KEEPING well hydrated matters to our health, of which Tom Bowen was keenly aware as he encouraged his clients to drink more water and walk more to keep the body moving.
Water is essential for our body to work efficiently, carrying minerals and nutrients to the cells and helping our natural detox systems to work efficiently. Even mild dehydration can lead to headache, fatigue, dry eyes, chapped lips and constipation with potential for more serious far-reaching effects, especially as people get older.
As a Bowen therapist, I was intrigued by some research just come to light that has reinforced the importance of fascia in the transportation of water around the body. For anyone reading this who is not familiar with the word, fascia is a fine network of connective tissue beneath the skin that plays a vital role in a Bowen treatment.
When the fascia is stressed or overworked by repetitive movement or strenuous physical activity it can result in painful joints, a stiff neck or debilitating aches and pains for which there seems no obvious cause. Poor posture can also be a factor, for anyone seated for hours at a time in one position, slumped on the sofa in front of the television or more likely hunched over a laptop or smartphone which constricts the fascia and interrupts its natural flow.
The gentle moves of Bowen therapy – or indeed reflexology – stimulate the ‘pulsing’ action of fascia, not only relieving pain and improving mobility, but helping deliver water around the body. Use of fibre-optic cameras beneath the skin has shown the fascia ‘transporting water droplets around the body like an irrigation system’. As part of my Bowen Technique training course I love to show students a video by Dr Jean-Claude Guimberteau ‘Strolling under the Skin’ which really brings this to life.
It seems keeping hydrated may not be as straightforward as simply drinking more water… it is more about making sure it gets everywhere that it is needed! Fascia is the delivery system and to keep it functioning effectively we should keep moving… take a regular break from the computer, stand up, stretch, twirl ankles and wrists and ideally enjoy a daily walk.
For us Bowen therapists, it is exciting to see how science has provided an explanation for what Tom seemed to know instinctively to be right.
Top Tip: Another way of increasing water intake is to eat more vegetables and fruit containing high levels of water. My favourites include cucumber, tomato, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower and melon.