The use of water for healing is as old as humankind itself. We have bathed in healing waters, drank healing water when we felt ill, used water as a vehicle to deliver healing teas and herbs, and used water at all temperatures. In fact, there is more research on the use of water for healing than there is on any single pharmaceutical agent or surgical procedure.

Water is very important for life

The science of the use of water for healing is called medical hydrology, and it is a rapidly growing field internationally. Most of this medical research is being done on mineral spring water used for either bathing or drinking. Since we are composed mainly of water, it makes sense that it would help our health if we put pure, nontoxic water into our bodies.

Since the beginning of our history, we have drunk mostly lightly mineralized waters. This type of water has the most healing benefits, as it is full of nourishing trace minerals for repair of the body and healing. Some mineral spring waters may have silica, which is important for bone remineralization, or magnesium, which can be important for bone health, blood sugar stabilization or heart health. In Europe, there are many bicarbonate mineral springs that are drunk for benefits to digestion, hypertension, heart health, diabetes and pancreatic health.

Naturally occurring mineral springs have also always been used therapeutically for bathing, even in Biblical times. The trace minerals in the water are absorbed transdermally, through the skin. Research has shown that some mineral springs are beneficial for pain from osteoarthritis, rheumatism, fibromyalgia and post-surgically. Sulfur mineral springs are used for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and fungal infections. There has even been research on the use of sulfur mineral springs for post-radiation damage, including protection of the skin and certain organ cells within the body, on both children and adults. Bicarbonate mineral springs will cause small bubbles to form on the skin and hairs of the body, looking like champagne bubbles. This increases circulation and has been shown to improve hypertension, cardiac health, blood sugar metabolism and digestion.

Water is very important for life — and even slight dehydration can cause harm to the body — so stay hydrated for health, even during the coming cooler months. Although the safety of the water supply is important for sustaining life, the quality of the water and its contents are important for optimizing health.

Les Moore holds a master’s of science in Oriental medicine and is a naturopath, medical hydrologist and licensed acupuncturist. He is director, Integrative Medicine, at Clifton Springs Hospital, Ontario County.

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