Saturday, April 04, 2009



Vincent Preissnitz was not the first man to use water in the cure of disease.
However he was the first man to formulate a complete system of water treatments for the alleviation of disease.
That he made the discovery of the power of water in healing and reached his conclusions independently of all other healers who preceded him there is not the slightest doubt.
Born of hard working country people at Grafenberg, Germany in upper Silesia, he lead the life of the usual country boy. Scarcely less observing than he was industrious, he observed from his vantage point as his flock grazed, a wounded doe, injured by hunters, wade into the calm back flow waters of the turbulent mountain brook. He wondered as the doe limped away and disappeared into the forest. That night he decided there must be a reason for a wounded animal to seek water to lave its wounds. Perhaps instinct was stronger than reason. He would return the next day. He did.
Sure enough, the doe returned to the eddying water at about the same time. It stood silently, without a move, and then after awhile limped to the bank and disappeared in the deep foliage of the forest once more. For two weeks the lad Vincent Preissnitz returned daily to his vantage point and watched. For two weeks the wounded stag returned and bathed its injured leg in the brook. Each day the deer walked better and finally scampered out of the water on the last day to return no more.
Before his very eyes he had seen a badly injured deer healed with cool sparkling brook water. Vincent Preissnitz never forgot that experience.
Some years later Preissnitz was injured severely hauling cord wood. Night stole upon him, as did a heavy snow storm. His team bolted through a gulch. The load slipped and his ribs were crushed.
But while he lay there he had time to reflect on what to do. A doctor was out of the question on a night like that. No help was forthcoming. Somehow he managed to get home.
No, he could not soak his injured ribs in water as the deer had done with its leg. He conceived the idea of wrapping the injured ribs with pieces of his torn shirt soaked in cold water. This relieved him. He continued to apply cold wet wrappings and in due course his ribs were free from pain and healed.
The news of his accomplishment spread. When a neighbor became injured he called for the young man who healed with water. Requests for aid became more frequent and further from home, and his experience grew apace.
He gave the matter of his discovery which had meant so much to himself and others much thought. He tried various applications with varying degrees of success. Empirically by trial and error he evolved a method or system of water treatment that brought help to thousands.
He opened a modest place where people could stay. In a matter of months it became the haven of the sick. His fame spread to every corner of the globe. He treated Prince and pauper alike. The medical big wigs of the day protested and closed his doors. To his patients, called to the center of the square, he said: "be undismayed. If they will not let me use water we shall find a cure in air."
He was persecuted and prosecuted. By trickery and scheming the medical fraternity sought to discredit him. The people who had been healed were evidence against any wrong doing he was accused of. The final gesture was the claim that the water was drugged. The State found he used only pure mountain water.
To end all persecution they decreed that no one should ever molest him. That he be permitted to heal the sick as he had been doing.

Hence forward, leading medical men of Europe sat at his feet to learn his simple practical methods.
Grafenburg, became a shrine for the ill. People traveled to it from all over the world. Some of the best records we have came from the pen of Americans who crossed the ocean to take the "cure."
One of these from an attorney in New York State reflects the simplicity of the man Preissnitz and the equal simplicity of his methods.
Preissnitz never changed modality with which he worked. He changed only the duration of treatments and developed a system to adopt them in accordance with the patient.
It is said he treated thousands yearly and amassed a sizable fortune, which was
foreign to a man of such simple tastes and wants.
So far as is known he left no writings of his own, but he speaks to us through the writings of his disciples, most prominent of whom were Joel Shew, prominent medical physician of the early 19th century, and Rausse, the famed German writer.
Though a number of excellent men took up the propagation of the work, following Shew's passing, none gave it such authority and power as did he.
The work never really died, but rather was absorbed by other systems which followed as the Kneipp and Bilz system and so on, until we find at the turn of the twentieth century an American Hydro-therapy fostered by the genius of the late John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek Sanitarium fame, and Dr. Simon Baruch, father of the friend of Presidents, Bernard Baruch who sometime back gave $1,000,000 for the study of Natural methods of healing. Unfortunately this money was placed at the disposal of a medically controlled board, and will be spent under medical supervision.
Nevertheless the water cure or hydropathy or what some are inclined to term hydrotherapy will live on as a monument to the little Shepard lad Vincent Preissnitz who rediscovered the power of water as a healing agent, nearly 200 years ago.
Since Preíssnítz's passing the town of Grafenburg has become a shrine of the basic , Nature Curists. In Grafenburg are preserved memento es of the early days of the Grafenburg water cure where despite persecution and prosecution, the practical visionary Vincent Preissnitz plied his profession and established beyond any question the efficacy of water as a healing agent.
Among the memento es is a letter from someone in America to Vincent Preissnitz bearing simply the address, Europe. So great had his fame grown throughout the civilized world.
To him we owe homage for his great discovery of the efficiency of the universal solvent.
In hovel or palace water, even as air heals and strengthens.

Source: Catalog of the “Golden Jubilee Convention" World Congress of The American Naturopathic Association Inc., 1947, New York. And Year book of the International Society of Doctors of Naturopathy Physicians 1948. Catalog & Book N° 179. Institute for the library Overcoming Mental and Physical. Professor Narváez.