Instead of ignoring or covering up your body’s needs, why not lay back and let water do the work?
Water can be incredibly healing in ways that we can easily forget while absorbed in our busy, day-to-day lives.
This is simplicity at its core. Getting back to our roots, our inner truth.
Let me take you to Thailand for a moment. Ah… yes. It’s warm and fun here, but the Land of Smiles also has it’s own set of challenges! This was my first time traveling abroad, aside from a short spring break trip to Cancun with friends in high school. After getting a job teaching English at a good Thai private school, culture shock set in and I couldn’t seem to get anything right. Clothes? Inappropriate. Lessons? Not energetic enough. The kids were so loud and I was so quiet. My colleagues were fantastic – but vastly different, of course, from the friends I left back home.
I was a total fish out of water.
At the end of most work days, what did I do each evening to deal with all the newness and inner chaos? Why, I headed straight to the nearby outdoor pool to swim laps and float on my back, decompressing from the onslaught of change. I lay buoyant and weightless… free. That pool got to know all of my secrets, fears, stresses, and triumphs. Rain or shine, it absorbed them all with such grace, supporting me.
When we’re feeling overwhelmed and fatigued, like I was, there’s often no need to look around frantically in search of a quick cure to alleviate our pain, since we don’t need to be ‘cured’ of anything; we simply need to be nurtured. And, man, can water nurture.
Feeling under the weather? Look no further than the healing properties of water. Rather than calling up the doctor or taking pills, what if we tried turning to some natural sources before reaching elsewhere? Running a hot bath, making a quenching cup of tea, or taking a dip in a pool are all naturally nurturing for our bodies and minds. Chances are we’ll feel perked up, both mentally and physically, in no time.
Here are some ideas to get us back in touch with ourselves through nature’s aqua. Even half an hour a week of one of these can be enough to meet our body and mind’s needs for some aqua therapy. We can pick some that feel right for us and commit to doing them at a pace that fits our schedules.
Swimming is such an obvious one, I know, but it really does meet so many of our bodies’ physical needs in such a gentle way. Swimming is a very low-impact sport for your joints. I’m both a runner and swimmer at heart, but it’s the former that always gives me knee and hip grief, not to mention shin splints! As soon as I start feeling creakiness in my joints, I know it’s time to take a break from pounding the pavement and recuperate in the pool. Swimming laps or doing aquafit (water aerobics) get circulation happening throughout our bodies while being gentle on our joints and muscles.
Even the good doctor agrees! “Swimming in clean water has proven to be the only exercise that utilizes every muscle in complete coordination with all parts of the brain. Therapeutically, water calms muscles, releases pain, and activates the lymphatic system and bloodstream.” If you missed the last post on being like water, you might not know who Kris Carr is, or Dr. Clement for that matter. A quick catch-up, then: Kris is an inspiring lady who beat cancer against the odds and changed her life completely and Dr. Clement is one of the doctors who writes inspiring blog posts for her site sometimes. In my own healing journey, Kris is one of the people I find myself looking to for bright ideas about healthy eats, drinks, and general motivation. She’s top-shelf in my books because she took a really challenging experience (hello, cancer…) and used it to catapult her journey to unraveling her authentic self and finding her ultimate purpose here. To trump the big-C, she made drastic changes to the way she lived and in the process became a health and lifestyle guru! Incredible. I totally recommend checking out her site for info on everything healthy and positive. I bet you’ll come away wanting to make a tall glass of green juice!
Okay, let’s get back on track talking about the value of swimming. If we’re lucky enough to live nearby freshwater, jump in! Surrounding ourselves with nature and fresh air doubles the benefit. If not, a swimming pool, especially outdoors, will certainly do the job nicely.
It isn’t even necessary to swim in order to reap the therapeutic benefits of water – just lie back and float the day away, staring at the clouds. The feeling of buoyancy can be so relaxing, bringing lightweight clarity.
Soak in the tub. Feeling stressed or physically achy? We all know that a hot bath can make all the difference. Melt away the day soaking in the tub. Throw in some Epsom salts to help tense muscles relax. Bubble it up or pour essential oils to sooth terse skin. Use the opportunity to practice gratitude for the hot water and bathtub, something not everyone has access to. When I’m traveling, I often don’t have a tub to wash away my aches and man do I miss it!
Showers are yummy self-care time. No need to bathe in the holy waters of the Mama Ganga; a strong shower spout and good exfoliating scrub will do just fine! “Cleansing our bodies of the many ounces of waste that leave through our skin each day is possibly the second most important function of water.” When we clean our bodies properly, we allow ourselves to function better in all senses. Though I have to admit that I did feel extra clean after taking a quick dip in the Ganga… but I think it was just a placebo effect!
Sauna & steam… Sweat it out, baby. There are tons of proven health benefits to saunas and steams. We need to sweat out all the toxins that build up inside us. Think of it this way – human sweat is to the body as filters are to water. Whether it’s a steam area at a local gym or spa, or a friend’s place, finding a calm space to detoxify our bodies is super helpful to feeling fresher. I could use one myself right now! After my week filled with moving to a new place, power outages and ongoing technology issues, a steam and sauna would be heaven right about now. Though I did have the luxury of having a hot shower for the first time in three months since I first arrived here in Uganda. Ah, sweet hot relief…
Sipping a hot beverage like herbal tea or some awesome Japanese matcha tea is so quenching for our mind, body, and spirit. Healthy and nurturing, matcha tea is my personal go-to for an energy boost. Your system will be functioning off the chart if you make this a daily part of your life! Making this simple vitality kick starter is easy. Hint: all you need is powder and a whisk.
As Lu Teng once said, tea is water bewitched.
Plunge into the pool, soak in the tub, exfoliate or steam away all the toxins… however we choose to incorporate water into our health rituals, we’ll no doubt reap the benefits throughout our whole selves.
On that note, I’m heading to the pool! Cloud-gazing back floats make for the best daydreams.