Treatment of the urinary tract diseases in the 16th-century work Cieplice (Thermal Springs) by Wojciech Oczko (1537-1599)


The use of water for therapeutic purposes was not unknown in ancient times. It was largely the Methodic school of medicine that widely used the physical and chemical properties of water to treat various ailments. However, the end of the Roman balneotherapy came with the downfall of the Empire and was not revived until the Renaissance. In Poland, mineral water springs, both for drinking and therapeutic bathing, came to be known as early as the 13th century and gained in further popularity in the following years. With the discovery of new springs all around the country a number of scientific works on the properties of water and its application for treatment were published. One of them, Thermal Springs, was by Wojciech Oczko (1537-1599). Born in Warsaw, he started his education at the Krakow Academy and continued in Italy where in Bologna, he obtained the title of doctor of philosophy and medicine. Having returned to his native Poland in 1569 he worked as the court doctor of two Polish kings: Stephen Báthory and Sigismund III Vasa. In 1598 he moved to Lublin where he died in 1599. His work Thermal Springs was published in Krakow in 1578. In the 16th century Polish the noun cieplice denoted a hot medicinal spring as well as the town placed around it. The main stimulus to take up the subject of treatment with water came to Oczko from king Stephen Báthory himself who had ordered him to do so. However, a no small role was played by his own willingness to promote the method of treatment with which he had come in contact during his peregrination in Western Europe. The work includes the classification of waters to be found in Poland along with their medicinal application as the most efficient cure for numerous skin and internal organs diseases. The urinary system and its malfunctions were also given the author’s consideration who recommends treatment with water in cases of renal and ureteral calculi as well as ureteral stricture or infections. Treatment with water can also soothe the pain in a gout attack and is helpful in cases of purulent drainage from the male sex organ. A part of the work is devoted to dealing with side effects of baths also concerning kidneys. Internal application of water can also be advisable in case of haematuria. Thermal Springs is by general consent regarded as the beginning of the Polish balneology and Wojciech Oczko is seen as its father.

Keywords: Wojciech Oczko, balneology, urinary tract diseases


Ci spiace, ma questo articolo è disponibile soltanto in Inglese Americano.


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