I have always encouraged clients to drink water during and after each session of reflexology. This aids in flushing the circulatory systems and re-hydrating the body as it heals.
Let’s take a deeper look into why this advice is so important for post session maintenance, and also what the wider implications to the benefits of good hydration are.
As much as 56 - 59% of our body’s weight is water. Water is the most abundant molecule in the human body that undergoes continuous recycling. Numerous functions have been recognised for body water, including its function as a solvent, as a means to remove metabolic heat, and as a regulator of cell volume and overall function.
Water serves a number of essential functions to keep us all going. These include:
A vital nutrient to the life of every cell, acts first as a building material
It regulates our internal body temperature through sweating and respiration
The carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolised and transported by water in the bloodstream
It assists in flushing waste, mainly through urination
It acts as a shock absorber for our brain, spinal cord, and in pregnancy for the foetus
It forms saliva
It lubricates joints
The history of our body’s metabolisms means finely tuned mechanisms have evolved for precise control of fluid balance, indicative of its biological importance. However, water is frequently overlooked as a nutrient, and its real importance in maintaining a healthy life.
Mainly stored throughout the fascia (soft tissue) network and in muscles, bones and organs, the next high volume area is mucous. Soft tissue cells are made up of two proteins: collagen and elastin. These cells require constant hydration to function at their best.
Fascia tissue is what a reflexologist focuses on to release and relieve tension. We do this by breaking down textural differences in localised areas on the feet, plus other reflex zones, caused by nerve stress connected to specific parts of the body experiencing dysfunction. Increasing hydration dissolves and disperses the remnant particles that reflexology impacts. This helps the healing process by moving fluids around the body to release, restore and revitalise function.
How much water should you drink?
There are differing opinions on this, so the below suggestions are guidelines.
You should drink water daily - 1 to 3 litres. This is the adult average range and is not just to replenish fluid loss, but also to provide hydration as explained above for the functionality benefits your body needs.
The environment and type of physical work you do is an important factor. Even office settings dehydrate your body. I think schools, and especially primary and secondary students, require more access to water as a requirement of improved learning and mood management.
For more physical work, consider increasing water intake and adding mineral salts and electrolytes to the water. This will reduce soft tissue inflammation and muscle strain, which overtime can lead to sustained muscle injury risk.
My top 3 tips for optimal hydration:
Do this simple test; if your mouth feels dry and saliva is hard to form, you are dehydrated and need to replenish - especially before eating.
Make sure you don’t overdo water consumption; your kidneys are the water processing organs. If you have any pre-existing kidney health issues, UTI’s or a high stress workplace, water consumption should not exceed 2L per day, and you should seek medical advice.
If, for whatever reason, you feel you are consuming enough water or plan to drink more, please consider ‘when’ you drink. To assist optimal hydration and digestion processes, drinking a full glass of water 30mins prior to exercise, physical work or eating really supports your body. The same helps after these activities. Water after exercise and physical work is the most important time. As stated at the beginning, water flushes and improves body function. And be water wise for your health.
Want to read more specific information on this topic? Please go to the Client Resources space on the Reflex 2 Health website where you’ll find a downloadable PDF titled; Water Physiology Essentiality, Metabolism, and Health Implications by Stavros A. Kavouras, PhD, Costas A. Anastasiou, PhD - 2010