'A light to help you on your journey of health' Directors: Drs Martin & Sue Allbright
01684-893393 Complementary Health Centre

Malvern's pure spring water.

Prior to Drs Wilson and Gully’s interest in Malvern, there was the first ever record about the purity of Malvern's spring water and it being used to help in treating eye diseases from the book 'Breviary of One Hundred and Thirteen Diseases of the Eyes and Eyelids' by Richard Bannister in 1622. Later Malvern’s water was looked at by Dr William Heberden (1710-1801) who noted the purity of Malvern water. He commented that "the Malvern water is purer than that of any other springs in England, which I ever examined or heard of". Then in 1757 Dr John Wall analysed the water and found it to be very pure, with a very low mineral content.

"Malvern water, says Dr John Wall, is famous for containing just nothing at all."

But Malvern is not a ‘SPA’ town, SPA stands for Sodium, Potassium, Ammonium, and Malvern water contains none of these, that is why Malvern became famous for its pure water.


Hydrotherapy before it came to Malvern.

Vincenz Priessnitz, (1799 - 1851) was a peasant farmer in Grafenberg, Silesia, who is generally considered the founder of modern hydrotherapy. In 1814 from personal health reasons and other observations Priessnitz started to develop hydrotherapy and in 1822 he opened the first sanatorium. After helping the Viennese Emperor's brother, hydrotherapy became acceptable and many people came from all over Europe to receive and or study the water treatment.

Two of those people were later to be Malvern’s Dr James Wilson and Dr James Manby Gully (1808 - 1883) who formed a partnership and who wanted to set up a similar establishment in England because there were also hundreds of similar hydrotherapy centres starting up all over Europe during that time.

Malvern’s water cure.

So in 1842 the first hydrotherapy establishment was opened at the Crown Hotel on Belle Vue Terrace (which is now Lloyds Bank), later to be followed by Priestniz House (which is now Park View, in Abbey Road) and Tudor Hotel (on Worcester Road). Many rich and not such rich people came to Malvern to receive hydrotherapy other wise known as the 'Water Cure'. Notables like Charles Darwin and Bernard Shaw. After 25 years the 'Malvern Water Cure' eventually started to go into decline for several reasons. Dr Wilson died in 1867, then there was an outbreak of typhoid fever in one of the establishments. Dr Gully left Malvern in 1873, and lastly but most significantly, equally effective hydrotherapy was more available at other European Spa towns.

The people who received the hydrotherapy probably benefited from the simple diet, no alcohol, exercise and fresh air from walking the hills. Pure clean water is now a well-recognised and established fact for helping and preventing health problems.

For good or bad, Drs Gully and Wilson, left their mark on the history of natural health medicine and the town of Malvern forever.

Malvern’s bottles of pure water.

Malvern’s connection with pure water, has carried on with a bottling plant producing Malvern Water. In 1622 Holywell Spring establishment bottled the water, it then moved to a spring in Colwall where it had recognition by appointment to the Queen. Sadly the owners Coca Cola closed it down in November 2010. The good news is that the Holywell Spring is still bottling the pure water.

The rise of natural health, (complementary medicine, alternative therapies) in the United Kingdom and Malvern.

Since the late 1980's there has been a significant growth in complementary medicine in Malvern as well as all of the UK. The scientific evidence of complementary medicine has grown significantly over the last 30 years and with it the EEC need for regulation. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee - sixth report, was published November 2000.  www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk

The report grouped the professions and therapies.

Group 1 was made up of acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy and osteopathy. These professions were recognised for the significant amount of training involved for a practitioner to become qualified and that a detailed diagnostic process was carried out before treatment instigated.

Group 2 (aromatherapy, Alexander technique, massage and similar body work therapies, counselling, stress relief therapy, hypnotherapy, reflexology, shiatsu, meditation, spiritual healing,) were also recognised as of benefit

Back in the 1970's Dr Martin Allbright recognised the benefits of complementary medicine and the potential of integrating them with that of conventional medicine. In 1982 he chose to train in classical acupuncture and continued to work in that field.

Then in 1989 Martin and his wife, Sue, moved back to Malvern, Martin's ancestral home, to set up the Clinic of Classical Acupuncture. They then chose to set up the Beacon Clinic in 2002, with the aims of developing a centre of excellence for a range of complementary therapies in Malvern and the surrounding areas. And also to develop better links between the recognised therapies and also with their colleagues in conventional medicine.

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Malvern was a sleepy hollow in the kings chase of the shires, until two doctors went to Europe to study the latest medical development of hydrotherapy. They were Dr James Wilson and Dr James Manby Gully who then wanted to find some where in England which had natural pure water and hopefully a scenic environment similar to the hilly area of Grafenberg.  So Malvern had the beauty and the hills but what about the natural water springs?

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