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Water is Life

You work in the wellness industry. You tell your clients to drink more water. You know that hydration is essential for healthy body function. But how does your fluid intake really measure up?

Let’s be clear: Hydration is not just a thing. It is the thing, the footing to nutrition, the foundation of health. Humans can survive for longer without food than we can without water. It’s vital for moistening and protecting body tissues and organs, lubricating joints, aiding in the digestion of food, transporting nutrients and oxygen to all parts of our bodies and lessening the burden on the kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products.

Hydration also helps to regulate our body temperature, even if you don’t drip in sweat while you work, your body temperature will still increase with the exertion of giving a massage.

Signs that you need to hydrate

Feelings of thirst, dry skin or dry lips are classic signals to drink water, but frequent use of gum and mints and the use of massage lubricants may mask these symptoms, so by the time you actually feel thirsty you have already lost a significant amount of hydration.

When dehydration intensifies, feelings of discomfort increase and you can lose your appetite, it can even get to the point of nausea. You may experience these symptoms but not realise they are related to a lack of hydration. At this point, physical work feels more demanding, and concentration can be compromised.

Without adequate hydration, muscles won’t function properly and can get to the point of cramping. Not the ideal situation for a massage therapist who relies on their body to carry out their work.

Hydration is also vital to the fascia and is one of the tissues where we lose hydration fastest. When fascia is not hydrated, surfaces that should move smoothly, start sticking. Most people feel a lack of hydration in the fascia as stiffness or a need to stretch and move. As a massage therapist, you probably know what this feels like tactically in your clients but may not recognize how it “feels” inside your own body.

When dehydration gets to the point of illness, dizziness and an inability to regulate body temperature are signs that medial intervention may be required.

Now think about this; do you want longevity in your chosen career as a massage therapist? If you are not hydrating enough every day, your body is going to be sore and lead to physical burn out. While emotionally, if you’re constantly fatigued, uncomfortable and irritable, this is going to lead to job dissatisfaction. See how important that glass of water is now?

How do you stay hydrated while working as a massage therapist?

Strategic placement of a water bottle or a cup of water is an excellent first step. It’s better to drink small amounts regularly throughout the day (maybe a glass between clients) rather than reaching the point of dire thirst and gulping down a litre of water in one go. Flooding the body with a high volume at once is more likely to result in a badly timed need for a loo break when you have a client on the table!

If plain water doesn’t taste great, it’s OK to add a little bit of juice or a slice of lemon or lime. We also get hydration from food — so you can eat more fresh fruits and vegetables to improve your water consumption.

Every body differs, but as a rough guide, 8 to 12 glasses a day should keep you hydrated. Bear in mind factors like your level of exertion, hot temperatures, increased losses from caffeine and alcohol intake and some medical conditions may alter your hydration requirements.

Fun water facts

  • There is the same amount of water on earth now as there was when the earth was formed. You could be sharing a drink with a dinosaur!
  • Nearly 97% of the world’s water is salty or undrinkable and 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves just 1% for all of humanity’s needs — all its agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community and personal needs.
  • 75% of the human brain is water and 75% of a living tree is water.
  • Water expands by 9% when it freezes. Frozen water (ice) is lighter than water, which is why ice floats in water.
  • Boiling water freezes faster than cold water. Go figure!

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