Water for Health, for Healing, for Life

You're Not Sick, You're Thirsty!


By F. Batmanghelidj, MD

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From the author of the self-published sensation Your Body’s Many Cries for Water comes an all new book expanding on the healing powers of water.

Asthma, allergies, arthritis, hypertension, depression, headaches,
diabetes, obesity, and MS. These are just some of the conditions and diseases that are caused by persistent dehydration. But there is a miracle solution that is readily available, all natural, and free: water. In WATER: FOR HEALTH, FOR HEALING, FOR LIFE, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj reveals how easy it is to obtain optimum health by drinking more water and supports his claims with over 20 years of clinical and scientific research. Thirsty readers will discover what they never knew, that water can actually:
  • Prevent and reverse aging
  • Cure asthma in a few days, naturally and forever
  • Eliminate pains, including heartburn, back pain, and migraine headaches
  • And much, much more.


This book is not intended as a substitute for medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in all matters relating to his or her health, and particularly in respect of any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Some of the material in this book originally appeared in Your Body's Many Cries for Water, which was first published in 1992 and updated in 1995.

Copyright © 2003 Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D.

All rights reserved.

Warner Books, Inc., Hachette Book Group, 237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Visit our Web site at www.HachetteBookGroup.com

First eBook Edition: June 2003

ISBN: 978-0-446-54937-0

The "Warner Books" name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Cover design by Brigid Pearson

Cover photo by Patrick J. LaCroix/Getty Images

Book design and text composition by L & G McRee


To medical maverick Professor Emeritus Howard Spiro, M.D., of Yale University. He was the first medical scientist to realize the merit of my clinical research and introduce it to Western medicine; he published my editorial article, "A New and Natural Method of Treatment of Peptic Ulcer Disease," in his Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology in June 1983. His interest and encouragement gave me incentive to pursue my research to this date, the product of which is the information you have in your hands.



The greatest tragedy in medical history in my opinion is the assumption that dry mouth is the only sign of the body's water needs. Based on this mistaken assumption, modern medicine has made three other confounding mistakes that have cost society dearly. Let us look at these four mistaken assumptions.

1. The whole structure of modern medicine is built on the pitifully flawed premise that dry mouth is the only sign of dehydration. This false premise is responsible for the lack of understanding about various painful health problems that result in premature death to many millions of people. They suffer because they do not know they are seriously thirsty. Modern "science-based" medicine is structured upon the simple dry mouth mistake that became established many years ago. In 1764, Albrecht von Haller, a German, first claimed dry mouth as a sign of thirst. In 1918, Walter Bradford Cannon, an English doctor, supported Haller's views; since he was an influential person, his views became fashionable and are reflected in accepted scientific literature to this day. Frenchman Moritz Schiff, however, had claimed in 1867 that thirst is a general sensation: "It is no more a local sensation than hunger." We now know that Haller and Cannon were wrong— but since theirs were the views that took root in the infrastructure of medicine, the same mistake has been passed on from one generation of medical students to another until the present day. This traditional flaw in the scientific understanding of the human body's water regulation altered the path of medicine. Schiff understood the human body better.

Actually, dry mouth is not a sign to rely on. The human body uses a different logic: To be able to chew and swallow food, and to facilitate and lubricate this function, ample saliva is produced, even if the rest of the body is short of water. In any case, water is too important to the body to signal its shortage only through the experience of a dry mouth. The human body has many other sophisticated signals to indicate when it is short of water. The body can suffer from deep dehydration without showing a dry mouth. Dehydration produces severe symptoms, even to the point of causing life-threatening crises. Modern medicine has confused these symptoms of internal, localized droughts and has identified them as different diseases. As a result, toxic medications are prescribed to treat "diseases" rather than the dehydration.

Dry mouth is one of the very last indicators of dehydration of the body. By the time dry mouth becomes an indicator of water shortage, many delicate functions of the body have been shut down and prepared for deletion. This is exactly how the aging process is established—through a loss of enzyme functions. A dehydrated body loses sophistication and versatility. One example is juvenile diabetes, in which the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are sacrificed as a result of persistent dehydration.

