Hotter? Colder? How Do You Like Your Water?

Love the girl who holds the world in a paper cup, sings the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Drink it up. Love her, and she’ll bring you luck. I don’t know about the truth of that, but I adore the image—and goodness knows I’ve served hundreds of Dixie cups full of water to happy, foggy massage clients. Why is water the beverage of choice? I’ve had clients ask me. Why not, say, lemonade or a nice refreshing cocktail before I go home and enjoy a post-massage nap?

Well, many therapists will tell clients to drink their water because it “flushes toxins.” However, I was always taught that was something of an over-simplification. My instructors explained that, when you mash on something with fragile parts (like a body made up of cells), you generally break something. And since massage also increases circulation, giving clients water just helps the body process out all the broken stuff faster so that the client’s bloodstream is clear of it sooner. As the reasoning goes, the body is made up of water to a large extent and needs it to function, so give it water. Were the body made up of citrus juice or vodka, then serving screwdrivers would get us to the same place.

I’ve had some interesting new questions, though, lately, on whether the temperature of the water makes a difference. Some clients prefer either hot or cold over the other, and some had heard that if they drank the water at room temperature, or even warmer, it would have greater health benefits and perhaps even increase metabolism.

Most of the information my research turned up was slightly more in favor of cold water. According to many Internet health and sports nutrition sources, cold water is absorbed by the stomach faster and thus can go to work quicker. The evidence on hot water seemed to be less scientifically oriented and joined more to specific diet philosophies such as Ayurveda, where the temperatures of food and water are considered extremely important. But even here, the purists seem to prefer boiled hot water over hot water from a tap, because the latter still has “impurities.” And some of the information I uncovered on Ayurvedic dieting did indeed say that hot water increased digestion and metabolism.

Personally, I go for the simple view: Drink as much water as you can, whatever its temperature. When I’m very hot, I prefer cold water. When I’m not, I prefer it room temperature because I will drink it, not sip at it and forget it’s there. And at no time do I like plain hot water, even if it promises me the metabolism of a hummingbird. Anyone have anything enlightening or interesting to add on this particular hot topic? Or does it just leave you cold? Okay, okay, no more water puns . . .

3 thoughts on “Hotter? Colder? How Do You Like Your Water?

  1. Anonymous

    I’ve always heard or believed that room temp water is most easily absorbed by the body where cold water needs to be warmed up first. So, cold water burns more calories but ambient temp water is what I’ve heard recommended. I haven’t looked for any research to support that though.

  2. Lynna Dunn

    Research and anecdotes seem to be all over the board. I had a clinical nutritionist tell me last week that cold water begins to “freeze the back of the heart muscle,” and he himself only drank water at room temp or higher. I haven’t looked up clinical confirmation of that statement yet, and I hadn’t encountered that particular view yet. But it did give me pause, not really wanting to freeze my heart muscle! Urgh.

  3. Larisa

    I like room temperature water for the same reason you do, I find it more easily drinkable. But when I have finished working out, then I like cold water.


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