With obesity on the rise globally, people are looking for effective and sustainable ways to lose weight. One emerging trend is water therapy – the practice of drinking more water and engaging in various water-based activities to promote weight loss.
Proponents claim that water therapy can boost metabolism, suppress appetite, and help burn calories. But does the science support these assertions? This article will examine the evidence behind using water therapy for weight loss.
What Is Water Therapy?
Water therapy refers to making a conscious effort to increase water consumption and incorporate other water-related practices into one’s lifestyle. The main components of water therapy include:
- Drinking more plain water – The basis of water therapy is increased hydration through drinking more water, ideally 8-10 glasses per day. This helps replace calories from sugary beverages with zero-calorie water.
- Exercising in water – Aquatic exercises like swimming, water aerobics, and water yoga burn calories and offer the benefits of water resistance. The buoyancy of water reduces strain on joints.
- Hydrotherapy – This includes practices like hot baths, saunas, steam rooms, and cold plunges. The alternation of hot and cold is thought to boost circulation and metabolism.
- Adding fruits, vegetables, or herbal infusions – For flavor and variety, many add cucumber, lemon, mint, or fruit to their water. Herbal teas also count towards daily water intake.
How Does Water Therapy Help With Weight Loss?
There are several mechanisms through which water therapy can potentially promote weight loss:
- Suppresses appetite – Drinking water helps fill the stomach, which can suppress appetite and reduce calorie intake. One study found that drinking 500mL of water before meals reduced calorie intake by 13% over a 12-week period.
- Raises metabolism – Some research indicates that drinking 2 liters of water per day can raise resting metabolism by up to 30%. Experts think the body has to work harder to process and heat the additional water.
- Energizes muscles – Proper hydration improves blood volume and flow to the muscles, reducing fatigue and improving endurance during exercise. This allows for longer, more effective workouts.
- Flushes toxins – Water supports detoxification by helping flush out waste and promote kidney function. Toxins can slow metabolism, so eliminating them can help with weight loss.
The collective effect of these mechanisms is that water therapy can help create a calorie deficit needed for weight loss to occur. However, outcomes depend on various factors like diet, overall activity levels, and one’s starting weight.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Water Therapy?
Water therapy is generally quite safe, especially when done in moderation. But there are some risks to be aware of:
- Water intoxication – Drinking excessive amounts of water dilutes sodium in the blood to dangerously low levels. Drink no more than 1 liter per hour.
- Slips and falls – Exercising in a pool or steam room raises the risk of falls that could cause injury. Use caution.
- Cold water risks – Plunging into cold water causes hyperventilation and blood pressure changes. Those with heart conditions should exercise caution.
- Interactions with medications – Some drugs like lithium can become toxic when too much water is consumed. Check with a doctor first.
- Hyponatremia – For those eating very low sodium diets, overhydrating can result in dangerously low sodium levels in the blood.
With some common sense precautions, these risks can be avoided by most people doing water therapy. As with any new regimen, consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions.
Research indicates that water therapy can be an effective complement to a healthy lifestyle and weight loss program. As you can see, losing weight can also be accomplished in a variety of various methods, including the use of weight loss supplements. By replacing calorie-laden beverages with water, taking aquatic exercise classes, and using hydrotherapy techniques, people may reasonably expect to see some extra pounds shed.
While no single strategy results in dramatic weight loss, the metabolic boost and appetite suppression from water therapy makes it a simple way to tip the scales in your favor. As long as people do not force excessive amounts of water, it is a safe and accessible habit to adopt for better health.
A: The general recommendation is to consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day or around 2 liters total. Spread this out over the course of your day.
A: Drinking 20-30 ounces of water about 30 minutes before meals is ideal to take advantage of water’s appetite-suppressing effects. Upon waking and between meals are other good times.
A: Cooler water between 50-70°F is absorbed more quickly by the body. However, any plain water consumed throughout the day counts towards your total, so temperature preferences are personal.
A: Yes, moderation is key. Drink no more than 1 liter per hour, and avoid exceeding 3-4 liters in a day unless under medical supervision. Excess water can cause dangerous electrolyte imbalances.
A: Plain or unflavored sparkling waters hydrate similarly to regular water, so they can count towards your daily total fluid intake. Avoid sweetened varieties with added sugars or artificial sweeteners.