DRINKING WATER DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR
We must know that 66 % of the body weight is constituted by water. Out of this about 66 % i.e. about 28 liters is in the cells called intracellular fluid and about 34 % i.e. about 14 liters is outside the cells called extra cellular fluid. The water is so much important for the body but what alas; its importance is hardly described in textbooks of physiology or even preventive or curative medicine. Right in the beginning it must be appreciated that water is essential for the saliva to form and give amongst other things, us the ability to taste. Formation of saliva would be tremendously compromised if there is inadequate availability of water. It is common experience that drying of mouth is associated with sensation of thirst as
well as speechlessness, besides developing bad odor to breath [halitosis], oral infections and caries of teeth. Water is also required for the formation of gastric, pancreatic, intestinal and bile juices. Water is required amongst other things for temperature regulation through formation of sweat. It is by getting dissolved in water, that the nutrients can reach different parts of body. It is in the water that various chemical reactions take place so as to generate energy and also to build different body tissues, from the nutrients consumed.
The water is also required for dissolving and carrying away the waste material from the body cells. Water is very much required for removal of waste products through the rectum and urinary bladder. The dry feces can be extremely painful and harmful and dry urine [oligouria, anuria] can be fatal. This probably does not require further elaboration as most of us have experienced the burning micturition and dry feces during fever and/or due even mild deficiency of water due to one reason or another. But in addition water is also required for removal of toxic gases like CO2 by forming [CO2 + H2O = H2CO3 = HCO3- + H+] NaHCO3. In fact, it is required for dissolving, neutralizing and detoxifying several substances from all the
body cells as well as specialized cells like those of liver. It is worth noting that some individuals develop allergy to some substances including some drugs. In such situation, drinking large quantities of water is found to be beneficial. It is also important to note that many of those who get dehydration and head ache due to alcohol; can get relief by drinking water. This is because; lot of water is consumed for metabolism of alcohol leaving the body dehydrated. It is interesting to note that the gastrointestinal tract is nothing else but the internalized skin! It is therefore natural that this tract has lot of sensory receptors in as much as it has various glands and muscles. Therefore apart from everything else, mentioned above, the first thing that happens after we drink water is that we feel fresh!
Water cleans various secretions of no consequence or with injurious effects. Water stimulates movements of the stomach, intestine, small intestine etc. as a result of which there is facilitation of movement of feces towards the anus. This helps in relieving constipation. Water drinking is like internal bath with all the advantages described above. Drinking of water can be beneficially used for many of those; who wish to control habits such as tea, coffee or tobacco, alcohol etc. Since water has the paramount quenching effect it does allay the anxiety and restlessness which is developed because of abstinence of these substances and helps overcome these habits [though other measures may also be required depending on the severity of an individual case].
Some people viz. the advocates of “water therapy” advise as much 1.260 liters of water to be drunk at a time. They claim that a variety of diseases, are actually prevented and cured by such water drinking. I do not know if this is true. In view of all the above, the custom of drinking water in morning USHAHPANA (Ushaa means the time before the sunrise and paana means to drink); is very beneficial. Water is life giving. Hence water itself is called JEEVANA (life). It is very interesting to note that in India there is a custom of offering jaggery and water to the visitors. Water is served right in the beginning even in restaurants.
DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR