Inspiring lifestyles

Water: The essence of life

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By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist.

When people come for kinesiology sessions, a first, very important check is to understand just how hydrated they are – or not as the case may be.

Kinesiology is a useful tool here as it can be used to work out if they require more liquid and if so, what the optimum amount is for them. For most, it is between seven and eight glasses, or around two litres. But do bear in mind that tea, coffee and alcohol do not count towards this quota.

When muscle testing, you can ask the body, “do you need one glass, two glasses?” etc and keep going until you get a lock on the muscle. This means that any discoveries are always tailored to the individual.

Why drink more water?

On returning for another session, people always tell me how much better they feel as a result of being hydrated properly. They feel more awake, experience fewer headaches, can think more clearly and may even start eating less as some apparent hunger pangs are, in fact, thirst signals. Many individuals also sleep better, suffer fewer aches and pains and see their complexion improve as remaining hydrated helps the body to flush out toxins.

Initially though, people often feel a little resistance to such a simple idea as drinking water. They say they do not care for the taste or they do not feel thirsty. But what I say is: “Why not try it – if only just to prove me wrong!”

For those who are unused to consuming a lot of water, it is important to increase your intake gradually, adding an extra glass each day. In this way, the cells in your body can get used to it and begin to absorb it properly.

As you start to increase the amount of liquid you consume, your thirst mechanism will become more efficient and your body might begin asking you to drink more. It is a surprising fact that, once you start to drink more water, you often start to feel more thirsty. This is because your body understands it is no longer in a drought situation and so feels able to ask for more.

After all, the human body is 75% water and 25% solid mass. Even on an average day without undertaking a lot of exercise, 2500ml of water leaves the body as urine, as air expelled from our lungs and as sweat through our skin.

If you read Patrick Holford’s brilliant book, Optimum Nutrition, he explains that our lungs are 90% water, our blood 82%, our brain 76% our muscles 75% and our bones, 25%.

As a result, if we are not taking in adequate amounts of liquid, our internal processes start to suffer – although the body does have its own drought management system to prevent dehydration and enable survival.

Woman Standing By Waterfall With Her Hands Raised
Waterfall

How to increase your water intake

I always advise clients to take a glass of water to bed with them at night and to drink it when they wake up. If you do so regularly, it will become a habit. You are at your most dehydrated first thing in the morning after sweating during the night and your body will love you for replenishing it so quickly.

Dr Batmanghelidj, who wrote a well-known book entitled ‘Your Body’s Many Cries for Water’, recommends that should you have trouble sleeping, take a glass of water and put a tiny pinch of salt (sea salt or Himalayan, if you have it) on your tongue. Do not allow it to touch the roof of your mouth, but let it dissolve in a bit of the water and swallow.

Be sure to ignore this advice if you have kidney problems or have been advised to avoid or cut down on salt though.

Once you have spent a few days getting used to the amount of water your body needs, fill a two-litre bottle up and ensure you drink this amount during the day. Stainless steel bottles are a great investment here as not only do they keep your drink nice and cold, but plastic bottles degrade over time and leach harmful plastic into the water.

If you are not keen on the taste of your local tap water though, simply fill a jug and let it stand for a while as the chlorine it contains will evaporate, leaving you with a sweeter, more palatable liquid. Restaurants always fill their well-iced water jugs ahead of time for this very reason. Alternatively, you can buy a water filter jug to remove any impurities.

During the winter months, adding lemon, mint, thyme or ginger to hot water also makes it more pleasant to consume and can easily be used as a replacement for tea and coffee. Lemon is particularly beneficial as it adds vitamin C, which is good for eliminating toxins. But cucumber is also a fantastic addition too as it is a good source of potassium, which can help lower your blood pressure.

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Does water have any side effects?

The first thing that people discover is that the more water that goes into their system, the more needs to come out. The process is similar to that seen with a dried-up pot plant.

When you first start to water it, the soil is so dry, it just runs straight through. But after a little while, it takes up some of the water and rehydrates. This means that when you water it again, it is able to soak a lot more of the water up and retain it, so the plant can benefit.

It is for this reason that it is important to increase your intake over the course of a few days. But the great thing is that, as the water leaves your body, it also takes with it waste materials and toxins that the body has no need of, thereby purifying your system.

As a rule of thumb, according to Dr Batmanghelidj, healthy urine “should, ideally, be almost colourless to light yellow. If it begins to become dark yellow or even orange in colour, you are becoming dehydrated. This means the kidneys are working extra hard to get rid of toxins in the body in very concentrated urine”.

In fact, in his book, he demonstrates his belief that all too often, “you are not sick, you are thirsty”, using thousands of real-life case histories to prove his point. He provides the science behind the intricate workings of the body and shows how we need water, among other things, to keep our joints lubricated, which reduces arthritic pain, to prevent asthma by keeping our lungs hydrated, to reduce excess body weight and eradicate dyspeptic pain. In fact, he describes water as “a revolutionary, natural way to prevent illness and restore good health”.

One of the key factors here is that drinking water is an excellent way of keeping the digestive system working effectively. If the body is well hydrated, the large intestine is not looking to prevent any excess water from leaving the body. Therefore, taking in sufficient liquid can help to reduce constipation.

So as you can see, it truly is amazing just how many benefits can be gained from such a cheap, and easy-to-obtain, commodity – who would have thought it?

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Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. She is a member of the Kinesiology Federation.

 

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Kinesiology: The science of human movement 

Healing approaches

Kinesiology: The science of human movement

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By Anita Ramsden, kinesiologist.

Kinesiology (pronounced kin-easy-ology) is sometimes known as the ‘science of human movement’ and is widely understood to mean muscle testing, with the key focus being on rebalancing an individual’s system.

Primarily used as a communications tool, this muscle-testing technique, which is based on a blend of principles from Traditional Chinese Medicine and western approaches, identifies what it is your body wants and needs.

Each person is treated holistically as all aspects of our being, whether they be physical, chemical, mental and emotional, are interrelated. If there is an imbalance in, or undue stress on, any of these systems, all of the others are affected. In other words, everything has an impact on everything else.

Each muscle group is related to an individual part of the body such as the digestive or endocrine system, nerves, organs and the like. As a result, muscle tests reveal how the body is functioning and where any imbalances lie.

The idea behind this approach is that if the body is in balance, it is better able to activate its own innate healing process. By obtaining information about any imbalances within their system, clients can also see where they would benefit from making changes in their life – on top of any adjustments made their practitioner.

If we think of life as being like a meandering stream, when all is well, the water flows beautifully and goes over or around obstacles. But occasionally a twig becomes snared and if it cannot free itself, leaves and branches can build up behind it. Before you know it, the little stream will be blocked.

In our daily lives too, a small issue can act like a twig and the situation can build up until our energy no longer flows smoothly. But kinesiology helps tug at the twig in order to release the blockage, allowing the stream to flow freely once more.

What are the origins of kinesiology?

Kinesiology was first developed by US chiropractor George Goodheart DC in 1964 when he started using muscle testing to evaluate the effectiveness of his corrective actions. Goodheart discovered that a number of techniques helped improve his ability to strengthen his patients’ muscles and, therefore, to encourage them into correct postures, reduce pain and restore wellbeing. These techniques included working with blood and energy flows, emotions, nutrition, the meridians and acupuncture points.

This knowledge was shared with other chiropractors and, in 1973, the International College of Applied Kinesiology was set up. A member of this pioneering team of applied kinesiologists, John Francis Thie, had the vision of making kinesiology accessible to everybody. His aim was to “empower people to promote and maintain health in themselves and their families”.

In the same year, Thie published a book called Touch for Health (TFH), which presented applied kinesiology techniques in such a way that the general public could understand and use them. The techniques were based on Traditional Chinese Medicine and founded on the principles of acupressureTibetan energy healing and nutrition.

A training programme was also subsequently developed as many people wanted more than simply a book to read. In 1990, Thie handed all of the work he had done on TFH to his newly-formed International Kinesiology College.

It is possible for people to either become proficient in TFH or use it as a stepping stone to other kinesiology approaches as there are now many branches of the practice.

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At whom is kinesiology aimed? 

Kinesiology is suited to pretty much everyone. The age range of my client base is currently between 18 months and 92 years. The kind of issues they suffer from include migraines, digestive problems and food intolerances, mental health issues such as anxiety and stress, emotional blockages, back and shoulder pain, chronic fatigue, hormonal issues, alopecia, skin conditions, seasonal affective disorder and adrenal exhaustion.

Kinesiology can also help people who want to develop a positive mindset, for example in relation to exams or job interviews, or to adapt to big life changes such as divorce or a change of career. But they may not always be aware of the impact these kinds of situation can have on their system.

For example, someone may come for treatment as they are suffering from a bad neck. They believe it is stiff because they have been sleeping in a strange position due to an old pillow they have been using.

But in reality, there is more to it than that. Their situation has been putting them under emotional stress, they have been experiencing digestive discomfort and their diet is currently lacking in B vitamins and iodine. As a result, their neck flexors, the group of muscles that flex and turn the head, have become weak – and a new pillow alone will not be enough to solve the problem.

Muscle testing will help to indicate what is required to alleviate the pain and stiffness. The practitioner can make “corrections” and also offer suggestions on what might benefit their client to include or exclude in their diet.

But it is also important to remember that an individual’s mental state, that is their thoughts and emotions, also affect their biochemistry and overall physical body. This means that aches and pains often have an emotional aspect.

What should clients expect from a treatment?

 Kinesiologists treat clients holistically as individuals, which means that each person’s session is unique to them. it is important that doctors have been consulted if necessary though and we strongly advise that medical help should sought if appropriate.

Each treatment is carried out fully clothed, usually lying down face up on a treatment couch. This couch can be adjusted to accommodate pregnancy, back or shoulder pain etc.

During the first appointment, it is necessary to fill in a general health questionnaire. All answers are optional but the aim of the exercise is to provide your practitioner with background information to help them build a picture of you, which includes pre-existing conditions.

This activity will also help you focus on yourself in a more holistic way. There are sometimes ‘aha’ moments as vocalising things can help you join the dots. Remember that you are a complex, intelligent being and everything in your life experience affects everything else at the physical, emotional and biochemical level.

As for the treatment itself, this will involve moving your arms and legs to test your range of motion and isolate how particular muscles are behaving. In the form of kinesiology that I practice, it is also about firmly massaging the neurolymphatic reflex points, which are mostly on the torso, front and back. I also trace the meridians and hold the acupressure points.

While each treatment is different, it can include nutritional advice, food testing, the use of flower remedies and the like.

Do clients attend treatment for a set length of time?

In order to see positive change, it is usual to attend a minimum of three treatment sessions. After the first, people usually feel more energised and positive, less sad or foggy-headed and more positive and mobile.

If they have experienced an issue for a number of years though, it can take more time to unpack their story and build up the treatment they need to help them on the journey back to wellbeing. Like an onion, it is initially about unpealing the first layers, before moving into the lower levels as blockages are cleared.

But it is also important that clients play their part too. For instance, if it emerges that eating gluten-based products is stressing your system and hindering your move back to health, it is advisable to avoid them for at least six weeks. Doing so will bring about the positive change you desire much more quickly.

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Anita Ramsden is a kinesiologist. She is emphatic about affecting positive change and her work encourages wellbeing for mind, body and soul. She is a member of the Kinesiology Federation.