2. The second major mistake in the basic science of medicine is the thinking that water is a simple substance that only dissolves and circulates different things. Water is not a simple inert substance. It has two primary properties in the body. The first one is its life-sustaining properties. The other, more important, role of water is its life-giving functions. Modern medicine recognizes only the life-sustaining properties of water. That is why chronic unintentional dehydration is ultimately an unrecognized life-threatening process. You need to recognize and understand the process to save your health and your life—naturally.

3. The third serious error in medicine is the premise that the human body can regulate efficiently its water intake throughout the life span of the person. As we grow older, we lose our perception of thirst and fail to drink adequately, until the plumlike cells in vital organs become prunelike and can no longer sustain life. We need to recognize the onset of dehydration and its manifestations to prevent the irreversible stages of the process.

4. The fourth nail in the coffin of present-day medicine is the thought that any fluid can replace the water needs of the body. This is a major problem at present. Some of the manufactured beverages in common use do not function in the body like natural water. If you begin to understand the natural reason some plants manufacture caffeine, or even cocaine, you will then recognize the problem.

The information in this book is about one of the greatest of all health discoveries in the world, because it exposes an important tragedy in medical history— the erroneous assumption that the dry mouth state is the only sign of the body's water needs. Simply put, the new scientific understanding is that chronic unintentional dehydration in the human body can manifest itself in as many ways as we in medicine have invented diseases. We have created an opportunity for the drug industry to thrive, and have given birth to the current "sick-care" health system, at the expense of people's precious lives and resources. The sick-care system survives and thrives when people are continuously sick. This is exactly what is going on now.

Tragically, the medical breakthrough about dehydration as the origin of most health problems is not reaching the public through the commerce-directed health-maintenance systems in this country. If it did, it would mean the rapid extinction of these systems. Yet there is no sane reason why tens of millions in our society should be medicated when all they suffer from is dehydration.

The statements in this introductory chapter are not meant to reflect badly on the dedicated staff employed within the sick-care system, who daily render compassionate service to the unfortunate sick. They are not to be blamed for the fundamental mistakes in standard treatment protocols in medicine. The blame is directed at the medical professionals in powerful positions and the national health institutes that have the power to correct the problem, but have shown reluctance to do so.

Mainstream medicine and its fund-raising sidekicks will not of their own accord abandon pharmaceutical medicine. Why? They do not want to allow natural solutions to the health problems of society to get clearance and reach the public. This book is designed to upset this self-serving trend, which benefits only the commercial health-care systems in our advanced society, to the detriment of the people.

It is now crystal clear that the human body has many different ways of showing its general or local water needs. These manifestations of drought in the body have been assumed to be indicators of this or that disease condition. Based on this ignorance, and protected and coddled by the pharmaceutical industry, mainstream medicine has labeled the different complications of dehydration as various "diseases." On the basis of this erroneous assumption, the trusting American public has to pay ever-increasing health-care costs with their health and hard-earned money.

We must understand that persistent dehydration brings about a continuously changing new chemical state in the body. When a new dehydration-produced chemical state becomes fully established, it causes many structural changes, even to the genetic blue-prints of the body. This is why prevention of dehydration is crucial. This is also why childhood asthma is a major health issue with me, as is noninfectious ear-ache in infants. Dehydration, to the point of causing asthma in children, can ultimately cause genetic damage, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer in their later years.

Understanding chronic dehydration will clear the way for the development of an infinitely more people-friendly health-care system. It will be possible in my estimation to have a decidedly healthier and productive nation at 30 percent of the present health-care costs. As you see, I am not promoting a moneymaking product. I am only sharing a unique medical insight and the outcome of my many years of research that will help medical professionals and the public understand the basic cause of so many conditions of ill health.

We are in the twenty-first century, yet even at this stage of our development, the outward manifestations of regional dehydration have not been understood by us in medicine. We have always looked for a drug solution to throw at a health concern. We have not succeeded at limiting these health concerns; rather, we have constantly expanded the list and thrown more drugs at them. We have truly caused a costly chaos in the name of modern medicine, with no end in sight. We now have significant problems that beg urgent solutions. As Albert Einstein observed: "The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." We obviously need a new approach to medical science to solve our health problems.

