The treatment of end stage renal failure is always based on the use of water. Both the artificial kidney machine and peritoneal dialysis use a huge amount of water, either in its pure condition (the RDT) or as the main ingredient in PD solutions. As these modalities are rather modern for an article on the history of the topic, we will skip them and proceed to the discussion of more ancient methods, correlating them with more recent times. Recent for us means from the 9th century onwards. The structure of this article was inspired by the Polka dance, originally a Czech dance and a genre of dance and music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It is still practiced in many countries and widely in Poland.
In this paper we present extracts from the works of Plato, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Galen, Pliny the Elder, Paulus Aegineta, Rufus, Alexander, Avicenna with their views on mineral waters in general and their application on renal diseases. Gout and lithiasis figure prominently and were the more prominent indications for that mode of treatment. We followed the evolution of their ideas in time and compared them with the current use of hydrotherapy in various Spas with emphasis on the ones from Central and Eastern Europe.
We conclude that the popularity of hydrotherapy for treating kidney disorders was alternatively increasing and decreasing over centuries, resembling the Back and Forth steps of Polka
Keywords: Hydrotherapy, mineral waters, lithiasis, gout, Galen, Avicenna