add slices of fruit or mint to make it more exciting
- Apply the one-to-one rule when you drink alcohol
- Get into drinking herbal, caffeine-free teas
- Use an app to track how many cups you drink
- Swap still for sparkling to make it less boring
- Create a routine so drinking water becomes a habit
Why drink water after a massage?
We recommend that you drink a big glass of water after you’ve had a massage here at Body Mechanics Whakatāne and we’re not just saying this to make sure you are getting your 8+ glasses a day. There’s another important reason.
A massage stimulates the lymphatic system, which in turn drives out toxins. Water is essential to flush out the toxins, so if you don’t drink water after a massage, it is possible you experience a slight headache.
If you are thirsty and dehydrated, you can sometimes feel dizzy after a massage. The same goes for low blood sugar levels. If you have not eaten anything within 4-5 hours of your massage treatment, it’s possible you’ll feel dizzy and light-headed after your treatment.
Do not substitute this glass of water we recommend with tea, coffee, alcohol, or fizzy as these drinks are diuretic, which means they make you pee more. That way, your body loses more water without giving you a chance to retain the fluids.
It’s really important to feel hydrated both before and after your treatment as that means you will get the best out of your massage and feel great afterwards!
What to do after acupuncture
Patients experience a wide variety of sensations after acupuncture treatment and feeling thirsty is just one of them. Drinking plenty of water is a great idea and what else is best for you to do after an acupuncture treatment depends on you. Listen to your body and go along with how you feel.
As always, moderation is key. If you feel tired after acupuncture, don’t nap for hours but feel free to take a 20-minute snooze. If you feel hungry after acupuncture, have a light snack but don’t gobble down a huge meal. If you feel energetic, a short walk is a better choice than a 5k run.
Acupuncture helps bring you into a place of balance, where your sympathetic nervous system (the fight-or-flight response) is no longer in overdrive. Your mind is calmer and clearer, so you can enjoy some respite from the overstimulating world we live in.
Resting and hydration allows the physical and emotional restoration that acupuncture sets in motion to continue. Acupuncture helps bring toxins out of the body, so don’t knowingly put them straight back in by eating poor-quality food or drinking coffee or alcohol after you’ve had a treatment.
Think about water and good quality food as nourishment and see eating and hydrating as an opportunity to continue the healing that your body has received.
Come see the Body Mechanics team
Now you know how to take care of yourself before and after a massage or acupuncture treatment, the only thing left to do is make an appointment. Our wonderful massage and acupuncture therapists are all passionate about helping you get the absolute best out of the treatments we offer, and your health and wellbeing is important to us.