1st review: The Known Benefits of CO2 Mineral Baths Since the 19th Century.
Maybe at the beginning of this blog series, I should make something clear. All I will discuss is the information passed onto me, which I built on during the last 20 years or so with more research and development activities involving multiple continents. Great researchers and pioneers before I was even born gathered most of the information for us to work with. Just like József Török did before he passed the first ideas about CO2 therapy onto me in the summer of 1993, I believe. Since then, I've learned enough about the subject to earn myself and the people I'm working with multiple international utility and design patents dating back to the 1980s to reicent one just few years ago in the field of non-invasive transdermal pharmaceutical gas delivery technology and treatment methods.
Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest, Hungary (since 1913).
Photo by Tibor Salamon
Since ancient times, physicians to kings and queens have repeatedly observed the positive health effects of using carbonated mineral springs (natural springs) as a preventive and general medical therapy for many chronic cardiovascular and inflammatory conditions. Hence all these beautiful bath houses around them (i.e. Fig. 1. from Budapest, Hungary). Most people today may know about them by the term "Roman Baths," and scientific papers published since the 19th century mention them as CO2 or carbonated water therapies or balneotherapy.
Balneotherapy refers to Balneology, the science of baths or bathing, especially the study of the therapeutic use of mineral baths. The word Balnéo is a French word that means vortex, whirlpool, swirl, whirl, which also relates to the natural behavior of water. The early natural springs are all water-based medical therapies naturally mixed with minerals and gases (mostly CO2) swirls from deep underground (Fig. 2.) into natural and man-made polls hence the name CO2 Balneotherapy. CO2 baths are usually built by earlier cultures around mountain areas where underground volcanic activity is present and as a result, minerals and CO2 are naturally mixing into the spring waters cascading in a vortex from underground into these originally natural and later hand-built water tubs.
Carbonated and mineral water therapies have been used for centuries by Eastern cultures ranging from Japanese and Chinese bathhouses to Europeans like Germans, Hungarians, the English, and many other European cultures-built bathhouses (Fig. 1. and 2.), all the way to the North American natives in Ojai, California, or Hot Springs, Arkansas, where European settlers assisted native Americans in building the first bathhouses, and elsewhere. Since the late 20th century, CO2 therapy has been fast becoming more solidly grounded in the natural sciences, particularly concerning its use in treating cardiac and peripheral vascular disorders. No natural remedy can make use of such a broad and diverse base of knowledge as carbon dioxide and other mineral and gas treatments.
Rudas Bath House in Budapest, Hungary (photo by Tibor Salamon)
Anna Thermal Bath, Szeged, Hungary (photo by Tibor Salamon)
Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest, Hungary (since 1913).Photo by Tibor Salamon
Why CO2 therapy works in these therapeutic environments is simple. Water temperature in CO2 and other water-based mineral baths is usually around 75-105°F (24-40°C). Early experiments showed the ideal environmental temperature for the skin to absorb CO2 starts to be effective around the same ranges (K.L. Schmidt, Fig 5.).
Images and data from K.L. Schmidt. Carbon Dioxide Bath (Carbon Dioxide Spring).
At that temperature, with the minimum CO2 concentration in the water being around 600ppm, CO2 clings to the wet skin surface (K.L. Schmidt,Fig. 6.) and the above-mentioned natural skin absorption of CO2 takes place with the general resultsas described in one of the earliest research publications by K.L. Schmidt, Fig. 7.
Before new inventions and practical applications started developing in the late 20th century, the only naturally occurring carbon dioxide springs (CO2 treatment) were the only way to access such effective treatment. Since natural springs are restricted to specific geographic areas, they are costly, and because patients sit in the same pool of water with others who may have various illnesses, the applicability of such effective natural therapy had to be improved to make this proven effective treatment into modern medical practice.
In the late 20th Century, some improvements occurred but those improvements were still restricted in many ways and still did not allow the widespread application of CO2 therapy.
Maybe another time it would be a good idea to review some of the improvements of CO2 therapy since the late 20th Century and how such early improvements inspired research scientists and technology innovators to dive more into this field again.
Early Books and Publication:
- L. Schmidt “Carbon Dioxide Bath (Carbon Dioxide Spring)”. Center for Clinical Research in Rheumatology, Physical Medicine and Balneotherapy; Bad Nauheim, Germany.
- JAMES K. CROOK, A.M., M.D., (1899). The Mineral Waters of The United States and Their Therapeutic Uses: LEA BROTHERS & CO., NEW YORK AND PHILADELPHIA.http://data.nbmg.unr.edu/public/Geothermal/GreyLiterature/Crook_MineralWtrTherapeuticUses_1899.pdf
- Adams, Jane M. (2015). Healing with water: English spas and the water cure, 1840-1960. Manchester University Press. University Press online: January 2016, https://www.universitypressscholarship.com/view/10.7228/manchester/9780719095696.001.0001/upso-9780719095696
- Weber, Herman, Weber, F. Parkes. (2018).The Mineral Waters and Health Resorts of Europe: Treatment of Chronic Diseases by Spas and Climate (reprint). Forgotten Books, https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/TheMineralWatersandHealthResortsofEurope_10306987
- Weber, Herman, Weber, F. Parkes. (2019). The Spas and Mineral Waters of Europe: With Notes on Balneo-Therapeutic Management in Various Diseases and Morbid Conditions(reprint). Forgotten Books, https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/TheSpasandMineralWatersofEurope_10308694
- Sutro, Sigismund. (2019). Lectures on the German Mineral Waters, and on Their Rational Employment for the Cure of Certain Chronic Diseases (Reprint). Forgotten Books,https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/LecturesontheGermanMineralWatersandonTheirRationalEmploymentfortheCureofCertainC_10870646
- Hatton, John. (2018).The Hot Springs of Bath: Medical Handbook (reprint). Forgotten Books, https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/TheHotSpringsofBath_10134505
- Mitchell, C. Ainsworth. (2018). Mineral and Aerated Waters(reprint). Forgotten Books, https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/MineralandAeratedWaters_10107466
- Anderson, Winslow. (2018).Mineral Springs and Health Resorts of California:With a Complete Chemical Analysis of Every Important Mineral Water in the World, illustrated a Prize Essay Annual Prize of the Medical Society of the State of California, Awarded April 20, 1889 (reprint). Forgotten Books, https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/MineralSpringsandHealthResortsofCalifornia_10104237
- Lee, Edwin. (2018). An Account of the Most Frequented Watering Places on the Continent, and of the Medicinal Application of Their Mineral Springs: With Tables of ... on English Mineral Waters (reprint). Forgotten Books.https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/AnAccountoftheMostFrequentedWateringPlacesontheContinentandoftheMedicinalApplica_10761642
- Dawson, C. C. (2017). Saratoga: Its Mineral Waters: And Their Use in Preventing and Eradicating Disease, and as a Refreshing Beverage (reprint). Forgotten Books,https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/SaratogaItsMineralWaters_10279687
- Hatton,John. (2018).The Hot Springs of Bath: Medical Handbook (reprint). Forgotten Books,https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en/books/TheHotSpringsofBath_10134505