From the May 2004 Idaho Observer:

The Water Cure: It really is that simple

Most Americans get up in the morning and start drinking coffee. Coffee graduates to sodas and other sugar drinks by noon. Evenings involve more sugar drinks or alcoholic beverages. We have removed ourselves so far from the natural rhythms of life that many of us seldom, if ever, drink water. Those who do drink water don't drink enough to counterbalance the dehydrating coffee, sodas and alcoholic beverages. Water is how nutrients are delivered to our cells and how waste material is removed from them. It is common sense to understand that water-starved bodies are more vulnerable to toxins and pathogens. It is, therefore, also logical to conclude that properly hydrated bodies will be more resistant to the ravages of chemicals and diseases. So, drink up.

by Richard Rieben

One of the first things we recommend when someone approaches us with a common illness or a chronic health condition is to begin drinking lots of clean, purified water. The results people consistently realize are amazing to them. Who in the modern world would ever think that most ailments are the result of dehydration?

Bob Butts believes that if people would simply drink enough water each day they could rid themselves of most ailments, including asthma, allergies, depression, cancer, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.

Butts, 65, is a devotee of what proponents call the “water cure” -- outlined in a 1992 book, “Your Body's Many Cries for Water.” The author, Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, claims that degenerative diseases and other illnesses are simply the result of dehydration.

The remedy? Divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces of water a day. Abstain from caffeine. Add a half-teaspoon of sea salt to your daily diet.

Doing that, Batmanghelidj says, can prevent and cure asthma, arthritis, back pain, migraines, high blood pressure, heartburn, depression, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and a host of other illnesses.

The water cure is performing “miracle cures,” winning testimonials, and getting strong responses from listeners on mainstream talk-radio. In the past year, Butts notes that the responses have been overwhelming. Butts features a store of solid information and testimonials at

The objections from the medical establishment are mostly a conflict of interest. The water cure is so simple, cheap, sensible and straightforward, if people were to turn to this solution for their dehydration-generated illnesses, they would put a serious dent in the pharmaceutical and AMA profit-based approach to health care.

The medical doctors reproach the water cure for its lack of clinical studies (what would you suggest as a double-bind placebo for water?), yet the funding for such studies comes largely from the profit-based medical-pharmaceutical industry which is not interested in providing substantive proof of health alternatives. Such proofs would generate no profit and would, indeed, hurt their profits (and, further, threaten the scam of the conventional medical paradigm).

“The science is there,” noted Dr. Batmanghelidj in a recent radio interview. “But we don't get the correct science. We get doctored science that will lead us toward the pharmaceutical industry.”

This lack of widespread medical acceptance has slowed the public's ready acceptance of the water cure to treat illnesses and to improve their health, but the common sense awareness of the benefits of water is taking root and growing. As the testimonials of cures increase, the evidence of success becomes increasingly undeniable. Increasingly, more people are willing try this simple, cheap and effective alternative when they get no satisfaction from pharmaceutical “cures.”

The water cure is proposed literally to cure the symptoms of dehydration. But it is more than that. As with many health activities, nutrition and supplements, the water cure is a “diet for life” -- a way of life to increase and sustain health, overall and perpetually. You can use it as a “cure” or as a preventative, but once the obvious benefits are realized, you can continue to enjoy good health simply by continuing to drink water. How hard can this be?

For many years, we have heard that it is healthy to drink “x” number of glasses of water per day for sound health. Medical doctors (who have a vested interest in your disease and basically, if not intentionally, put tacks in the road so they can sell you tire repairs in their little roadside shops), have suggested that the body's thirst mechanism is sufficient for answering the body's need for moisture. “Drink only when you are thirsty or you have a dry mouth, or, otherwise, when there is tangible, subjective evidence that your body needs water,” they say, not mentioning that many diseases and many body conditions (circles under the eyes, for example) are symptoms of chronic dehydration.

In addition to researching the body's use of water at the cellular level, Dr. Batmanghelidj has established a way to determine how much we need to drink, individually, based on our weight. Divide your body weight in half and drink that many ounces of water a day. This is easy to figure, and avoids the “one size fits all” x-glasses of water per day for everyone. He has also noted that we need to add a pinch of salt to the water we drink in order to balance the mineral salts that the body needs (and, specifically, to add sea salt, which is balanced for the human body's internal “ocean”).

