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Water, the essence of life Wednesday, 13 August, 2008

Posted by Farbod in Features.
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Fri, 08 Aug 2008 11:50:45 GMT
By F. Mardi, Press TV, Tehran

Did you ever think something as simple as a glass of water could perk you up? What about water for your soul?

The Holy Quran states that every living creature was created from water. All living things are dependent on water. Two-thirds of all body cell matter is made up of water which is necessary for all biological processes. Of the six nutrients, water is the most critical for growth, muscle development and health in human beings. Every space in the cells and between them is filled with water. All biochemical reactions and metabolic chains rely on water. In fact, no system in our bodies can be found that function without water.

This hectic and out-of-control world we live in, albeit full of water, is also full of stress. Depression and anxiety are dangerous mood disorders that afflict millions every day. Studies have linked depression to dehydration! It makes sense, because brain tissue consists of water. When a person is dehydrated, their cells feel it on the molecular level and communicate this to the subconscious as a threat to survival. Drinking water will help recreate a state of balance. Water alone may not cure a disorder, but it sure can help calm a person’s nerves!

According to an article titled “Physical Strategies for Fighting Depression Part II: Diet, Vocabulary and Positive Activity,” drinking more water than the body requires is one way to fight depression. The body needs a substantial amount of water to function at an optimal level. Increasing water intake has the additional effect of flushing toxins and other elements that possibly contribute to depression from your system at a faster rate. Other than drinking eight glasses of fresh water a day, being near a body of water can have a calming effect.

A study done by Nikolai A Shevchuk http://lib.bioinfo.pl/auth:Shevchuk, NA> in 2007 discusses adapting cold showers as a potential treatment for depression. According to the researcher, “exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline and to increase synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well.” Human skin is equipped with a high density of cold receptors, so a cold shower could send an overwhelming number of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which in turn could result in an anti-depressive effect. The study concludes that cold hydrotherapy can effectively relieve depressive symptoms.

On the other end of hydrotherapy, scientists suggest warm baths to remedy stress and anxiety. Hot water can actually ease the tension of a muscle. In the words of my great-grandmother, water will help ‘calm your bones down.’

The skin that covers our body has many functions. Beside protection and safety, it contains receptors for feeling pain and heat and pressure. The skin transmits signals to the brain so that we can react. If we give our skin continuous care, it can not help but to send positive signals to the brain.

There’s more. When we apply water and wash our skin, it affects us. Washing only your face can stimulate blood circulation in the entire body. We stimulate the central nervous system and all its components. Simply washing your face with water can make the body more active altogether. Rule of thumb: the more active the body is, the less depressed the person shall be.

All this aside, what about spirituality? Does water contribute to our mental and spiritual being?

Muslims come in contact with water a lot. Before every prayer, five times a day, they make wudhu, or perform ablution. “O you who believe, when you rise to pray, wash your faces and your hands as far as the elbow, wipe your heads, and your feet to the ankle. If you are polluted, cleanse yourselves… Allah does not wish to burden you, but desires to purify you (5:6)”. God gives clear instructions on how to perform this rinsing ritual. The followers of Islam have yet another ritual that has to do with water, ghusl, which is done on special occasions. Ghusl is similar to the ancient Christian ritual of baptism.

In response to a question, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi at islamonline.net discusses baptism. “The word ‘baptism’ comes from the Greek ‘baptein’ which means ‘to plunge, to immerse, or to wash.’ It was an ancient custom to wash or to make ablution. Islam has preserved this tradition in the form of ablution and ritual ghusl for the purpose of purification.”

All this washing will keep you clean obviously, but it does more than that. Physical cleanliness can lead to physical purity, taharat, which is a higher level of cleanliness. The ritual rinsing must be done for God. One silently makes the intention of becoming pure out of sincerity and obedience to Allah. There is a spiritual aspect to all the rinsing and washing that Muslims do, to cleanse your soul by focusing on God and His commands.

The literal meaning of the word ‘Islam’ is to surrender. All acts should be in the form of surrendering to God: body, mind and soul together. So on the outside we might see water splashing on their faces, but what goes on the inside depends on them. Every Friday Muslims are recommended to perform ghusl. This can be more than just a ritual bath, it can be a spiritual bath. Connect with your Creator on the inside and use His purifying blessing, water, on the outside!

The more you strengthen your spiritual bonds, the less depressed you will feel. Water is the anti-depressant of all times. Some think they should have candles in a dim room and sit on the floor when they want to connect with their inner being or with the Higher Force. While adjusting the environment will help, just think of the accessibility of water and its benefits. Drink water and have a rinse with the intention of feeling happier today! Let us know how it works out.

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Comments»

1. christian - Saturday, 23 August, 2008

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2. christian - Monday, 25 August, 2008

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