Over the years, Iíve read dozens of books like this one, promising miraculous cures for every human malady from toothache to hemorrhoids using some readily available household product. Each author writes with the thrill of discovery that you, too, can clear up your acne if you simply rub your bumpy cheeks with a sliced cucumber. Iíve been promised good digestion, a healthy heart and shiny hair if I take a spoonful of fish oil every day. Did you know that yeast infections and diarrhea can be treated with yogurt? Or that dull skin and constipation go away after four days on a juice fast?
Being a fairly gullible soul, I ended up smelling like a fishy cucumber with half eaten cups of yogurt and a dozen moldering glasses of OJ sitting around my kitchen. Other than being hungry, I still had acne, dull hair and a slightly confused digestive system.
Dr. F. Batmanghelidj is a modern day John the Baptist heralding the redemptive properties of water. In his view, chronic dehydration is the bugaboo that stresses our bodies and causes disease. He believes this is because dry mouth is not the first symptom of thirst but one of the last. In fact, as people age, their ability to recognize thirst decreases. This means they drink less and age even faster. Batmanghelidj uses the example of a plum which turns into a wrinkled prune as its innards dry out. What a horrid thought! I scurried to the nearest mirror to determine that yes, prune-dom isnít far off. Time to call the plastic surgeon again.
On top of that, instead of drinking water, most people in modern societies fill their bellies with coffee, tea, milk, juice, alcohol and soda. These fluids may quench our perceived thirst (dry mouth) without providing our organs and cells with the correct proportion of salt and water to optimize function. Batmanghelidj goes to great lengths to explain the physiology of these organs and the mechanisms that make them work.
According to Batmanghelidj, the medical profession has missed the boat because it focuses on treating symptoms rather than on finding the root cause of disease. In many cases, he believes that root cause is dehydration.
The doctor first came to this conclusion when he was a political prisoner in Iran. He found himself treating other prisoners for a variety of illnesses. One night, a man doubled over with pain from ulcers was brought to him. Having nothing else available, Dr. Batmanghelidj gave the man two glasses of water. Within a few minutes, the pain eased. He saw this phenomenon over and over again during his years in prison. Upon his release and eventual immigration to the United States, he began studying the subject in earnest.
His research culminated in an earlier book, Your Bodyís Many Cries for Water. To his delight, people started changing their habits -- carrying bottles with them when they exercised, religiously drinking the recommended 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Then another well-known, highly credentialed scientist from Dartmouth published the results of his own study which stated that there was no scientific reason for people to drink unless they were thirsty. Distressed, Dr. Batmanghelidj answered the challenge -- first on the Internet, then in a published article and now expanded to book length in this volume.
Reading like the rebuttal that it is, it does make some rather exorbitant claims. Water can protect us from all of these conditions:
Since I suffer from six out of the eighteen conditions mentioned, I am somewhat skeptical of this voice crying in the wilderness -- but then, Iím skeptical of all prophets. Okay, maybe not THAT skeptical. A couple of times, I found myself laying down Batmanghelidjís book to go get extra sips of water. Of course, I did that when I read a book a couple weeks ago about two young men stranded in the desert. I also did that when I watched Titanic.
- Asthma and allergies
- High blood cholesterol
- Heart disease and stroke
- Depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Sleep disorders
- Lack of energy
- Leukemia and Lymphoma
- Attention Deficit
- Hot flashes
- Kidney stones