The solution to the present human-made and drug-industry-protected health problems of society can only be physiology-based. Understanding the molecular physiology of dehydration will restructure the future practice of clinical medicine. It will cause a fundamental paradigm change in the science of medicine. By showing the way to enhance the natural healing powers of the body within the discipline of physiology, the pharmaceutical approach to our present health problems will be completely replaced. The primary focus in medicine will become disease prevention rather than its protracted, cost-intensive, and invasive treatment protocols.


What is a paradigm, and how can it be changed in clinical medicine? A paradigm is the basic infrastructural information, assumption, or understanding on which knowledge within a discipline of thought develops. As an example, based on the fundamental understanding that planet Earth is a sphere, all geographic maps and models reflect the roundness of Earth. This understanding is the basic paradigm to the design of all geographic maps. The dramatic changes produced by the realization that Earth is not flat, as originally perceived, revolutionized the knowledge we now possess about the structure of the universe. When a paradigm leads a discipline of thought toward a dead end (as in the case of a flat Earth), for those who can stand back and impartially reassess the infrastructure of knowledge, often a new paradigm emerges. All it takes is a thought-triggering association or observation.

When a valid paradigm that is basic to a major discipline of thought emerges, it illuminates the path to a vast new domain of knowledge, like a flash of lightning that reveals all in the darkness of night. A new paradigm removes restrictions and barriers and makes future progress within a discipline of thought possible.

A new paradigm is more easily born when there is a specific need and a purpose to find a solution. A solution does not establish significance unless a definite need to the emerging solution is also recognized. The following story may help explain this thought.

Sir Alexander Fleming was the Nobel laureate recognized to have discovered penicillin. He was a Scottish scientist who worked at the Wright-Fleming Institute of St. Mary's Hospital Medical School of London University when I was a medical student there in the 1950s. Many medical students have an emotional urge to become discoverers. I was no exception. Since childhood, I had been driven to study medicine and become someone who could positively affect the lives of people who fell sick.

In the introductory bacteriology course, students were divided into small groups and assigned to different tutors. Luck placed me in the tutorial group assigned to Sir Alexander. He was a refined and humble man. At the end of the tutorial, I gathered enough courage to ask him a question, the answer to which has deeply influenced me ever since.

I asked him, "Sir Alexander, is there a special way to become a discoverer in medicine?" He looked at me and pondered my naive question. After a pause, in a very refined Scottish brogue he replied, "Need and purpose." He explained that with the increasing introduction of different surgical treatment procedures into medical practice, there was an ever-increasing rate of fatal bacterial complications. To find an agent that would stop bacterial infections in the human body became a most urgent need that established a purpose and resolve for those in bacterial research. "Need" was the mother of penicillin's discovery, and "purpose" the impetus of its development for human application.


History tells us that every so often, through basic discoveries of the applied techniques of nature, important leaps of progress have become possible. Humankind, because of these fortuitous happen-stances and flashes of insight, has unraveled many of the secrets employed in its creation.

One such happenstance seems to have revealed itself in 1979. I had become a political prisoner of Islamic revolutionaries and was being held in the Iranian prison of Evin. While facing the possibility of execution, I discovered one late night that two glasses of water could relieve even the severest abdominal pain associated with peptic ulcer disease.

A prisoner needed medication for his excruciating ulcer pain which had him doubled up and unable to walk by himself. Two friends were supporting him. The guards had not responded to his repeated pleas to be taken to the prison hospital. It was after eleven at night when he was brought to me. I was a prisoner myself and had no medication to give the man, who was truly in agony. I explained to him that I had no medicine to give him. His face showed even more pain than before. Instead of medication, I gave him two glasses of water. Within minutes, his ulcer pain became less severe. In eight minutes, it disappeared completely. This confirmed for me the abdominal-pain-relieving effect of water in a "disease" condition (I had relieved my own abdominal pain with water during a period of solitary confinement when I refused food for several days). I encouraged one after another of the inmates who had this same classic pain to take water in place of medications that were sometimes available.

During the ensuing two and a half years of my imprisonment, I successfully treated well over three thousand stress-induced peptic ulcer disease cases with tap water only. It became obvious to me that these people were really and only thirsty. They were presenting their dehydration in the form of a painful crisis situation that we in the medical profession had labeled a "disease" condition. As a last defense at my trial— about fifteen months into my imprisonment—I presented a scientific article to be released for publication. I told the judge that even if he had me shot, to please not lose the information. "It is the greatest medical discovery in history," I said. By then I had already treated a few hundred fellow prisoners in the confined prison block where I was housed.

