The Importance of Good Hydration Following a Bowen Session
Water is essential for life and it is important to take in the correct amount of fluid to be healthy. Water makes up a large proportion of the body – an average of 60% of body weight in men and 50-55% in women. Water has many functions in the body including regulating temperature, transporting nutrients and compounds in blood, removing waste products that are passed in urine, and acting as a shock absorber and lubricant in joints. As a result of Bowen, the body increases blood supply to nerve endings and affects the movement of lymph around the body. The effective functioning of these systems is entirely reliant on sufficient fluids. Fluid intake is therefore essential following a Bowen treatment.
In March 2010 The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a report suggesting that women should aim to drink around 1.6 litres and men around 2 litres per day, with more required in hot weather or during exercise. Food is thought to contribute a further 20% of fluid into our system. People who currently drink very little may find increasing their fluid intake difficult, and so the therapist can encourage a set amount, perhaps 500ml per day as a target. Water can be taken in small regular sips to avoid an excessive increase in urination.
Water is lost throughout the day in urine, sweat and breathing, and so to avoid dehydration this fluid needs to be replaced regularly. Rehydrating fluids include water, tea, coffee, milk, fruit juice and soft drinks. Alcoholic drinks are not counted as they have a diuretic effect – that is, they cause more water to be lost in urine, so drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration. Insufficient intake of fluids over time leads to dehydration. Studies have shown that at about 1% dehydration there are negative effects on mental and physical function and these effects become more severe as dehydration worsens. Symptoms of mild dehydration include a dry mouth, headaches, and poor concentration. When the body detects that more water is needed, the kidneys reduce the amount of water lost in urine and so the urine appears darker in colour. Ideally urine should be pale yellow.
A common reaction to a Bowen treatment is headaches – this is one of the first symptoms of mild dehydration. Clients will often draw comparisons to the feeling of a hangover – where there is a headache, a dry mouth and a feeling of nausea. This is because the body, in order to eliminate the alcohol, has drawn on the body’s reserves of water to flush it through the kidneys. In the same way, if the brain identifies an area where elimination or hydration is needed, it will call on water supplies, and use the lymphatic system to flush out any dysfunctional debris or toxins, which may lead to mild dehydration if there is insufficient fluid present in the system. It is therefore good practice to advise a client to increase their fluid intake if they should experience a headache during or following their Bowen session.
References: British Nutrition Foundation- Nutrition.org.uk;
Further reading: ‘Your Body’s Many Cries for Water’ by Dr F. Batmanghelidj.