“The Healing Power of Water”

“The Healing Power of Water”

Quick journal reflections about using water as a mental health intervention.

Water is my favorite healing property. Floating, swimming underwater, shower meditation – these are all activities that uplift my emotional and physical well-being.  I must acknowledge that it is definitely a privilege to have drinkable/usable water, access to hot water for a bath or shower, live near a beach or natural body of water, and to have the ability to swim. 

            Throughout history and myriad religious rituals, water has played a role in the cleansing and purifying and renewal of souls; and, the sacredness of it has also been glorified. For example, baptism in Catholicism, reverence to the Zamzam Well in Islam, River Ganges in Hinduism, and deities of life, fertility and beauty such as the Yoruba-based goddess, Oshun. Water is a source of life, so for my positive psychology interventions, I practiced different ways to engage with water as an aid to increase emotional health.

July 13, 2019 | 7:15am

            At least once a week – usually Saturday mornings – I go to the park to run/walk for up to an hour. There is a natural ravine on one trail that I often travel down and I can’t help but to stop and listen to the variations of trickling and rushing of water along the basin. I had been running in 6-minute intervals – run 6, rest 2. I had needed to move my body and be surrounded by nature because my well-being was wavering and I needed a good way to release the built-up tensions. After 40 minutes, I needed to calm down and rest. I was passing this stream of water and sat down on a nearby boulder to catch my breath. I closed my eyes and began deep breathing focusing in on the sound of the water. As I meditated, my heart rate slowed down, I felt a sense of oneness with the environment around me, and I also felt small compared to the existence of all that is. 

June 23, 2019 | 4:45pm & July 23, 2019 | 5:30pm

(Drinkable) Water is becoming a commodity, a limited resource; yet, it is vital for us to sustain life and consciousness. One reason that I follow moon cycles is because the moon can affect ocean tides – we are roughly 60% water. If everything is energy, is there a possibility that we are also affected by the energetic shifts of the moon? I exercise, love drinking wine, and live in a hot, humid environment. To function healthily, I need to replenish and hydrate my body. Mindful eating includes all intake, not just food, but liquids as well. I started drinking flavored water when I began trying to cut out sodas and non-organic/natural juices. With time, I started searching for the health benefits of the different ingredients and their combinations. The first blend was raspberry and cucumber, and the second was lemon and fresh mint leaves that I picked from a community garden. After drinking, on average, 8-10 glasses of water a day, I would always feel refreshed, my skin started clearing up again and my digestion improved.

July 27, 2019 | 6:30pm

            On this particular Saturday, I was overcome with a weight of tumultuous emotions. I knew that because we were ending a Mercury Retrograde and preparing for a new moon, specifically a Black Moon, my feelings would be a little out of whack. Over the past few months, tensions were bubbling – I was experiencing new situations, especially at work –  and finding ways to work through them, reflecting on my values, mission and observations, and tuning in to my past relationship patterns. I am stepping into a new energetic space, and on this day, I could no longer suppress or ignore the impending moment of truth – You are here, now what? I enjoy change and welcome it with open arms. One of my biggest fears is becoming complacent and settling, ceasing to continue evolving. It is a painful, but irreplaceably rewarding process. I have imaginative goals, I have grown exponentially over the past 4 or so years, and the manifestations continue to materialize. The real “beginning” of everything I have worked for and dreamed of seems within grasp; yet, it will require me to continue making drastic changes, to truly let go of some attachments – behaviors, people, ideas about myself. I needed to cry, but I wanted a “good” reason for the tears. I can deal with and enjoy where I am at right now; this could work for me, sure; But is it serving me and my highest Self? There was no more waiting – I had to turn within and find peace and clarity. I used white sage around my apartment and did a seated meditation – relaxing instrumentals playing, the appropriate crystals and candles lit by my side. Afterwards, I felt the need to be cleansed by water, to wash away the old and be healed by the excitement of the present. 

            I ran a hot bath – almost scorching hot – and added Epsom salt, lavender oil, red rose petals and an herbal bath blend called “Open Roads” that the local botanica had put together for me. I meditated with several crystals: amethyst, sodalite, aventurine, citrine, tiger eye, black obsidian and pyrite. I lit a cream, yellow, and green candle. I completely submersed my body under the water, splashed my face and massaged the tension out of my jaw; my muscles eased and I felt more weightless in the water. I meditated for a while, and when I felt I was clear of some of the negative/challenging emotions, I got out – I did not want to sit amongst the energy I had just cleansed myself of. After about 25 o 30 minutes of intentional “me-time,” I felt more renewed, grounded and capable. 

Clinical Applications

A Mechanicsburg, PA therapy center has utilized water therapy because “water provides physical properties that can help ease the rehabilitation process where land-based programs have proven inadequate for conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, joint replacements, ACL reconstruction, as well as neurological disorders” (Harris, p.22). Biological changes occur when an individual is in water because of the physical properties of water, such as: viscosity, thermodynamics and buoyancy. This creates a sense of unweighting or weightlessness. If you feel emotionally heavy, you can, in a sense, trick your brain into experiencing a physically lighter existence.

Water is energy and because it fills our bodies, it can be used for healing; Sometimes our internal physiology needs assistance in being charged and activated (Desy, 2019). We can bless and set intentions with water. Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist, researched and provided evidence that human thoughts, words and sounds (music) can affect and transform the molecular structure of water. Evolved emotions such as love, benevolence and compassion result in aesthetically pleasing formations; while fearful and lower vibrational feelings produced structures that were disconnected and disfigured (Durkin, 2017). 

Clinicians can keep various flavored waters in their office space and encourage the gradual intake of the substance throughout the session, or introduce shower meditation as a coping mechanism/intervention. It is an assumption that all clients will have access to a hot shower every day, but if possible, this act that can take 5 minutes each day facilitates well-being and intentional, devotional self-care time. Referrals to water therapy sessions or aqua-aerobics classes can also create healthier, beneficial habits for the client. We can also suggest the use of apps or music stations (on Pandora, Spotify, etc.) that have water (relaxation) sounds available to listen to. 

Utilizing water for emotional healing can be introduced to a client in extraordinarily subtle ways. It’s cleansing properties and powers, to me, are undeniable and offer a holistic pathway to positive cognitive reconstruction. Through consumption, it also tends to the body/physical well-being component of the mind-body-soul connection. It would be interesting to see more research that explores the scientific process through which water, as a psychological intervention, can have positive outcomes for clients.

References

Desy, P. L. (2019, May 09). Spiritual Meanings of Water. Retrieved from

https://www.learnreligions.com/water-as-a-spiritual-element-1732492

Durkin, P. (2019, June 10). Dr. Masaru Emoto and Water Consciousness. Retrieved from

Harris, R., & Dominguez, J. (2019). The Healing Environment of Water: A growing outpatient clientele embraces the weightlessness, warmth, and gentle resistance of aquatic therapy and wellness. Physical Therapy Products30(1), 22–25. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com

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