Healing with Mineral Water

By Les Moore, ND, MSOM, L.Ac, Naturopathic Doctor, Licensed Acupuncturist

      With more mineral springs than any other state in the Union, New York is abundantly rich in providing healing waters. Mineral springs have been used for healing for centuries. Just about all cultures have had large traditions of healing springs, and Europe and Asia still continue with their healing tradition today. America is beginning to revive her incredible tradition of `taking the waters', and New York is on the cutting edge of reclaiming her rightful place as the leader of Spa and Resort Therapy in America.

     The use of water for healing is an art and science unto itself. Hydrotherapy is the application of water in any form, either externally or internally, in the treatment of disease and the maintenance of health. Hydropathy refers to the "water cure" which arose from the empirical tradition and professed to cure all diseases by use of water, especially cold water. Balneology or balneotherapy refers to the science of baths and their therapeutic uses. Crenology or crenotherapy is the science and use of waters from mineral springs.

      Mineral springs can be used for healing in four major ways. Bathing is the most popular form of balneotherapy, and usually involves immersion in water for up to 15-30 minutes. The medical application of mineral water such as in the form of hot or cold applications to the skin as water packs, showers, concentrated jets, or douches are other popular methods used for healing. Drinking mineral water is also very important for healing. Many mineral waters are bottled and sold today. Inhalation of the water vapors is used to help people with asthma, sinus problems, allergies, and other respiratory problems.

    While balneotherapy is one of the most important modalities that takes place at a spa or health resort, other therapies are often combined as part of a complex therapy program for both health preservation and treating disease. Often combined is massage therapy, naturopathy, physical culture, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and conventional medical care.

     Balneotherapy is indicated for chronic diseases, rehabilitation, pre and post surgical procedures, and as preventive medicine. Some of the chronic diseases that balneotherapy helps are rheumatic diseases, skin diseases, circulatory diseases (especially moderate or mild hypertension), gastrointestinal diseases, chronic mild respiratory diseases, peripheral circulatory diseases, stress-related diseases, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, chronic gynecological diseases, and. metabolic diseases (especially diabetes, obesity, and gout). For rehabilitation, balneotherapy is good for stroke recovery, spinal paralysis, treatment paralysis, treatment after cerebral surgery or orthopedic surgery, chronic rheumatic diseases, and sequelae of traffic accidents and sports-related injuries. Balneotherapy is helpful before and after surgical procedures such as hip replacements and knee surgery. Balneotherapy is also used in prevention of adult diseases, occupational diseases, and to build up physical strength and general immunity.  

Clifton Springs Sulphur Water

#1 gallon contains

Solids                                 Grains


Calcium carbonates………..9.68

Magnesium carbonates..….13.19

Sodium sulphate……………7.76

Calcium sulphate………….69.20

Magnesium sulphate……...14.48

Sodium chloride……………9.28

Calcium chloride…………..4.08

Magnesium chloride……….4.08

Organic matter……………trace



      The sulfur water at Clifton Springs assists healing in a number of ways. The hydrogen sulfide gas (which is responsible for the strong aroma emanating from the springs) is strongly antibacterial and promotes expectoration by stimulating the mucous membranes. Inhalation of the vapors of sulfur springs can help relieve problems of the nasal passages and the respiratory passages, including chronic bronchial catarrh.

     Balneotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of skin diseases. Immersion in water produces physical, mechanical, and chemical effects on chronic skin diseases. Sulfur-rich waters interact with free radicals in the deeper layers of skin, providing chemical compounds producing antifungal and antibacterial activity. This makes sulfur mineral springs effective for acne, infected leg ulcers, and fungal infections. Sulfur water also increases the proliferation of lymphocytes in the blood of patients. Science has given us a large body of evidence that mineral water can help the body heal itself of a variety of skin diseases, including dermatitis, eczema, vitiligo, psoriasis, and cellulitis. Balneotherapy is also helpful in wound healing, postoperative healing, and in the treatment of burns.

     Waters rich in sulfates are also very helpful with respiratory problems. Sulfur mineral springs relax muscular spasm in the bronchial tubes. They help regulate the muscle tone of the respiratory passages. They are antiseptic, and make it difficult for certain germs to develop. They improve the ability of cells to receive nourishment. They have a positive effect on the integrity of the rhinopharyngeal, tracheal, and bronchial structures of the body. Balneotherapy has a positive influence on the healing of a wide range of respiratory diseases, including sinusitis, chronic catarrh, adenoidal infections, laryngitis, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary sclerosis, and acute catarrahal inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.

     Although scientific journals, medical literature, and empirical knowledge from medical professionals around the world shows the effectiveness of balneotherapy on physical health for the treatment and prevention of disease, many people also use the mineral springs for mental and emotional well-being also. Using medicinal springs for wellness benefits both physically and psychologically, reducing stress and strengthening the body's overall functioning. Regular bathing in mineral springs is an important factor in preventive health care in many countries, and is quickly growing as a factor in America.

Les Moore, ND MSOM, L.Ac., Naturopathic Doctor, offering acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy as well as hydrotherapy. Dr. Moore works closely with primary care physicians and specialists to ensure an integrated health care approach. Naturopathic Doctors treat each patient by taking into account individual physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental, social and other factors. Since total health also includes spiritual health, Naturopathic Doctors encourage individuals to pursue their personal spiritual development.

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