Water is used throughout the world for its physical and spiritual healing properties both inside and outside the body. So many of us know how good it feels to take a warm bath or hot shower after the end of a long day. Or if we've been in the heat for a long time, how wonderful that glass of water tastes. Water is used in religious ceremonies as a way of cleansing. And there are even massages that are performed in water. It is the elixir of our life. The organs associated directly with water are the kidneys and bladder. Yet water affects our whole body. The amount of water a person should drink varies according to size, physical activity and other factors. Not getting enough water can develop into bladder and kidney disorders, due to problems associated with dehydration. Waiting to drink until the sensation of thirst appears is not a good indication of proper hydration. Thirst is actually a symptom of mild dehydration. People who are well hydrated are rarely thirsty and have urine that is colorless or only slightly yellow. Water can be as healing when used on the outside of the body as well as it is when taken internally. Water is still among the most-popular mediums for promoting overall health and healing. When used on the outside of the body, water has an analgesic effect, creating a sense of relaxation and well-being. Water temperatures higher then normal body temperature can help manipulate blood flow and shift fluids from one part of the body to another. Water in the form of ice or heat is used by every major healing modality to ease stiff, tense muscles and promote healing from all types of injuries. There are many ways that you can increase your fluid intake. You can start by drinking water with at least one meal per day and increase to each meal. You can add a lemon, lime, or cucumber slice to your water to give it a bit of flavor. If you carry a bottle of water with you you're more likely to drink more water by sipping on it and not grab a soda. Cut back or cut-out on carbonated beverages such as soda as this may cause bloating or a feeling of fullness and prevent adequate consumption of fluids. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as they can help dehydrate the body. And lastly, eat water-rich fruits and vegetables. Diane Stacy is a practicing massage therapist who helps people with infertility, stress and helping their body and mind forget about life one hour at time.