This remarkable water therapy originates from ancient Ayurvedic medicine. The Sages of India termed this therapy, Usha Paana Chikitsa, which from the Sanskrit, roughly translates to, “early morning water treatment.” It has long been known that drinking water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach purifies the body’s internal system. An especially important result of this treatment is that it cleanses the colon, which makes the body much more able to absorb nutrients from food.
More recently in the 1970’s, now famous, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, re-discovered this ancient knowledge and found through his own research, that water can naturally heal us from diseases like high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, autoimmune disorders, diabetes and migraines using what he calls: water therapy. Born in Iran in 1931, Dr. Batmanghelidj, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School of London University, where he studied under Nobel Prize winner, Sir Alexander Fleming.
He eventually returned to Iran where he was imprisoned in 1979 as a political prisoner for over 2 1/2 years at the infamous Evin Prison. While there, he discovered the healing powers of water and successfully treated 3,000 fellow inmates suffering from stress-induced peptic ulcer disease using simply water. He reported his findings in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology in June 1983 and the New York Times Science Watch, in turn, reported his discovery on June 21, 1983.
In 1982, Dr. Batmanghelidj escaped from Iran and came to America and began to research the effect of chronic unintentional dehydration on the human body and he continued to publish his groundbreaking data in 1991 and 1992.
According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, the body’s natural thirst signals are often mistaken for signs and symptoms of other illnesses. Over our lifespan, we gradually become chronically dehydrated. If we treat this root problem, we may be able to avoid unnecessary and invasive procedures and medications.
In 2018 we now have more awareness and an abundance of research to support this ancient knowledge and earlier research: Dr. Dana Cohen, a functional medicine doctor, suggests that one of the missing links in treating health problems today, is simply proper hydration and that are all living in a partially dehydrated state:
“According to Dr. Cohen, insufficient hydration may be associated with fatigue, “brain fog,” constipation, colon cancer, bladder cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other disorders. Water’s presence in cartilage and skin suggests that dehydration might also be a factor in joint discomfort and skin dryness. Unhealthy food, certain medications, artificially heated and air-conditioned environments, and more share a lot of the blame.”
Dr. Cohen expressed frustration with skeptics who might question her idea that partial dehydration might not only be responsible for these health problems but proper hydration might cure these issues: “I have pretty sick patients that come in to see me,” she replied. “Doing nothing else but hydrating them better and getting them to eat better—getting them to eat more hydrating food—changes their lives.” “I don’t get what the controversy is.”
Dr. Cohen also contends that getting better hydration is more than just drinking more water first thing in the morning (and throughout the day) as we need hydration at the cellular level–she suggests soaking chia seeds in filtered water and adding them to smoothies along with lots of greens.
The water treatment method is as follows:
1. Right after waking up in the morning, drink about (1) 8oz glass of fluoride-free water. If you’re drinking water from a faucet, chances are it’s inevitable. Other options are distilled water (make sure to add minerals back into the water, including some baking soda for alkalinity) and reverse osmosis. You must do this upon waking and on an ‘empty stomach.’
2. Do not eat or drink for 45 minutes after drinking the water. After 45 minutes has gone by, you’re free to eat and drink as you please.
3. Drink a cup of water half 1/2 hour before meals. Drink again 2 hours after each meal.
4. Feel your health start to improve.
According to the Japanese Medical Society, this treatment would take 10 days to treat constipation, 10 days to treat some gastric issues, and 30 days to treat high blood pressure.
Here are a few hard facts about the benefits of water to help motivate you to drink at least a 8oz glass first thing in the morning:
1. It jump starts up your metabolism. Drinking at least one large glass of water first thing in the morning has been shown to rev up your metabolism by a whopping 24% for 90 minutes.
2. You’re dehydrated when you wake up! After 7-8 hours of sleep, chances are, you wake up dehydrated in the morning. Drinking water helps make new muscle and blood cells and can increase the flow of oxygen, all of which are energizing.
3. Water helps your body flush out toxins. “Your kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate”, according to Kenneth Ellner, an Atlanta-based dermatologist. Getting fluids into your body right after you wake up will help your body flush out toxins first thing in the morning.” Flushing out the toxins and impurities is even easier when you add fresh lemon to your glass since lemon can increase the rate of urination, allowing for maximum enzyme function and helping to detoxify the liver.
4. Your brain tissue is 75% water. When you’re not properly hydrated, your brain operates on less fuel, and you can feel drained, or experience fatigue or mood fluctuations.
5. You’ll eat less. One study showed that people who drink a glass of water before every meal lost 4.5 pounds over a three-month period, because “it fills up the stomach with a substance that has zero calories”, and people “feel full as a result”.
6. Immunity. As cold and flu season comes around the corner, it’s vital to up your intake of water. If you tend to get sick often, you might not be drinking enough H20. Staying hydrated can maintain the health of your lymphatic system—which directly affects how your body fights off infections. Studies have also shown that lack of water in the body—dehydration—can cause increased cortisol levels, stress, and sickness.
The truth here is, that depending upon your medical background, age and how well you have cared for yourself over the years, water may not be a miracle cure for everyone. But, since we humans are mainly comprised of water (72%), it makes sense that keeping it hydrated and active, can work wonders for your health. And, it’s estimated that 75% of us are in a chronically dehydrated state. There’s tons of research out there that supports the fact that most of us live in a chronically dehydrated state and that drinking a couple of glasses of water in the morning can change our lives at the cellular level and work wonders for our body and mind. Why not make this a simple daily habit?
Editor’s note: The current nutrition guideline for proper hydration & healthy digestion is to drink HALF your weight in ounces of high-quality, clean, filtered water… adding more if you drink caffeinated beverages (which cause you to lose more water than you’re taking in — caffeine is a diuretic). Also, it’s VERY important to maintain mineral balance — adding natural mineral SALTS to your water intake (ie real salt, Himalayan salt, Celtic sea salt)… whether it’s a pinch sublingually, or 1/4 teaspoon per quart/liter. This additional information was submitted by: Janie Sagmoe with additional sources below.
An informative lecture by Dr. Batmanghelidj:
Science Watch; Doctor Finds Ulcer Remedy While In Iran Prison, June 21, 1983, New York Times
Clinical trial confirms effectiveness of simple appetite control method, Batmanghelidj F. Anticancer Res. 1987 Sep-Oct;7(5B):971-89. Pain: A need for a paradigm change, Batmanghelidj, F., J Clin Gastroenterol. 1983 Jun;5(3):203-5.
A new and natural method of treatment of peptic ulcer disease, Batmanghelidj F., J Clin Gastroenterol. 1983 Jun;5(3):203-5.
Two Liters a Day Keep the Doctor Away? Considerations on the Pathophysiology of Suboptimal Fluid Intake in the Common Population., Lang F, Guelinckx I.,Lemetais G. Melander O.,Kidney Blood Pressure Research, 2017
The Life Extension Blog, Is Hydration the Cure for What Ails You? Interview with Author of “Quench” Science of Hydration, 2018
Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, MD – author: Water: For Health, For Healing, For Life; Water Cure; You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty; Your Body’s Many Cries for Water.
Water Prescription – For Health, Vitality, Rejuvination by Christopher Vasey, N.D.
Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology (EHAP), Elaine Marieb
Tenth Edition Principles of Anatomy and Physiology (PAP), Tortora and Derrickson
Thirteenth Edition. Nutrition Therapy Institute, Biochemical Foundation of Nutrition, 2013 — Water & Hydration; Fluid & Electrolyte Balance