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a pseudoscientific method of treating disease by the use of large quantities of water both internally and externally



the external application of water with the aim of curing or preventing disease.

The first mention of hydropathy is found in the Hindu Vedas (1500 B.C.). The ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Hebrews use fresh and mineral water for hygienic and curative purposes. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates perfected the technique of hydropathy; later hydropathy was adopted by Rome and gradually spread to other countries. The scientific formulation of hydropathy dates from the 19th century. Such Russian physicians as A. Nikitin (1825) and B. Grzhimailo (1859) studied the physiological effects of hydropathy on the organism.

Water, which is characterized by high heat capacity, heat conductivity, and convection and which easily dissolves various salts and gases, causes temperature, mechanical (the water pressure on the patient’s body), and chemical effects that stimulate nerve receptors (exteroceptors) located in the skin when it comes in contact with an organism. With the application of mineral water, volatile gaseous substances (carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and others), penetrating into the organism via the skin and respiratory tracts, stimulate nerve receptors located in the walls of vessels and interior organs (interoceptors). The major stimulus in hydropathy is temperature, and the greater the difference between the temperature of the water and the temperature of the skin the greater its effect. Hydropathic treatment is carried out in cold (below 20° C), cool (21-33° C), lukewarm (34-36° C), warm (37-39° C), and hot (40° C and higher) temperatures.

Under the influence of hydropathy, biologically active substances of the histamine type are formed in the organism. The complex of the effects of all stimuli is passed to the central nervous system and reflexively produces a complicated reaction that includes reactions of the cardiovascular, nervous, endocrine, and motor systems, as well as exchanges of temperature and substances. Complex biological, biochemical, and biophysical processes are initiated in the organism, thus making possible the normalization of the functions disrupted by disease and the completion of adaptation, training, and strengthening of the organism. A great variety of types of general (emersion of the whole body in water) and localized (soaking of hands or feet) hydropathic treatments (douche, sponging, moist wrapping, compresses, showers, baths, swimming in natural and artificial pools, enemas) permit their use in the treatment of the most varied diseases— cardiovascular, neurological, gastrointestinal, gynecological, pediatric, dermatologic, and metabolic, for example. Cold and cool treatments are used as a general means of toning-up in order to stimulate the activity of the nervous and cardiovascular systems and to increase metabolism in cases of obesity (by increasing the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates) for the purpose of training and strengthening the organism. Warm water is used to cure chronic inflammatory diseases, diseases of the locomotive apparatus, the peripheral nervous system (radiculitis, neuritis, neuralgia, plexitis), certain intoxications, and so on. Lukewarm water is used in the treatment of increased excitability of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, disorders of the vascular tone, skin pruritis, and so on. Hot water is used for disorders of individual types of exchange (by increasing the breakdown of proteins) and also for certain diseases of the kidneys.

In Japan, short hot treatments are used for training and tempering the body. The reaction of the organism to the treatment depends on the nature of the treatment, on the initial functional state of the organism, and on the mobility and equilibrium of the excitatory-inhibitory processes in the brain cortex and in the subcortical formations. Water cures cannot be applied in cases of severe inflammation, severe atherosclerosis and hypertonic disease, decompensation of the cardiovascular activity, severe disorders of the coronary circulation brought on by stroke, malignant neoplasm, certain benign tumors, hemorrhages, infectious diseases, and certain skin diseases.


Mugdusiev, I. P. Vodolechenie. Moscow, 1951.
Syroechkovskaia, M. N. Vodolechenie. Moscow, 1968. (Bibliography.)



The system of internal and external use of water in attempting to cure disease.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the Water Cure Room you are greeted by a naked man in the bath and this is accompanied by a history of how the water came to be bottled from its source.
But in an earlier interview, Evasco had described the two types of water cure that he underwent while he was in prison 33 years ago.
Hot Water Cure comes with one hot boiler complete with manifold; 25 feet of hot water temperature rated boiler hose with high-temperature quick disconnect hose ends; 25 feet of air supply hose with quick disconnect hose ends; and Type K Dual input Thermometer with thermo connectors and wire.
Initially Dr Gully prescribed the water cure for Anne Darwin at home, recommending that, if there was no improvement, she should come to him in Malvern the next spring.
In addition to felt liners, Applied Felts offers a full array of standard liners and accessories for pipes ranging from 3 to 120 inches in diameter, such as: AquaCure, for the hot water cure inversion method; AquaCure PI, for the hot water cure pull-in method; ColHose PI, used to inflate AquaCure PI during curling to form a permanent composite; AmbiCure, PVC coated for the ambient cure inversion method; and SteamCure PI, for pull in methods steam cure systems.
The Malvern water cure, however, was not simply a matter of knocking back a few pints of the stuff, but a veritable endurance test.
Published accounts mention electrocution of various body parts including the nipples and genitals, Russian roulette, pistol-whipping, water cure, strangulation, cigar burns, flatiron burns, pepper torture (chili placed on the lips and genitals).
Waterboarding can be traced back to the water cure, probably first used by the US military during the PhilippineAmerican War at the turn of the 20th century.
Where health seekers once endured the famous water cure at Malvern, home-hunters can now count on modern comfort.
The 1800s saw an explosion of water cures and homeopathy and Franz Anton Mesmer's hypnoses induced through animal magnetism, called 'mesmerism'.
Labweh is considered to be typically agricultural; its outskirts extend out to the region between Lebanon's eastern and western mountain ranges; it contains a wild field distinguished by fertility and many fountains: Fountains of Al Shallal, Assi, Dardara whose water cures the sick as some people say, Sakiyat Nabi Othman, Sakiyat Rweiss.
It begins with a pair of living saints from Puerto Rico who practiced a creole version of Spiritualism with clairvoyance and spirit mediumship, featuring one Hilario Mustelier, who landed in an asylum and eventually in court in San Juan, and Juan Manso, who also administered water cures and prayers in Havana.