The judge later came to me and said: "You have made a tremendous discovery; I wish you luck in the future." That was the first indication that I had a future and could continue my work.

As acknowledgment of my discovery, I was not executed but given a three-year sentence. My life was spared because of what I had discovered in the prison. All my personal assets, however, were confiscated. After twenty-three months, the prison warden told me the authorities had discovered I was "not the bad person they had been led to believe," and they were considering an early release for me. I thanked him, but said I wanted to stay on in prison a while longer. I was in the middle of clinical observations on the effect of water as a treatment of various stress-induced health problems, including bleeding peptic ulcer conditions. I explained to him that as a sort of stress laboratory, Evin was unique. Needless to say, the warden was surprised. He thought he was doing me a great favor by wanting to release me before the end of my sentence. He agreed that my work was important, however, and that I should be given the opportunity to complete what I was doing. I had for some time believed that my coming to prison had not been a chance event. I was destined to make my discovery that the human body has sophisticated crisis calls for water when it is stressed and becomes dehydrated. I stayed in prison an additional four months and reached certain clinical conclusions that now needed scientific explanations. After two years and seven months of imprisonment, I was released with an official acclaim for my discovery.

During my prison time, I gained much new understanding about the physiological effects of water and its relationship to many disease conditions. It all started with abdominal pain. I published the first announcement of my discovery in the Iranian Medical Association Journal while I was still in prison. A translation of the article was sent to America and was eventually restructured for publication as a guest editorial in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology in June 1983.


The explanations that follow are based on clinical observations made in one of the worst stress laboratories in the world. These observations have given birth to a new physiology-based explanation of how diseases of the body occur. My findings have been presented at several international gatherings of scientists. Detailed scientific explanations that support my findings have also been published.

It does not require a detailed knowledge of science to understand that water should be used to prevent and cure certain dehydration-produced disease conditions. Nor does the use of water as a "medicine" require Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Water is the main source of life, and everyone knows about it. Still, there is shameful ignorance about the health dangers we expose our bodies to when we do not drink enough water. Our saving grace is that the human body understands the role of water in maintaining its physiological and physical well being, even though mainstream medicine does not. It seems we doctors have not been well informed about the different functional relationships of water in the human body. We have been caught in a most embarrassing situation. We do not yet know when the human body is truly thirsty. We do not understand what happens if the body does not receive adequate water on a regular basis.

The current practice of clinical medicine is based on the application of pharmacological chemistry to the human body. At medical schools, more than six hundred teaching hours are allocated to the use of pharmaceutical products. Only a few hours are allocated to instructions on diet and food. It seems that in most "disease" conditions, medical educators are trying to force the test-tube understanding of chemistry into the human body.

The trouble is, pharmaceutical or chemical products do not cure most disease conditions. Nor are most of these products safe for long-term use. They only temporarily mask and silence the outward manifestations of the problem. No matter how seemingly scientific, sophisticated, and appealing the justifications for the use of these chemical products might seem, they often do not remove the medical problem—except for the use of antibiotics in infections. People with hypertension, who begin treatment with diuretics or other chemicals, are not cured. They are told they must continue the treatment for the rest of their lives. They often need to supplement the diuretic and use other types of medication at the same time. People with rheumatoid arthritis are not permanently cured by any of the many analgesics on the market. They have to use analgesic medications for the rest of their pain-filled lives. No diabetic is cured; no person with myasthenia gravis is cured; no person with muscular dystrophy is cured. How is it possible that, despite extensive research, no cure for any one of the prevalent conditions such as heartburn, dyspepsia, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, or asthma has been found?

Dehydration eventually causes loss of some functions and produces damage (pathology). The various signals or symptoms produced during severe and lasting dehydration have been interpreted by doctors as various disease conditions of unknown origin. The signal, however, is actually for water shortage, and the local damage is because of water shortage. Because doctors don't recognize chronic dehydration as the original cause, the "disease" conditions receive all sorts of explanations and labels, and all of them are said to have an unknown cause. This is the basic mistake that has distorted the truth in medicine and devastated people needing professional advice and guidance for their health issues. This is the crack through which all past research on the origin of some disease conditions has fallen.


