The Importance of Drinking Water
Everywhere you go these days, you see people carrying bottled water. And because of the emphasis that has been placed on drinking water, it is now the second most popular drink in the United States. This is really important because every cell in our bodies depends upon water to function. And with every hour that passes, our bodies lose water. Unless we replace that, we literally can shrivel up and die.
Water intake is important for so many reasons. Water helps maintain the balance of bodily fluids. Every time we breathe, eat, urinate, defecate or sweat, we are using water in some way. There are also ways that we use water that we don’t see, like the circulation of our blood and lymphatic fluids, the transportation of nutrients in our bodies and the regulation of our body temperature. For all these processes to occur, water is needed. This is the number one reason that drinking water is so important.
Drinking water also helps us control our caloric intake. For many people, weight loss is a big deal and not necessarily an easy battle. But drinking water with every meal instead of some other beverage that is full of calories is always the best option. Not only do you avoid ingesting unwanted calories that can possibly turn into unwanted pounds, but you can also feel fuller faster. This makes it less likely that you will eat as much and this can help keep the waistline slim.
As mentioned before, every cell in our bodies needs water to function and the muscles are no different. In fact, drinking water actually helps to energize the muscles. Muscle fatigue is frequently caused by a lack of water in the cells themselves. And while we’re discussing the muscles, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed. Many people believe that drinking water after a massage helps flush toxins out of the muscles. This is actually not true and science has proven it.
In fact, the process of massaging the muscles actually creates a slightly toxic effect within the muscles known as rhabdomyolysis. And no amount of water will change that because rhabdomyolysis is an unavoidable side effect of massage that occurs just like after an intense workout.
Another reason to drink water is an obvious one. Water helps to keep your body regular. This includes urination and defecation. But on an even deeper level, when we are properly hydrated, our kidneys and intestines can function properly and help remove waste products from the body. A buildup of waste products can lead to illness and death.
Lastly, staying hydrated keeps your skin looking healthy and vibrant. Dehydration makes the skin look dry and wrinkled. But this doesn’t mean that overhydrating will reverse those wrinkles completely. Getting enough water can definitely help, but once the body is fully hydrated, the kidneys will get rid of the excess fluid.
Any of these are great reasons to drink water, but do you really need a reason? When people are properly hydrated, they look and feel better. So pick up that glass of water and take a big gulp. Your body will appreciate the attention and continue to support you in return.
Large Intestine 4 is one of the most important and influential acupoints in the entire body. The Chinese name for Large Intestine 4 is “He Gu” meaning union valley or converging valley. The point is located on the hand in the web between the thumb and index finger, also described as the depression where the index finger and thumb bones part. This area of the hand is often described as “valley like” hence the name converging valley.
The large intestine has many important functions in the body. Connected to the Western medicine function of the large Intestine, it is vital in digestion and bowel regulation, but it also has many functions above and beyond that in Chinese medicine. The large intestine is associated with the emotions of sadness and grief, it can help build immunity as it works as a paired channel to the lung meridian and has a big effect on the flow of Qi and blood in the body.
Large Intestine 4 is a strong point for building the immune system and can be used for when someone has a cold or a virus like the flu. It can be used to treat febrile illnesses, rashes from wind or heat, allergic reactions causing rhinitis, as well as sore throat and difficulty swallowing. It is the command point of the face, nose, jaw and mouth and can be used to treat many problems associated with those. Toothaches and TMJ can be painful, but Large Intestine 4 can reduce the pain without even going near the affected areas. It is one of the main points for headaches and many people instinctively press it on their hand when they have a headache, without even realizing it is an acupuncture point. If someone has suffered a stroke, this point can help with paralysis and aid in recovery.
The large Intestine has a great effect on the flow of qi and blood in the body and Large Intestine 4 is a very strong point to get everything moving. Pain, according to Chinese medicine, is often described as Qi and blood being stagnant or “stuck” and Large Intestine 4 is critical to move this stagnation, especially when coupled with another point called Liver 3. Together, this pair of points is called The Four Gates and together they are a powerhouse in getting the Qi and blood circulated. They can effectively treat pain, depression, constipation, promote labor, expel retained placenta and help alleviate menstrual disorders caused by stagnation such as endometriosis.
Large Intestine 4 is contraindicated in pregnancy because it is so powerful and moving, but it can be effectively used to induce labor. Used in conjunction with another powerhouse acupuncture point Spleen 6, these two points are commonly used together to start labor, often with electroacupuncture to stimulate the points even more than needles alone.
Once labor has started, Large Intestine 4 can be used if labor is stalled or prolonged as well as used after childbirth to expel the placenta, decrease postpartum bleeding and decrease the time between childbirth and the discharge of the placenta.
Large Intestine 4 is an exceedingly influential point and one of the most commonly used points in acupuncture treatments. It can also be effective in treating a range of emotional issues such as depression, insomnia, stress, irritability and severe PMS. This point should not be underestimated and its alternative name of Tiger's Mouth is barely descriptive of its strength in acupuncture treatments.
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.