Ageing as Drying Out

Ageing as Drying Out

Ageing as Drying Out


If you contemplate the yogic view of ageing, you will see that some of its claims could be based on observation.

Yogic texts describe two forces at work in the body: one cool, watery, and magnetic, and the other hot, electric, and fiery. To them, ageing is when the cool water energy is used up, and the whole being dries out.


 If we observe the process of ageing, it’s easy to see how the yogic practitioner could consider it a drying-out process whereby the first force is burned off by the inner fire.

As we age, we look more dry. Our skin dries, our bodies shrink, and we wrinkle as if we are not holding as much water. We lose flexibility in our bodies, and our cells become less magnetic in the sense of keeping repair. In our consciousness, we often dislike change or transformation. 

But could there be some truth in what the yogis teach?

As we age, our bodies undergo various physiological changes that contribute to a decrease in overall hydration levels.


 Here are several ways this occurs:


  1. Decreased Total Body Water Content

– Reduced Muscle Mass**: Muscle tissue holds a significant amount of water, and as we age, there is a natural decline in muscle mass (sarcopenia). This reduction leads to a lower total body water content.

– **Increased Fat Tissue**: Fat tissue contains less water than muscle. As the proportion of body fat increases with age, the overall body water percentage decreases.


  1. Changes in Kidney Function

– Decreased Renal Function: Aging kidneys are less efficient at concentrating urine and conserving water. This can lead to increased urine output and, consequently, greater water loss.

– Reduced Response to Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH): Older adults may have a diminished response to ADH, which helps the body retain water, leading to increased fluid loss.


  1. Thirst Perception

– Blunted Thirst Mechanism: The sensation of thirst diminishes with age, which means older adults might not feel the urge to drink as often, leading to decreased fluid intake.

– Dehydration Risk: The reduced thirst response can increase the risk of dehydration, as older adults may not drink enough fluids to meet their body’s needs.


    4. Skin Changes

– Thinner Skin: The skin becomes thinner and loses its natural barrier function, making it less effective at retaining moisture.

– Reduced Sebaceous and Sweat Gland Activity: There is a decrease in the activity of oil and sweat glands, leading to drier skin.

– **Loss of Elasticity and Collagen**: The reduction in collagen and elastin fibers in the skin contributes to dryness and a more wrinkled appearance.


    5. Medications and Medical Conditions

– Medications: Many older adults take medications that can have diuretic effects or otherwise contribute to fluid loss (e.g., antihypertensives, diuretics, and certain medications for chronic conditions).

– Medical Conditions: Conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer can affect hydration status and increase the risk of dehydration.


      6. Dietary Factors

– Reduced Nutrient Absorption: Aging can affect the gastrointestinal tract, leading to changes in the absorption of water and nutrients.

– Lower Fluid Intake: Due to changes in lifestyle, appetite, or dietary restrictions, older adults might consume less water and other hydrating foods.


  1. Physical and Environmental Factors

– Decreased Mobility: Reduced physical activity and mobility can limit access to fluids.

– Environmental Factors: Living in dry, hot climates or spending more time indoors with artificial heating can contribute to water loss through the skin and respiratory tract.


  1. Hormonal Changes

– Menopause: For women, menopause leads to a decrease in estrogen levels, which can result in drier skin and mucous membranes.

– Andropause: For men, a decline in testosterone levels may also contribute to changes in hydration status and skin dryness.


       9. Dry Joints

Decreased Activity of Synoviocytes: Synoviocytes, the cells that line the joint capsule and produce synovial fluid, tend to become less active with age. This results in a lower production of synovial fluid, which is crucial for lubricating and nourishing the joints.


Remember that Lord Shiva has the moon on his brow. Keep the inner water flowing!

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