Your daily news portal

Posted by portugalpress on September 27, 2018

Can water alone help us stay healthy? Can it be a medical medium that can strengthen the body and ward off sickness? Father Sebastian Kneipp, a German priest living in the mid-18th century, seemed to think so. And, sure enough, his ‘water cure’ became a successful treatment approach that is still appreciated and used by many today.

Sebastian Kneipp was born in 1821. He grew up in rather poor conditions and in 1849 contracted pulmonary tuberculosis. The medics of his time gave him little hope of recuperation and assured him a near death. Yet, he sought relief and recovery outside of the contemporary medical sphere, and a book by Dr. Johann Siegmund Hahn introduced him to the healing properties of water.

Kneipp began applying water as a treatment and gradually began improving, and eventually made a full recovery. This experience marked the birth of ‘Kneippism’, ‘water cure’ or what is often referred to as ‘Kneipp hydrotherapy’.

The ‘water cure’ describes the application of cold water for short intervals, in the form of full body baths, rinses, limb immersions, or wet packs and compresses to cool the body or parts. These areas are then left undried until they have reinvigorated and regained their natural warmth before the procedure is repeated.

Kneipp was convinced that such alternations of warm and cold could restore health in the sick; and his many treatment successes that he later could report following treatment of patients seemed to confirm his belief.

A common example of the application of Kneippism is water-stepping. This is a walk-through cold-water technique whereby each leg is alternately lifted out of the water with each new step. As such, it regains some warmth before it is reimmersed into the cold water with the next step. Particularly when it’s hot, this exerts a generally invigorating effect on the body and is indicated for circulatory problems and headaches. This can easily be done at home by stepping in and out of a bucket filled with cold water.

Another application of the ‘water cure’ is an alternate arm-bath. This can regulate high blood pressure and can ease angina pectoris. A sink filled with cold water allows the immersion of the lower arms by bending them at the elbows. After 15 seconds, the arms can be lifted from the cold water, left to re-warm for 15 seconds before being reimmersed. This is repeated for five minutes.

There are numerous applications and methods to conduct the ‘water-cure’ and, according to Kneipp, they help at restoring the harmony of the body, mind and soul. However, for Kneipp, not only water treatments were essential to recuperate and fight disease, he also propagated the use of balanced nutrition, exercise, a poised and calm lifestyle, and the use of herbal medicinal plants.

Kneippism today is probably most prominently used in Germany. Even the German healthcare system uses ‘Kneippism’ as a preventative, cost-effective approach to illness. In 2015, the German UNESCO commission declared ‘Kneippism’ as an intangible cultural heritage for its ability to stabilise and reestablish a state of health.

Kneippism is an easy, simple method that can readily be applied at home. It has never been more convenient to strengthen your body by prepping it for seasonal, or other, attacks on the immune system. Why not start now ahead of the winter months?

By Uta Mittelstadt

Uta Mittelstadt, BSc & MSc Homeopathic Medicine – University of Central Lancashire, U.K.
Clever Homeopathy / Clever H.-the Mag!
Treatments in the Algarve:
in the course of 2018