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Image by Patricia Prudente

Tips to prolong life

Simple adjustments to how we live can make all the difference to our longevity and how well we feel. And it begins with going barefoot, exposing yourself to the elements more, sleeping well, having cold showers, and drinking good water.

Nerve force or how to keep your nerves on their toes

1. Have cold showers or at least finish with a cold one, even if short.

Obviously, that’s easier when the weather’s warm; on a hot summer’s day there’s nothing more refreshing than a cool or cold shower — you often barely feel it. But it’s possible to work up to a cool or even cold shower for the cooler months by having cold showers in summer and then continuing them through into autumn. The body does adjust! For most of us winter will be a challenge. While it's hard-going for just about everyone to endure a cold shower in winter, it’s not so hard to have a tepid or lukewarm one(36–40°C) followed by a short cold one. This closes the pores in the skin and locks in the warmth, so when you step out of the shower you don’t feel so cold — as you do after a hot shower, when the pores are open. After a while during the winter months, you do get used to it. And when you step from the shower, you don't get a shock. You do feel warm. It is possible to slowly wean yourself from tepid to cold by lengthening the cold shower at the end of the tepid. 



  • Brings blood to the capillaries, increasing circulation throughout the body

  • Cleans the circulatory system

  • Reduces blood pressure on internal organs

  • Provides flushing for the organs and a new supply of blood

  • Strengthens the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems

  • Contracts the muscles to eliminate toxins and waste

  • Strengthens the mucous membranes, which help resist hay fever, allergies, colds, coughs


Ishnan is an old Indian term that describes the point at which the body, by its own virtue, creates the temperature it can beat off the coldness of the water. This happens when the capillaries open with the onset of the cold water. They close again during the course of the shower and it's then that all the blood rushes back to flush the organs and the glands. This process allows the glands to renew their secretions and ’’youth’’ (i.e., young glands) again returns to the body.


NOTE: Cold showers should not be taken during menstruation; past the seventh month of pregnancy; if you're underweight; suffering an eating disorder; or having just ejaculated. In these circumstances, a tepid to warm shower is recommended.


Showering is best at the end of the day. That way you’re clean before you go to bed. If you've been labouring or doing some other strenuous sweaty activity or it’s a hot day, you'll most likely want to anyway. Some argue a shower cleanses the aura that surrounds our bodies of built-up emotional energy that we pick up from interactions of all kinds with people throughout the day. While there’s no scientific proof for this, I do feel better both physically and mentally after an evening shower before bed.


2. Walk, run or jog barefoot as much as possible

Do it on the grass, in the garden, in the forest, on the beach, over rocks (smooth is best), in mud, puddles*. It keeps you grounded — in more ways than one. Getting out of shoes after a plane flight or long car/train/bus trip and walking barefoot on grass also helps ground you; it eases the effects of jet lag. Some suggest it helps with insomnia, chronic pain caused by disease and injury, exhaustion, stress, anxiety and premature ageing. And even re-establishing your circadian rhythms or natural sleeping patterns.


Our bodies carry a naturally positive charge, the Earth has a naturally negative charge. When you put your body in contact with the earth, there's a transfer of electricity from positive to negative until a state of neutrality is reached — you’re grounded! The main thing is you feel better because you’re reconnecting with the Earth’s electromagnetic energy, soaking up all those negatively-charged electrons, which is a perfect antidote to all the positively-charged electrons we swim in in front of computer and TV screens, in the midst of wi-fi, mobile devices, and in airconditioned offices and homes. Indeed, most humans these days are hardly ever grounded: we wear shoes with rubber soles that don’t conduct electricity; we live in houses that are only grounded in electrical outlets; we drive in insulated cars; we sleep in beds far removed from the earth; few of us garden and walk barefoot.


So mum was right, get out of the house and into the yard barefoot and play! Those negatively-charged electrons you pick up from the earth will also mop up all those free radicals from air pollution, heavy metals and trans fats in our food and water.

A note of caution: I don't recommend walking barefoot in cities — especially roads, gutters and footpaths — more particularly in bigger more polluted cities. The pores on our feet are the biggest in the body and will absorb all manner of gunk and goo from city streets as well as good from actual earth (grass, rocks, soil, sand). There's the potential of debris, broken glass and other sharp objects capable of cutting through skin as well. There can also be significant pollution from motor vehicles, combined with litter and bodily fluids from animals and birds as well as humans (!) that may put you at risk of infection through an exposed cut on your feet. (Mind you, we do have eyes, so perhaps our senses are heightened when barefoot in the city!) You can also walk the gunk and goo into your home; it might be wise to wash your feet before entering your home or the homes of others. Be discerning. Get out of shoes as much as possible, but be mindful of what you're walking on when not in nature. 


*Water is an excellent conductor of electrical charge; the surface water on a wet footpath or road will ground you, as will a shower — the water carries the charge away from you. Wet mud or wet grass are both excellent grounding conduits — far better than when the ground or grass is dry. Houses used to be earthed via their cold water pipes, which were metal. Nowadays, however, water pipes are plastic (PVC) and there's no earthing effect.

More on walking barefoot


3. Other ways to ground or earth yourself

Try standing under waterfalls, sitting in a rock pool or lying down on a rock platform while water runs all over you (in gentle rapids), diving through waves, being in the rain, smelling the earth after rain, walking through fog and mist, sea spray, swimming in a river or lake or the ocean.


