Swedish Egg

Swedish Egg

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hydration practice: For motility and emotional well-being.

After years of chronically dehydrating myself, I recently started drinking a quart of water first thing in the morning. I fill a 1QT mason jar at bedtime and chug-a-lug in the AM. 

It was hard at first but I'm starting to crave it. Sometimes I add fresh lemon juice for taste, or a slice of lime or lemon to make it pretty. Pretty counts.

Water is so important to just about every aspect of health, including motility. After all: Water flows. It’s silly to expect your bowels to operate in a regular flow pattern if they are lacking water. 

Plus, the whole job of the large intestine is to pull water (and the nutrients it contains) out of the stool prior to elimination. 

Imagine if the stool is low in water to begin with? The colon just might want to hold on to that stool for as long as possible, straining to extract every last drop.

“Hold on” is the operative phrase in the previous sentence. And it’s not just about poop. Holding on—to people, objects, feelings, the past—is common in people with C. There is a huge emotional component to constipation that needs to be addressed if motility is to improve. One way to do this, interestingly, is by drinking more water.

This was explained to me by a wise young woman named Chaya Leia Aronson. Chaya is a registered nurse, Reiki practitioner and certified practitioner/teacher of the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy. I went to see her for an abdominal massage two weeks ago (my first time ever) and again, yesterday. (Maya Abdominal Massage, by the way, is amazing. If you’ve got belly issues, I highly recommend it.)

At our initial meeting, Chaya noted from my health questionnaire that I don’t take in a lot of H2O. That’s for damn sure. For decades, it’s been no secret that “I need to drink more water.” Many of my clients are in the same boat (water, water everywhere…) and I’ve successfully counseled them on improving their hydration status. But when it came to following my own advice, not so much. 

Here’s a list of my main excuses:

•I don’t like the taste of plain water.

•I’m never thirsty.

•I don’t drink with meals because it dilutes the digestive juices.

•I’d rather drink tea.

•Herbal tea counts.

That kind of thinking kept me stuck in a chronic state of dehydration for most of my life...until something Chaya said struck a deep and resonant chord in me. She said that in her experience, she has observed that women who don’t drink enough water often are anxious, and often have a hard time allowing themselves to experience their emotions.


She also said that the choice to drink water—the very act of drinking it—is a way of nourishing yourself and, in particular, your emotional self. As a symbol (in dreams, for example) water represents feelings. The idea that drinking water equals giving yourself permission to feel your feelings, well, that’s a million dollar idea, baby. That’s a key.

How many adults with IBS-C suffered trauma of some kind in childhood, and have been stuffing or suppressing those emotions ever since? Possibly most, according to the research. (To read more about it, try: Early life risk factors that contribute to irritable bowel syndrome in adults: a systematic review.)

Anyway, sitting there in Chaya’s warmly lit office as we spoke about water and feelings, I realized that what she was saying made total sense. And I knew I was ready.

I listened carefully as she introduced the concept of Hydration Practice. Similar to yoga practice or meditation practice, hydration practice means consciously committing to nourishing yourself with water. Beautiful idea!

The goal is to drink 2 – 3 quarts of water per day. Chaya said I could start with just two (phew!) and suggested I get the first quart into me first thing in the morning, via a process she calls “front-loading”. Before tea, before food: 1QT of water. Just glug it down. And then after lunch, in the afternoon: Quart number two.

So I started. I bought a nice glass 1-liter pitcher; I bought a lemon. I bought a pretty green glass to drink out of at work. 

By now, I’ve been doing hydration practice for two weeks and the weird thing is, I really like it! At first my tummy felt uncomfortably full from the morning quart, but now, it doesn’t. My famous craving for tea is less. My dry skin looks plumper and pinker. And my motility…

Well, the motility is a work in progress. Adding two quarts of water a day has not produced an overnight miracle. But I expected a cumulative effect. 

It’s going to take some time for my formerly perma-shriveled, water-starved cells to get used to the fact that they don’t have to conserve every microscopic particle of H2O that comes their way. There’ll be more where that came from.

The drought is over. It’s a miracle.


  1. Also on the lovely Chaya's advice (and about a month of hydration) I've added Senna Leaf Tea in the evenings. Wonderful **results**!

  2. This is wonderful news - I'm very happy for you, Vorsaga!

  3. I just found your blog and I love it! Your ability to mix science, practicality, humor and intuition really resonates with me. I will be following as I'm about to test for SIBO as soon as I receive the test in the mail.
    Thank you!

    1. You're totally welcome, Carey! Good luck with the breath test and thank you for following Sexy Sibo!