In order to optimize the efficacy of any therapeutic modality (and, indeed, to optimize your overall health), it is essential to get and stay hydrated. Hydration is arguably one of the most foundational, yet most neglected, practices for good health. It is astounding how many so-called conditions can be alleviated by simply increasing one’s intake of high quality, living water.

High blood pressure, for example, is sometimes an expression of chronic dehydration. When there is an insufficient supply of water to our cells, the cell walls alter to create a filtration system that prevents water from leaving. One side effect of this survival mode is that it requires pressure to force water into the cell (one molecule at a time!). To ensure that water can pass through the tiny holes of the cell membrane, the body releases the hormone vassopressin, which also has the property of causing vasoconstriction and putting the squeeze on the fluid volume in the region (high blood pressure).

Similarly, high cholesterol can often be traced back to a chronic lack of water. Cholesterol is a natural “clay” that, when poured in the gaps of the cell membrane, will make the cell wall impervious to the passage of water. Its excessive manufacture and deposition in the cell membranes is part of the natural design for the protection of living cells against dehydration. It is a necessary substance, but its excess often points to dehydration.

Asthma is yet another example of a common “condition” that is oftentimes treated without regard for its possible association with dehydration. Asthmatics have an increase in histamine content in their lung tissue, which regulates bronchial muscle contraction. Since one of the sites for water loss through evaporation is in the lungs, bronchial constriction produced by histamine means less water evaporation during breathing – – a simple natural maneuver to preserve the body water (and yet another one of the body’s many cries for MORE!).

With water as his only resource for treating sick people in prison, Dr. Batmanghelidj recognized the role that dehydration had in producing myriad symptoms. The essential message of his book is captured in its title: Your Body’s Many Cries for Water. His central argument is that our bodies indicate a need for water well before we are thirsty and that these many “cries for water” are often wrongly diagnosed as a medical condition requiring drugs, which only worsens the body’s dehydration. His logic is simple: when the cause of disease is dehydration, nothing other than a water cure is in order.

Dr. Batmanghelidj was critical of the use of drugs not only because it often signaled a failure to recognize the underlying root cause of the condition — dehydration — but also because the allopathic drugs themselves worsened the state of dehydration. More specifically, they further impede the regulating action of the neurotransmitter systems (histamine and subordinate agents) during the water regulating action of the body.

True:  it is not always the case that dehydration is the cause of disease, but it is prudent to rule out this possibility by increasing our water intake. Moreover, most modalities that effectively eliminate the factors that contribute to disease (ex. homeopathy, Bowen therapy) require proper hydration for full efficacy. In short, whether or not hydration is the primary cause of your particular symptoms, it is a good idea to properly hydrate yourself.

When considering how hydrated you are, you have to start by asking how much WATER – – not how much liquid – – you drink in a day. Most beverages, like coffee, tea, and soda, are actually dehydrating. They contain a sufficient amount of dissolved solids to prevent them from having any free hydrogen or electrons and hydrogen needs to be free in order to transfer to the cells and hydrate them. If you choose to indulge in select beverages despite their dehydrating properties, it is important to drink a glass of water per beverage OVER AND ABOVE YOUR DAILY REQUIREMENT TO STAY HYDRATED, which is at least half and ounce per pound of body weight (approx. two litres per 130 pounds).

Most people are chronically dehydrated, which is why we can no longer rely on thirst as an accurate indicator. In the attempt to hydrate ourselves, it takes a concerted effort to drink even when we are not necessarily thirsty. It also takes love and patience. Chronic dehydration causes our cells to become armoured and in response to the expectation that there is never enough water, they tighten their membranes to minimize or prevent the amount of fluid that passes through them. The result is that when we start to hydrate ourselves it takes a while for our cells to accept that there will consistently be enough water (and produce cells with permeable membranes). It’s like trying to love someone who’s been hurt before and is expecting a repeat occurance. It takes a lot of consistency to get these people – – and our cells – – to open up again and trust that the offering (in the form of water and/or love) will be steady into the future and won’t be withdrawn. When we first start drinking a lot of water, it just goes right through us because our cells aren’t receptive. But over time, the more you hydrate yourself, the more it begins to take at the cellular level and you will not be running to the washroom every hour. Remember: peeing a lot is not an indication of being sufficiently hydrated (on the contrary, it is an indication of chronic dehydration). Just be patient and drink more.