It’s no secret that staying well hydrated is essential for optimal well-being, with the recommendation of drinking at least eight glasses of water per day familiar to most.
Not only is drinking plenty of water good for our overall health, but it is particularly important when fighting illness and fatigue, and in optimizing the positive effects of spa treatments.
Of course, plain water is the first go-to, but if you’re not a big fan of drinking water, there are many healthy alternatives. Flavor-infused options are a great idea, as they are still predominantly water without any nasties.
Good hydration is essential for good health
Approximately 60% of our adult bodies are made up of water. Water is essential for almost all of the daily functions our body performs, and as we well know, we can’t survive without it.
Given how significant the role of water is in our body, it’s no surprise that staying well hydrated is key to optimal physical functioning. Drinking adequate amounts of water does far more than quench our thirst and keep dehydration itself at bay. Staying properly hydrated helps our bodies to maintain healthy blood pressure, regulate our temperature, produce fluids necessary for internal organ functions, and flush out toxins.
Not only does water help our organs to function, but it also helps to cushion them, too. In addition, water helps to keep our joints lubricated, helping to protect us from injury or other joint-related discomfort or pain. Without water, our mouth, tongue, throat, and eyes would be unable to maintain the moistness required for optimal functioning.
Drinking plenty of water also helps us to function better cognitively. Water not only cushions the brain, but helps to carry the right nutrients around the body (more than 90% of our blood is made up of water). Water also helps to keep the brain clean of toxins and aids the production of hormones and neurotransmitters vital for mood regulation, such as serotonin and dopamine. A well-hydrated brain is more likely to experience better moods, increased alertness, clearer thinking, heightened concentration, and a more relaxed state, which can all lead to improved results in whatever cognitive activities the individual is participating in. A foggy mind can be the symptom of a variety of conditions, one of which is the early signs of dehydration.
Dehydration can affect us in a variety of ways, most commonly through increased feelings of low mood, fatigue, anxiety, poor concentration, lethargy, and more. If you are waiting until you are thirsty to drink water, you are waiting too long; thirst is the body’s way of alerting us that dehydration is already starting to affect us. We lose water throughout the day, not just by urinating but through our sweat, breathing, and, sometimes, crying. It’s important to replenish those lost fluids throughout the day to maintain optimal physical and mental functioning.
Staying well hydrated is also good for our skin. Our skin is the largest organ of our body, so it makes sense that it, too, is affected negatively by dehydration. In addition, dehydrated skin is more prone to premature aging, surface dryness, and other skin conditions.
Hydration before and after a massage treatment
It’s a good idea to hydrate well both before and after a variety of spa treatments, but most importantly, before any that involve massage
If you’re no stranger to massage treatments, it’s likely that you will have had masseuses recommend that you drink plenty of water after the treatment. In fact, after the treatment, your spa therapist should offer to fetch you a glass of water, and advise you to continue hydrating once you’ve left. There are good reasons to back up this advice, but being well-hydrated before your massage is also ideal.
When muscles are well hydrated, they are softer. It’s much easier to effectively manipulate softer muscles because hydrated, soft muscles are more pliable. When you become dehydrated, so too do your muscles. Dehydrated muscles are firmer, making it that much harder for a masseuse to work on, causing them to add additional pressure that can result in you feeling more soreness afterward than needs be.
After a massage treatment (or any other spa treatment that involves detoxification or massage techniques, such as facials or wraps), it is also important to take in more water than usual.
The reason it’s important to hydrate after massage and other spa treatments is primarily because an abundance of water assists the body in efficiently flushing out toxins. Our cells, including those of the muscles, store toxins, and metabolic waste that the lymphatic system is responsible for removing from our system.
Through spa treatments and massage, muscles are manipulated, stimulating our systems and causing them to release toxins more quickly than usual. This is fantastic for the body, so long as those toxins are efficiently flushed out and not left to circulate. The release of these toxins is one of the causes of muscle soreness or low energy after a massage, and the more effectively you hydrate both before and after treatment, the better you will feel and sooner.
While hydrating well is great for our health and advantageous before and after spa treatments, it’s also worth noting that too much is not a good idea. While it will vary from person to person, the typical average suggestion is around 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. Before and after treatment, add an extra couple of glasses – and keep an eye on your urine, as pale/clear yellow indicates that you are sufficiently hydrated.