Lourdes, France is a small town in the Pyrenees Mountains approximately 500 miles south of Paris that is known for its religious significance and the supposed healing properties of its waters. According to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to a peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous in the town in 1858 and directed her to a spring where the waters are said to have healing powers. Since then, tens of millions of people from around the world have visited Lourdes to drink and bathe in the waters, in hopes of curing illnesses or finding spiritual healing. https://www.albomadventures.com/lourdes/
The waters in Lourdes are unique not only for their supposed healing properties, but also for their high molecular hydrogen content. Molecular hydrogen, or H2, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that has been found to have a wide range of health benefits. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-apoptotic (cell-protecting) properties, and has been found to improve various conditions including diabetes, cancer, and neurological disorders. (1) (2)
The high levels of molecular hydrogen in the waters of Lourdes are believed to be the result of its geological formation. The waters are sourced from a natural spring that lies in a deep cave beneath the sanctuary. The water is filtered through layers of limestone and clay that contain large amounts of iron and other minerals. These minerals help produce the high levels of hydrogen in the water by a process known as a “water-rock reaction” which involve the dissolving of the minerals in the water and the formation of hydrogen. (3)
The waters of Lourdes are highly revered, and many consider them to be a symbol of hope and healing. The high levels of molecular hydrogen in the waters may contribute to its supposed healing properties. Ongoing scientific studies continue as it is a fascinating natural phenomenon worth studying. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/sacredjourneys/content/lourdes/
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(1) Ohsawa, I., Ishikawa, M., Takahashi, K., Watanabe, M., Nishimaki, K., Yamagata, K., … & Katsura, K. (2007). Hydrogen acts as a therapeutic antioxidant by selectively reducing cytotoxic oxygen radicals. Nature medicine, 13(6), 688-694.
(2) Sun, J., Li, J., Li, Y., Li, Y., & Li, X. (2019). The effects and mechanisms of hydrogen on diabetes and its complications. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2019.
(3)Saito, T., Takei, Y., & Nakagawa, T. (2017). Geological Formation and Characteristics of Hydrogen-rich Waters. In Hydrogen Medicine (pp. 39-49). Springer, Tokyo.