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the healing powers of… radon?!?!

Weird, huh?  I heard about this and couldn’t believe it, but maybe there is something to it.  I mean, what the mudphudder doesn’t know could fill an f’n… well, you get the point.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is a breakdown product of natural radium decay (science lesson for the day…check).  From physiology and biology to healthcare, we are all aware of the association between radon exposure and lung cancer.  Just try selling your house if there is detectable radon in the basement and you’ll see how much the general public enjoys radon exposure.  You’ll be spending thousands of dollars for ventilation systems to pump the radon out.

Merry Widow Health Mine

Merry Widow Health Mine

But apparently there are people out there who are benefiting from exposure to radon.  In the 1950’s, a woman with arthritis found pain relief and resolution of her symptoms from visiting a uranium mine in California.  Since then, word has spread–even leading to a 1952 article on the healing powers of radon in Life Magazine. These days, old uranium mines have become the place to go for your healing dose of radon.  Existing around the U.S., there is a concentration of them in Montana between the towns of Basin and Boulder, with the most well-known called the “Merry Widow Health Mine.”  Even the name of the place has “scam” written all over it–but apparently not.  According to one article in the Missoulian, a western Montana newspaper, people have been experiencing the healing powers of radon mines in eastern Europe and Russia for some time and hundreds visit the Merry Widow every year.  In the Merry Widow, there is even an area called the “Doggie Den” where people take their ailing dogs for therapy.  There are testimonials from people whose dogs could not walk when entering and then are running around after a couple of weeks at the mine. 

So I decided to look into this and was surprised to find a clinical trial that found a benefit for radon in pain relief as well as decreased use of pain medications and corticosteroids in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.  I looked up some of the other ailments for which people are using the radon mines including cataracts, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystropy, asthma and emphysema but found no evidence for a benefit from radon. 

Who knows?  Perhaps this is another example of what we have come to find with all medical treatments and what Theophrastus Phillipus Auroleus Bombastus von Hohenheim, the “father of toxicology”, described as “Alle Dinge sind Gift und nichts ist ohne Gift; allein die Dosis macht, dass ein Ding kein Gift ist,” which translates as, “All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison.”


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