Tuesday, July 19, 2005
The truth about water
I've had a few -- ok, one question -- about the Italian's 4-hour bathing rule. It requires some explanation. I warn you: it is sound biology, but taken to an Italian extreme.
But first, 4 hours is like the high end of the national standard. Apparently, as you travel north, presumably where more reckless Italians bathe, 3 and even 2.5 hours is sufficient.
Anyhow, here goes: Blood concentrates in the stomach during digestion as the muscles go to work to break down the food. No argument there. This, my friends, is when you are most vulnerable. Because the blood leaves other parts of your body during this biological process, one should take care to avoid shocks to the system. This would include, but is not exclusive to, cold water. A surge of cold water on say the legs during digestion has the effect of drawing more blood away from, say, the head to the lower extremities. This could lead to dizzy spells or a paralyzing stomach ache. Capite?
I believe they call this phenomenon "constriction". It was explained to me last summer when I was reprimanded for chugging ice water in the morning. I have never seen a chart, report nor any official evidence from the wider medical community that cold water is a silent killer in our midst. I have found scant references to this online though. Amici, constriction is a killer. See for yourself:
The prey asphyxiates, and the snake then begins to feed. The entire process is suprisingly rapid, with prey often succumbing as quickly as a minute after being struck.
As quickly as a minute! The sheer rapidness of one's demise, plus the fact a snake mysteriously appears to finish off the prey, is no doubt why Italians swear by it. As a result, Italian vigilance has resulted in the *lowest constriction fatality rate in the developed world.
*Unofficially of course as the World Health Organisation has been slow to warn the rest of us, a cover-up no doubt.
Posted by Bernhard Warner at 9:16 AM