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Pushing Forward on Nine Toes
Pushing Forward on Nine Toes

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Alternatives:Healthcare Outside the Box

When Nature Calls

By Debbie Winn, R.N.

Many proponents consider urine to be a panacea; it is believed to cleanse the body of toxins that have already initiated a disease process or have the potential to do so

Mikel Galano wakes up in the morning just like the rest of us. When he heads to the restroom for a little relief, he does not flush. No, he's not just conserving water. Rather, he saves half a glass of urine obtained mid-stream for a morning cocktail. That's right, Galano drinks his urine with the idea that it will help prevent disease and restore his body to a natural internal balance.

Although many people connect urine therapy with religious practice, Galano views the alternative remedy from a more pragmatic point of view. He believes that the 'pill-popping' habit so prevalent in western medicine revels in ignoring our bodies. Taking anti inflammatory drugs to relieve headaches, for example, could be masking the pain rather than solving the root of the problem. Essential to alternative medicine is the premise that we are responsible for our health; remedies come from within, rather than the outside world.

"Urine therapy gives me a higher notion of myself," says Galano. "I am a self-supporting ecosystem."

Drinking it in

Contrary to popular belief, urine is not a toxic waste product; it is the excretion of materials that the body cannot use at a particular moment. 95% of urine is water. 2.5% is urea, and the remaining 2.5% is comprised of salt, minerals, hormones and enzymes. Urea is the one component of urine that can be poisonous, but only when there are large amounts in the blood. Urea is not introduced directly into the bloodstream when urine is consumed. Rather, it acts as a purifier.

Practitioners use urine therapy for illness prevention and cure, as well as for cosmetic purposes. Many proponents consider urine to be a panacea; it is believed to cleanse the body of toxins that have already initiated a disease process or have the potential to do so.

The list of uses for urine therapy is extensive, with the most popular being acne, psoriasis, allergies, HIV/AIDS, constipation, cancer, ear infections, varicose veins, toothaches, gout, asthma, stroke, depression, pneumonia, burns, bites, hypertension and obesity. But this natural elixir is not only imbibed, it is also used as a compress, douche, eye and ear drops, enema, nasal douche, shampoo and body wash.

While many traditional medications on the market today treat symptoms of illness, practitioners of urine therapy see these symptoms as valuable indicators of a disease process. The intent of urine therapy is to deal with the cause of the illness. Though there is no proven research regarding if, how and why urine therapy fights disease, there are numerous hypotheses. According to the popular auto-inoculation or self-vaccination hypotheses, urine therapy works because the body heals itself without medical interventions.

A thin yellow line

Indian yogis have been practicing urine therapy for over 5,000 years, and the practice has been a part of Japanese culture for 2,000 years. Among the Greeks and Romans, urine therapy dates back to 500 B.C. In fact, some say the Bible endorses it: "Drink waters out of thine own cistern and running waters out of thine own well" Proverbs 5: 15-17.

Coen van der Kroon, the author of The Golden Fountain: The Complete Guide to Urine Therapy and Urine Therapy A to Z, explains that people are often horrified by urine therapy due to emotional and psychological barriers. "We deal with things in our body with fear, shock and disgust."

According to Kroon, one reminder helps ease this fear. For nine months, we all float in amniotic fluid, which is comprised mostly of urine. The fetus drinks urine and later excretes it; this cycle aids in body and organ formation. From this standpoint, urine can be considered a "life-giving" product, rather than waste.

Urine therapy also served at the front lines in World War II. According to Kroon, urine was used as a disinfectant when nothing else was available in hospitals and on battle fields. At the same time, urine was used for a dysteria epidemic which killed several thousand children. According to Kroon, "all of the children who gargled with urine survived". This period sparked an explosion around urine therapy.

Kroon suggests learning more about urine therapy from a holistic medicine center. He also acknowledges that urine therapy is definitely not for everybody, and suggests "keeping it in mind if you're not open to the idea. You always have it with you and it's free."

Those with multiple allergies, diabetes or infections are not advised to try urine therapy. Urine therapy by no means cures or slows the progression of diseases such as cancer or HIV/AIDS. Rather, "urine therapy is only really effective for chronic disease if it is part of a comprehensive natural medicine program."

A half-empty glass

The fact of the matter is, no scientific research has been conducted in the United States to either support or refute the validity of urine therapy. Support in the United States has come from personal testimonies. As of yet, American physicians practicing western medicine are not supporting the use of urine therapy. Steven Lamm, M.D., clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York University warns "We seriously caution against the use of drinking urine until more data is accumulated. Instead, stick with other, shall we say, more mainstream, medical treatments."

Many adversaries of urine therapy attribute any success to a 'placebo' effect. If we want to believe it's true, we will. Even miracle cures are not necessarily attributable to urine therapy. Rather, concurrent traditional medicine practices or unexplained cures are feasibly the true benefactors.

Although urine therapy may not be officially recognized by western medicine, awareness and practice in the world at large is growing. One thing is for sure: this is indeed the ultimate in recycling.

Debbie Winn is a registered nurse and medical research associate for savvyHEALTH.com. If you have any questions or comments, contact her at debbie@savvyhealth.com

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