Can a person sitting in a bath dehydrate?

05 September 2013



If one went without consuming water for three or four days but was submerged in fresh water for all that time, would you still dehydrate?



Ginny - The short answer is, no. Your skin is pretty waterproof. That's why we can go out in the rain and we don't get all soggy. Well, our clothes might, but our skin is actually pretty waterproof. Although, if you were in somewhere very, very hot, sitting in water might actually help stop you from dehydrating, just because it would keep you cool, so you'd sweat less. But you wouldn't actually be able to absorb it through your skin. Now, there's a group of researchers in Denmark who actually decided to test this, but rather than using water, they thought it would be a bit more fun to do it with vodka. So, they sat with their feet in a bath of vodka for a while and they tested their blood alcohol levels and they found that they didn't get drunk at all. So, that just shows that you're not absorbing things through your skin like that.

Chris - We did interview them on this programme, Ginny and they did say that although they didn't absorb any alcohol according to the blood test, they did all start talking very loudly and telling rather raucous jokes. So, it had a psychological effect if not a physiological one.

Ginny - Well, I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd inhaled some alcohol fumes and got drunk that way. I'd be quite interested to know though if their feet went wrinkly because we all know that our fingers and toes go wrinkly in the bath. People used to think that that was because you're absorbing water through your skin. But actually, some recent research at Newcastle suggests that it's evolved to help us grip objects when our hands are wet. They think it's actually down to your nerves because if you've got nerve damage, it doesn't happen. So, they found that people were much better at picking up marbles underwater when their hands had been in water for a while, so their fingers had gone wrinkly. So, it works a bit like the tread on tyres, but it's actually controlled by your nerves, not by you absorbing water through your skin.


If your skin is an impenetrable membrane why do hazardous substances have warnings against getting them on the skin? Can the poison absorb into your body through osmosis?

The skin is not an impenetrable barrier; rather, it's a barrier that is impenetrable to most of the insults that we encounter naturally. But substances that can, by their chemistry, design or physical capabilities, surmount that barrier will still go across. For example, oil-based and oil-soluble chemicals, like benzene, will cross the skin because they can dissolve in the membranes of the cells that comprise the barrier. An analogy is that visible light won't go through a thick curtain, but radio waves will.

Reader: "If one went without consuming water but was submerged in water, would you still dehydrate?"

Author: "The short answer is, no."

Author: *Goes on to explain why the answer is yes*

The question is whether water immersion can lead to rehydration. It's explained that this is not the case; the rest of the answer qualifies this by explaining that while you would not rehydrate you would dehydrate more slowly. Those are actually two different things.

Actually the skin is the largest organ of the body. The benefits of time told sitz baths and natural health spring, including those containing sodium are well known. Sea bathing can also help immensely. What is missing in your experiments above is the catalyst and transporter. For example, if you consider a major skin alternative health science, aromatherapy, a large proportion of essential oils contain alcohol in some format in the EO Carbon chains. These are administered to the body sometimes with stimulation and sometimes through steam or bathing. The heat and water combines to transport the oil constituents through the dermis and into blood, lymph and body systems. Salt water works in similar manner but the need and benefits of trace elements are more subtle. Heat applied again will accelerate but also cool salt water will find its way into the body systems slowly, which is critical for hydration there are a number of ways to improve this process. Your vodka drinking scientists appear to have overlooked and important detail. The absorption of the properties or the constituents of the vodka occur through the skin in natural process and breakdown. Ingestion of alcoholic liquids into the stomach, blood or anally through a dangerous enema are a completely intense and different process where sugar, enzymatic function, digestive liver kidneys undergo reactions that causes the body's systems to react. This process is where the body is into survival phase from a mass systemic invasion. Thankfully with modern science evolving, medical scientists are now starting to discover the immense interconnected consciousness at sub conscious or atomic cellular level - i.e. Our human bodies are a writhing mass on inter connected I but interdependent intelligence, not a robot that responds to controls from a brain alone. In fact, health has less to do about nutrition than society currently thinks. Eating and drinking is derived from emotional desires. Physiology is only aided by substance ingestion to incite homeostasis for the self intelligent body. Most of the work is happening beyond the ego idea of control - as we witness with reproduction.

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