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  • Writer's picturedrnataliesenst_ND


Your body is largely made up of water (80% in infants and up to 60% in adults). And all the cells in your body require water to survive. Water is essential to human survival and is also a powerful tool for healing.

Your drinking water:

What to avoid and why (if you have a choice)

  • Chlorine and fluorine present in high levels in most tap water (also in your shower) can contribute to reduced thyroid function, symptoms of which include fatigue, cold, dry skin, slow reflexes, and poor focus

  • BPA, BPS, BPF, and pthalates in the plastic bottles that contain water can leech into water and negatively affect your hormones. These chemicals are considered obesogens (linked to obesity), carcinogens, increase allergies and reduce detoxification and DNA repair processes known as methylation.

  • Arsenic, lead and mercury are metals that can contaminate tap water and accumulate in your body, having various toxic effects, from carcinogenic to neurologic/memory, mood and hormonal disruption.

What can you do?

  • Invest in quality water filtration for your home. There are tabletop filtration systems (like Berkey) or under-the-counter options. Look for a multi-stage filter and check what it is designed to remove (charcoal only filters out chlorine)

  • Consider testing the quality of the water coming out of your tap to understand what toxins you may have been accumulating.

  • Try to store your filtered water in non-plastic containers (glass jugs and glass or stainless steel water bottles are optimal)

Water for healing:

The history of naturopathic medicine has deep roots in "water cure" - or what in modern times is referred to as hydrotherapy. Water is a powerful tool that can help to stimulate the body's own natural capacity for healing itself

Hydrotherapies include:

  • Nasal rinses (using a neti pot ) - for allergies and immune balancing fill the pot with luke warm water and a small pinch of sea-salt, or for acute infection use the hottest water that doesn't scald and 1 tsp of sea-salt per pot to clear out invading pathogens from the sinuses

  • Hot/Cold alternating showers: the general practice is to switch between hot and cold water applications in a 3:1 ratio of time (so 90 seconds hot, 30 seconds cold) for 3-5 cycles. Adjust timing as needed - you never want to start the cold application still chilled. Adjust temperatures to the most extreme that you find tolerable - temperature is exptremely individual and will change with practice. Always start your showers with hot and end with cold. A simplified version of this is to end any hot shower you take with 30 seconds cold water.

  • Warming socks (or 'cold wet socks') are used to aid circulation and draw heat and congestion from the head during fevers, migraines, and head colds. The application starts with a thin pair of cotton socks run under cold water until soaked and then wring out. These are put on before bed and covered with a pair of dry wool socks. In the morning your "wet" socks should be dry and warm - and your feet warm too. If your feet are cold before you put the socks on, warm them up in hot water first.

  • Steam inhalation: this practice can help clear your breathing passages, soothe irritated lungs or loosen mucus in your chest. To set up, lean your face over a bowl of freshly boiled water to inhale the steam. Put a towel over your head and bowl to trap the steam as it rises. Careful not to burn your face! You can add a drop of two of an essential oil to the steam if desired.

Reach out for individualized support or to learn more about naturopathic medicine!

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