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I'm not sure the origin of this "water therapy", but I've seen various websites that claim that drinking 1.5 liters of water right when you wake up is great for your body/mind, heals all diseases, etc.

Here are some examples:

http://www.fitnesstipsforlife.com/drinking-water-first-thing-in-the-morning.html

http://www.humanityandlove.com/health_corner/Amazing_Water_Therapy.html

http://www.knowledgebase-script.com/demo/article-113.html

The "therapy" is this:

  • Drink a liter and a half of water right when you wake up
  • Don't eat anything for an hour after doing this
  • Don't eat anything before doing this
  • Don't brush your teeth before doing this

Some of these websites claim ridiculous things like curing cancer and other diseases. Other websites claim that it improves your skin. I feel like with all this support behind the idea, there must be some actual benefit.

Are there any benefits to this kind of "water therapy"? If so, what are they?

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what's supposedly the reason for not brushing your teeth for an hour after you drink that 1.5 liters of water after you wake up? :) Unless they think that people eat their toothpaste of course. –  jwenting Feb 8 '12 at 11:56
    
The main benefit that I can think of is that you are unlikely to suffer from dehydration if you do this... –  Ardesco Feb 28 '12 at 11:51
    
"I feel like with all this support behind the idea, there must be some actual benefit." First, none of that is real support (that is, evidence). Second, just because there are many unsubstantiated claims for something doesn't mean anything about it is true--it is just as likely to be entirely made up. In fact, on one of your links the author writes, "There is no scientific evidence for this". –  Chelonian Apr 20 '13 at 5:38
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1 Answer 1

It is unlikely that there are benefits for healthy individuals. On the one hand, the amount of water one should supposedly drink each morning in this therapy, would lead a person to nearly exceed their recommended daily intake, all in one go. On the other hand, the magical claims posited are already mostly shown to be myths.

This article from The Guardian explored popular claims about how much water people should drink. The article contains a neat summary of references from a review article in the British Medical Journal as well as interviews with kidney specialists and general practitioners.

About the amount of water needed per day:

According to the European Food Safety Authority, healthy adult women need two litres a day, and men around 2.5litres. We get around 20% of our water from food.

The above quote implies that as a woman, I get about 400 ml from food (men get about 500 ml), and drinking 1.5 litres would mean that I should take only 100 ml of water or other liquids apart from this morning dose. As kidneys work around the clock, it is likely that a woman would either have to be thirsty most of the day, or to exceed the recommended daily dose of water, if she were to drink 1.5l in the morning. Neither of these options are likely to be healthy. (Men would need an extra 0.5l during the day - so perhaps the 1.5l in the morning is less of an issue for them.)

About the magical outcomes of drinking more water than your body tells you to, some of which are present in your first link:

(...) Stanley Goldfarb, professor of medicine and a kidney specialist at the University of Pennsylvania (...) reviewed the scientific literature on the health benefits of drinking a lot of water, identifying the four recurrent themes that were put about by those who advocated it.

"One was that water improves your skin," he says. "We showed there was no scientific basis for that.

The second myth is that drinking water is an aid to diets and would reduce your appetite. That has been carefully studied and it doesn't. If you flavour the water, that will suppress your calorific intake during the subsequent meal, but nobody has shown that it suppresses it over 24 hours.

The third myth he looked at is that drinking water flushes more toxins out of your body. "All it does is increase the volume of your urine, but it doesn't change the material in the urine.

The last issue that people have advocated is that water can control headaches. It was not substantiated."

In sum, drinking lots of water has not been shown to lead to the health benefits that water therapy claims it should have. This research does not cover specifically drinking water in the morning, but since water therapy relies on ideas that are wrong to begin with, it is most likely not beneficial to people's health.

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water can indeed reduce or prevent headaches, but only because if you're dehydrated one of the symptoms is a rather bad headache and drinking helps alleviate and prevent dehydration :) Other than that, the claims are indeed bogus. –  jwenting Feb 8 '12 at 11:55
    
@jwenting yes i heard this too that if you do not drink enough water the body takes water from less essential areas in the body causing ache, but this seems to imply that the head is a less essential part.. seems a bit odd. :) –  Anders K Feb 8 '12 at 12:22
    
I also think dehydration causes a headache. I believe the article above, and comments of the doctors, should be understood in the context of the popular suggestion to drink 8 glasses of water per day, i.e. more than the amount that is enough. Going above this amount will not help headaches - that's what it probably means. –  Ana Feb 8 '12 at 12:29
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@AndersK the brain itself isn't drained, but the fluids surrounding it are, increasing pressure on the brain as it no longer floats freely. This is what causes the headaches. I have a tendency to forget to drink when I'm busy, I know the headaches all too well (and how drinking a liter or so of water quickly gives relief). –  jwenting Feb 8 '12 at 12:59
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If you are refering to this EFSA publication: efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/1459.htm , they define the adequate amount of water required by a default-sized person exposed to moderate environmental temperature and moderate physical activity levels. Why do you conclude that it is not healthy to drink more water? –  Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Jun 25 '13 at 12:38
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protected by Community Jun 25 '13 at 14:26

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