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Author: James W Johnson
Title: Water Treatment at Home

“There is no such thing as a 'Cure All' but if there were it would be COLD WATER - properly applied” (Henry Lindlahr - Nature Cure pioneer).

After 46 years as a Nature Cure Practitioner I have gradually come to the realisation that many people who have tried Water treatment (Hydrotherapy) at home have failed to understand the purpose of the treatment, others have given up using it altogether, in other words they are not at home with it hence my choice of title.

We never stop learning and the exciting thing about Life and about Nature Cure is that in spite of the fact that Hydrotherapy is known to have been used by most, if not all the ancient tribes and countries in the world, there is always something new to learn and at least try to understand. It is well documented that the ancient Greeks, Romans, Russians, Chinese, Indians, Scandinavian, North American Indians and many more all used water treatment in various forms, not only for cleanliness but for other forms of treatment.

Hippocrates (460BC), who is often referred to as the 'Father of Medicine' was really the 'Father of Nature Cure', his favourite saying being, 'let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food'. Hippocrates was known to use water a lot in his treatment of illness. When the Roman Empire was at its peak, Rome had more than eight hundred public baths and people would use them, sometimes up to six times a day. Gradually they became known as 'Dens of Iniquity' and the early Christians avoided them and even refrained from regular washing. This would probably appeal to some of our youngsters today!

The modern concept of Nature Cure probably developed in the 17th and 18th Centuries with the growth of the Hydropathic Establishments in Europe, mainly started by simple people who lived close to nature and were blessed with great powers of observation, watching how animals behaved and what they did when injured or sick. Royalty, the aristocracy and many ordinary people flocked to these places, not only to partake of the waters, but also to endure the Spartan conditions that prevailed in them. All kinds of very complicated equipment were used, such as sprays coming from every direction, hip baths, sitz baths, douches, etc, which were fine whilst you were in the establishment, but what did you do when you got home, and how could you keep up the treatment?

These early pioneers of modern Hydrotherapy with their pressure gauges, and temperature controls for directing powerful jets of water on to the patient at varying pressures and temperatures, soon began to realise that our bodies have the innate ability to heal themselves, and that water was just one aspect of healing. What we eat, how we live and how we think were all recognised as being important factors in regaining and maintaining health. The water treatment ideas gradually spread to other countries, including Great Britain. Hydropathic Spas sprang up in various places such as Malvern, Bath, Buxton, Harrogate and Peebles (in Scotland) to name but a few, but the question still remained, how do patients keep up the treatment when they have returned home?

James C Thomson, founder of the Kingston Clinic in Edinburgh, on his return from America, having regained health under the supervision of Dr Henry Lindlahr, a medically trained Doctor, who turned to Natural methods of healing, opened a practice as a Nature Cure Physician in Drumsheugh Gardens Edinburgh, where I believe he had an impressive array of Hydropathic equipment,. Years later when he moved to Kingston, he discarded most of this equipment having come to the realisation that whenever apparatus of any kind is used in treatment, the patient tends to regard the machine as having curative powers.

It is the place of the practitioner to emphasise to patients that we are all responsible for our own health. As James C Thomson puts it in his excellent pamphlet - The Belfast Lecture (unfortunately now out of print), 'It is no more possible for one human being to cure another human being than it is for one person to breathe for another. Only the inherent intelligence of your own tissues can cure you, and they do it thoroughly and quickly if you foster them and leave them alone. Health is not merchandise, it cannot be passed form one having it to one not having it.’

Water in its varying forms, such as - ice, cold water, hot water and steam - can have a powerful effect on the body, particularly upon the skin, which is the largest organ in the body, and thus extremely important, Water treatment stimulates the action of the skin, which can help to reduce inflammation as well as stimulate or relieve various internal organs. When heat is applied to the skin, blood is drawn to the surface and marked reddening takes place, this is mainly because the capillaries (tiny blood vessels lying just under the skin) have become larger owing to a rise in temperature induced by the external application of the heat. If this is continued, more and more blood is drawn to the skin until it becomes congested. This potentially harmful condition is then relieved by sweating.

When cold water or ice is placed on the skin, the surface blood vessels are constricted, thus driving the blood to the deeper parts of the body. This is part of the body's defence mechanism to prevent loss of body heat. The body soon responds by sending more blood to the warm the cold area. Thus, alternate hot and cold applications can greatly improve the circulation to the part being treated.

Most people - even if they clean their homes regularly, feel that it needs a good 'SPRING CLEAN' which we call 'A HEALING CRISIS'. In other words the body is trying to throw out the rubbish (toxins) that has accumulated over a period of time. Colds, fevers, boils, sickness and diarrhoea, as well as any other form of acute illness are examples of the body's self healing efforts, and as such should not be suppressed. The eliminating organs, particularly the kidneys, lungs and skin are working overtime to restore your body to a better state of health. Anything we can do to help this eliminating process will be helpful and this is where water treatment can be beneficial.

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