Water therapy is the use of water to improve health.
According to alternative medicine advocates, one form of water therapy is the consuming of a gutful of water upon waking in order to “cleanse the bowel“. A litre to a litre and half is the common amount ingested. This water therapy, also known as Indian or Chinese Water Therapy, is claimed to have a wide range of health benefits; or at least no adverse effects. While ingesting about a litre and a half of water is usually harmless, this is approaching the level which can lead to water intoxication, an urgent and dangerous medical condition. Advocates of water therapy claim that application of water therapy at first will cause multiple bowel movements until the body adjusts to the increased amount of fluid.
Water cure (therapy)
The “water cure” was a form of therapy developed in 18th century England by a doctor named Richard Russell. It generally consisted of varieties of water-related treatment – bathing in seawater, the drinking of sea water, and activities reminiscent of modern day spas. It became especially popular during the 19th century where health spas devoted to the “cure” were well-known medical institutions for the upper-class, especially those with malingering or persistent illness.
One of the first water cures was in Brighton. Charles Darwin famously retreated to a water cure in Malvern, where he treated his (possibly psychosomatic) recurring illness and socialized with upper-class English women. Henry Wirz, the only Confederate soldier executed in the aftermath of the American Civil War for war crimes, was a self-taught water-cure specialist.