More on earthing

Earthing and the adrenals

Earthing: Our Vital Connection

My niece, Isabella, has the right idea in a conversation with her Dad, How School Should Be. It’s on pages 2-3.


4. Skin brushing

Use a loofa or skin brush to stimulate and reinvigorate the skin, perfect before a sauna or a shower.


5. Saunas (dry, wet or infrared)

Sweat out heavy metals, to exfoliate, i.e., remove dead skin and dirt. It's more important in winter, when we don’t generally sweat as much as in summer. Three 10-12 minute sessions in dry or wet aunts, with a cool to cold shower in between, with a good 5-10 minute cool down after each is ideal once a week. And don’t forget to rehydrate slowly during the cool downs. Infrared sauna sessions can be longer, say 45-60 minutes, whilst drinking water throughout the session to keep you hydrated.



1. The best water is spring water

And from a naturally-occurring and flowing spring, if you can get it.


2. Next best is filtered water 

Filtering removes chlorine, hopefully sodium fluoride and heavy metals. I use the Vitel water filter system. Or, you could try, for example, the Wellness water filtering system; it has a central chamber of different volcanic rocks in layers through which the filtered water runs, picking up minerals along the way. However, there are plenty on the market from which to choose.


3. Another method from my days as a uni student living in the country

Fill glass flagons (green ones are especially good if you can find them these days) with tap water, cover the top lip of each flagon with a muslin or cheesecloth square fastened with a rubber band to keep out the bugs. Place in the sun. You can also chop up some wheatgrass and place it in the water at the top of the flagon; wheatgrass draws out contaminants. After a day or two in the sun, discard the wheatgrass, bring the flagons in as needed and you’ll have some pretty sweet-tasting water. The chlorine taste is long gone. I doubt it removes the sodium fluoride, if your water is fluoridated. We used to have three or four flagons going at any one time, to keep up a good supply. Even when it’s not sunny, this works thanks to the action of the wheatgrass.

4. How to take water

When were thirsty, obviously. But given many of us think we’re hungry when in fact we might be thirsty, that may not be so obvious. To test that out, have a glass of water when next you’re feeling hungry and see if it makes a difference. One measure of dehydration is how much urine we produce when we wake up. Given most of us sleep around eight hours and our kidneys process about 30ml every hour, we should pass about 240ml overnight — about a mug’s full. So, that’s our benchmark.

As to volume of water, a general recommendation is the equivalent of eight glasses a day, though it is not quite a case of eight actual glasses (1.6-2L). Fruit, especially juicy fruits such as the melons and citrus and pineapples can help meet that. Same with salads, including lettuce, which is mostly water, and cucumbers. Then there are cups of tea, especially herbal teas. (Coffee and alcohol don’t count as they are dehydrating.) That said, the ideal volume of water will vary from person to person, depending on lifestyle (particularly level of activity) and time of year. For instance, you’ll need more if you’re physically active, either in tour work or your exercise. The more often you exercise and the more intense it is, the more you’ll need. You’ll also need more in the warmer months, when we generally sweat a lot more, compared to winter. Use the morning urine volume check as your guide. The ideal colour is lemon to light yellow. If it’s dark and not quite up to the 240ml, it generally means you’re dehydrated.


Now to the how. A glass of warm water is widely regarded as the best way to start the day. Likewise, a cup of herbal tea; peppermint is a good pick-me-up and a digestive aid. Another is a half lemon squeezed in a cup of warm water. Sip it rather than gulp it down. That generally applies to any liquid. Throughout the day, drink water as the thirst arises. I recommend a cup of water before a meal, as much as half an hour before. I don’t drink during meals. I don’t feel at all thirsty. (But I don’t do hot curries loaded with chillies!) A largely raw diet (75% generally) helps. I leave at least an hour, sometimes longer after a meal before I might drink again. And I drink a few glasses before bed. Still, everyone’s different and there’s no one practice fits all. These are general observations and what I do.


Weight management

Water contains no calories. It can boost metabolism. Drinking warm water can also help with weight loss. Research shows that drinking two glasses of water (500ml) before eating a meal can make you feel fuller, reducing calorie consumption. Not only will you burn calories faster but staying hydrated can help to reduce fatigue and regulate blood sugar levels.


Muscle endurance and flexibility

Your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Drinking water helps your body absorb essential vitamins and nutrients. Water also makes up a sizeable portion of your muscle composition; staying hydrated can help you become more flexible and improve your muscle endurance.


The brain

The human brain is 80% water. Keeping hydrated aids memory and concentration and reduces brain fatigue, depression and brain fog.



Drinking water is essential to healthy kidney function, helping them filter the blood and extract wastes.


Blood circulation

Drinking water helps improve blood circulation.


Energy and mood

Drinking water can help you to feel more energetic and boost your mood.


Risk of disease

Water can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and kidney stones. It can also help to prevent muscles cramps, constipation, and headaches.


Skin and hair

Drinking water helps your skin look plump and hydrated, increases cell production and helps flush toxins away from the skin. It also hydrates your scalp, helps with the absorption of nutrients and can reduce dandruff.



Water helps regulate and improve bowel movements, improve the pH balance and help prevent stomach disorders.


There is no snapshot. There are just too many tips to summarise. You simply have to read them all!

Here’s a video on grounding or earthing you can check out. 

Information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional health care and medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without first consulting a qualified health care provider. Each person’s body is different and will react differently to various foods and herbs as well as vitamins and minerals. Use the information found on this website as precisely that: Information only.

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