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Hydrotherapy – How Water Saved My Life

When you’re as passionate as I am about water quality and, indeed, all things aquatic, it’s natural that some other people might wonder what motivates such an all-encompassing level of interest. It’s a valid question: why is water and its proper care such a huge deal for me?

As I’d imagine is true of many forms of intellectual and emotional obsession, mine starts with personal experience. For a couple of important reasons, my own relationship with water has, at times, transformed my life. Circumstances have led me to the water’s edge and into the water time and time again, and the aggregate impact on my life has been nearly miraculous.

In the far background are the kinds of experiences that many, if not most, people share. Ever since I was a kid, being next to water (especially the ocean in my case) was the place I found both the greatest peace and most excitement. To this day, I can simply sit next to an expanse of water and feel moved by the tranquility and beauty. Small streams and ponds or natural springs also impact my emotions in a very similar way. Not surprising, as an adult sailing is my favorite recreational activity.

Beyond the Shore

If that was all there was to it, that human attraction to water, it would probably be enough to drive my deep involvement. After all, it’s something that many of us share. We don’t have to completely understand it, but as human beings, I believe we are hardwired to appreciate bodies of water. Whether it’s the fact that our bodies are comprised mostly of water or that we gestate in a fluid matrix before we’re born or simply that we need it to survive—maybe it’s all of those things—but within those abiding mysteries resides the nascent fact of water’s profound affect upon us.

In my case, however, there’s another layer. For several years, I suffered with a litany of serious symptoms that stumped my doctors. I had pain in my heart, lungs and throughout my body. I had shortness of breath at times and a chronic lack of energy. I went through every test imaginable and was eventually given the diagnosis that I was reacting to micro-toxins from black mold in my home. It’s a common problem that impacts countless people, who like me are very sensitive to the poisons black mold produce.

Long story short, we remediated the mold in our home and I removed myself from the exposure, but I was still very, very sick. I had nowhere to turn until I found a wonderful book titled “My Water Cure” by Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian priest who was one of the forefathers of the naturopathic medicine movement. In it, he describes the “Kneipp Cure,” which is a form of hydrotherapy that involves the application of water through various methods, temperatures and pressures, all of which he claimed to have therapeutic effects.

Kneipp certainly had his critics and even though I didn’t completely understand how it all worked, I also didn’t see any harm in giving it a try. I had been working in aquatic service and construction for years at that point and thought to myself, let’s see if this H2O stuff right in front of me might help. I figured little harm could come from following his procedure, which more or less comes down to hot and cold hydrotherapy, although I’m sure his followers would call me out for that gross oversimplification.

I set up a hydrotherapy tank in my home, using my own water-treatment method, which involved high ozone treatment coupled with medium pressure UV, which produces hydroxyl radicals in the process now widely know “Advanced Oxidation.” Then, I started soaking every morning.

To be sure, I’m no doctor and, I can’t explain in any concrete terms why the soaking worked, but work it did. Within a very short time, all of my symptoms disappeared. In fact, in a matter of days I felt better than I ever had before in my entire life.

As to Why It Worked?

Maybe it was purely psychological, or perhaps there’s something to breathing water vapor, especially impeccably clean water vapor, or perhaps it’s the effects of temperature. I honestly do not know, but I am certain that when I started soaking (a ritual I named my “Daily You”), I went from miserably ill to complete revitalization. Whether or not it’s all in my head, it doesn’t really matter. Fact is, Kneipp’s water cure worked for me.

Nowadays, I still practice my Daily You and have always found it entirely enjoyable. I do it first thing in the morning, which is always a great start to the day. Because of the way I treat the water, it’s always clean and crystal clear. I never have to worry about water quality, which at the very least removes a potential obstacle to enjoying the benefits. When I go from hot to cold and back again, I get a tingling feeling that runs from my head to my toes. There’s no form of artificial stimulant that comes anywhere close to the wonderful natural high I experience every morning.

So, when I’m asked what motivates me, why I love the world of water so much, the answer is simple: I believe it probably saved my life or at the very least unquestionably improved my daily experience. I’d wager that most anyone who’s had a similarly profound experience would feel much the same way.



A blog about all things water, written by SRK's founder Steve Kenny.