One of the questions that arises from sensible skeptics is, “Why is it that we have come to be so dehydrated in the present time, such as to have so many diseases, illnesses and symptoms that are caused by dehydration?” We haven't stopped drinking fluids, nor have we necessarily reduced our fluid intake, so what's the story here?

Basically, we are drinking lots of beverages that are not water. And most of these fluids, such as caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, cola), soft drinks, alcohol, and even many juices upset the body's internal fluid balance. For every 8 ounces of coffee, for example, we need to take 12 ounces of water, additionally, to compensate -- to reestablish the balance. But, if we aren't taking the additional water, then our body uses its water reserves (from the joints and cells) to process the caffeine, which means that we end up with a net loss of body fluid for every cup of coffee we consume. The other “water substitutes” have a similar effect (in different ratios) of depleting or dehydrating our reserves. The more non-water fluids we consume, the more we deplete our body levels of fluid, due to the body's sustaining efforts to maintain the balance of saline water inside and outside of the cells.

The rise of most modern diseases parallels the rise of alternative beverages. This is a historical phenomenon in regard to most of our nutrition. One-hundred years ago everyone was eating simple, organic, unprocessed foods and drinking water as the staple, all-purpose beverage. We were too “poor” or technologically “deprived” to be able to do much damage to our health nutritionally -- the damaging choices, if they were there at all, were either available in limited quantities or just too expensive to indulge in excessively.

We may be taking in a similar amount of beverage fluid to what we have always done, guided by our simple thirst mechanism, but we are now consuming liquids that are not supportive of the human body, and its need for internally balanced water. Our “thirst” is satisfied by these non-water beverages, but our bodies are screaming bloody hell.

Another question that frequently comes up with people contemplating increasing their water intake (distinct from simply beverage intake) is the concern with increased urination -- both in regard to its propensity to deplete minerals and in regard to its sheer inconvenience.

When I was 12-years-old, I was taught in one of my biology classes that, for optimal health, we should drink 6 glasses of water every day. Well, I was twelve. So, I did what a 12-year-old (male) would do: At lunchtime, I proceeded to drink 6 glasses of water, straight. The rest of the afternoon, spent in classes, was an agony of having to “tie it in a knot,” repeatedly.

As an adult, I have more control over when I can go to the toilet (without having to raise my hand and get permission), but, still, I wince whenever I recall that “experiment.” I don't want my body making such unequivocal and perpetual demands upon my time.

When I revisited the “water cure” many years later, it was with some trepidation. What I was told, and what I found to be true (with great relief) is that, first of all, common sense will tell you that you don't drink three quarts of water all at once and get in your daily quota of water in one shot. Second, during the first week, your urination frequency will increase as the body and bladder adjust to what appears (at first) to be a temporary increase in fluid intake.

But then two things happen. One is that, when you cut out or cut down on the alternative beverages, the body is no longer wasting fluid processing the caffeine and other toxins. The second, and primary event is that the bladder and the body's flushing and replenishing system adjust to the regular intake, such that urination is less frequent and less urgent. Indeed, the affect of rehydrating the body increases the health of all systems, including the water management system, such that problems with bladder control, incontinence, “small bladder,” “shy bladder,” and so forth, become things of the past.

Dr. Batmanghelidj stresses the fundamental that our bodies need water -- much more than we have become accustomed to taking -- and, in his water cure, he supplements this basic advocacy with recommendations of adding salt to the water, of drinking orange juice, of practicing generally sound nutrition (healthy unprocessed foods), and generally using common sense to guide our personal responsibility for our individual health. But the main thing, the main point, the thrust of this simple solution is: drink more water (no substitutes).

Types of water

In previous issues of The Idaho Observer, we have published articles specifically on the quality of the water we drink -- avoid city tap water (chlorination, fluoridation, pesticides), test your well water, filter your water -- all of which are important points, especially in an age when water quality is deteriorating.

Another related water supplementation issue that we have covered in past issues of The Idaho Observer, is the addition of hydrogen peroxide to our drinking water to help oxygenate our bodies.

The options for our health are manyfold. Most are simple common sense, that, due to our increasingly technological options (consumer choices), we have lost sight of. Things as simple as eating unprocessed foods and drinking water -- lots of it.

The Idaho Observer
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Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869
Phone: 208-255-2307