Water, water everywhere, yet not enough did we drink.

Water, water everywhere, still our bodies did shriek and shrink.


The human body is about 75 percent water and 25 percent solid matter. The brain is said to be 85 percent water and is extremely sensitive to any dehydration or depletion of its water content. The brain is bathed constantly in salty cerebrospinal fluid. The water content of the body is called the solvent, and the solid matter that is dissolved in the water is called the solute. The chemical understanding of the human body brought about an almost total concentration of research into the detailed molecular composition and minute fluctuations of the solid matter in the body. Thus a chemical-pharmaceutical perception of the human body took shape, resulting in the development of the "medical-industrial system." Adherence to the understanding that it is primarily the body's solid composition that governs all its functions has produced much misinformation and has contributed to the present chaotic status of medicine.

The flaw in the above approach to understanding the body lies in the fact that, even with all our amassed knowledge, the human body is still an almost unknown structure. We know no more than 10 percent of how the body functions and is integrated chemically.

The practice of clinical medicine today benefits the manufacturing and commercial arms of the healthcare system. The ignorance-promoting and money-making solutes focus is strictly guarded and forcefully dispensed—it is good for selling drugs. Although the knowledge of the physiology of the human body is advanced, the practice of clinical medicine does not benefit from the advancement of this discipline of science.


The role of water in the bodies of all living species, humans included, has not changed since the earliest creation of life in water.

When life on land became an objective—the stressful adventure beyond known boundaries and the immediate vicinity of water supply—a gradually refined body-water-preservation system and drought-management system had to be created. In other words, the body began to adapt to transient dehydration. Over time, this drought-management process became permanent—and currently exists in the body of modern humans.

Even now, when humans are under stress or confronting situations that may be perceived as stressful, the physiological translation of that stress reflects a water-regulation process. It is as if nothing has changed from the first time water-dwelling species ventured beyond their water supply. A similar process for rationing water reserves and an anticipated limited future supply becomes the responsibility of a complex system in the body. This multisystem water-distribution process remains in operation until the body receives unmistakable signals that it has once more gained access to an adequate water supply.

One of the unavoidable processes in the body-water rationing phase is the ruthlessness with which the body functions are monitored. No structure receives more than its predetermined share of water, based on its functional importance. The brain takes absolute priority over all the other systems.

Thinking that tea, coffee, alcohol, and manufactured beverages can substitute for the pure natural water needs of the body is an elementary mistake, particularly in a body that is stressed by confronting daily problems. It is true that these beverages contain water, but most of them also contain dehydrating substances, such as caffeine. These substances rid the body of the water they are dissolved in, plus additional water from the body's reserves. When you drink coffee, tea, or even a beer, your body gets rid of more water than is contained in the drink. If you measure your urine volume after the beverage is taken, you will see that you have passed more urine than the volume of the drink. Another way the body loses water after drinking hot beverages is through perspiration from the pores of the skin to cool the body that has been warmed from the inside.

The economic principles are the same in the body as they are in society. The law of supply and demand rules absolutely. When there is a comparative shortage of a needed substance, a strict rationing system rules the marketplace of the body with an iron fist.

When the human body is dehydrated, it redistributes and regulates the amount of available water. Within the body, alarms signal to show that areas in question are in short supply, much like the light signal that goes on when a car is running low on gas or oil. The available water is rationed and used where needed. The presence of water will ultimately regulate the production mechanisms in a drought-stricken area of the body.

When chronic dehydration begins to set in, up to a certain level the shutdown of water-dependent functions is silent because there is a reserve capacity for endurance. As time passes and the body becomes more and more dehydrated, however, a threshold is reached where the system becomes inadequate for the responsibilities thrust on one or another function of the body. Depending on the type of demand, the organ or organs in the firing line of activity begin to indicate their particular signal of inadequacy.


On Sale
Nov 16, 2008
Page Count
304 pages

F. Batmanghelidj, MD

About the Author

Fereydoon Batmanghelidj was an Iranian doctor and writer. He is best known for his book, Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, and his writings related to health and wellness.

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