I wonder if a dip in this would clear up my rash?
Manitou Lake could be Sask.'s version of the Dead Sea
Scientists study properties of lake
The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
The salty, buoyant water of Manitou Lake has been revered for its purported healing properties since Indians claimed it cured smallpox and rheumatic fever, and now international engineers are attempting to prove it scientifically.
"There's a few engineers working on it, but we have to do a lot more study," said Arnold Streuby, the former mayor of Manitou Beach, which is about 115 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.
"They're looking for anti-organisms that are within this water. Right now no one can explain what brings on the healing powers."
An engineer from California has been studying the water for a few months in order to determine whether it has the same characteristics that Jordan's Dead Sea is famed for, according to Streuby.
If evidence of the water's healing ability can be confirmed, it would be a boon to the town and the province, said Streuby, who believes that European doctors interested in natural healing methods would be willing to send patients to Manitou, as they have already done with the Dead Sea.
"It would all help to bring our water alive again here," said Streuby, who is helping fund the studies. "I'd like to do a royal commission study, but we need some proof first to explain the healing powers."
Streuby hopes to convince the federal government to help finance further studies if the current research warrants it. So far, there's been no response from either the federal or provincial government.
"Our government doesn't seem to be too interested in it. It's a shame," he said. "This could be beneficial for all of Canada."
Though he lacks support from powers-that-be, Streuby has had plenty of encouragement from others.
"I've got doctors from the eastern part of Canada, Toronto and Montreal, who stop in and tell me to keep it up because the trend is to natural healing," he said.
"If we can prove the power of this water, we could have the Dead Sea here in Saskatchewan."
According to legend, Indian medicine men named the lake "Manitou," which means God, believing that it came from the Great Spirit. It became known as the "Lake of the Healing Waters" or "Lake of the Good Spirit."
Manitou Lake's buoyancy enables people to perform physiotherapeutic exercises to ease aching joints. Like the Dead Sea, it contains magnesium, which is good for the skin and bronchial passages, and contains iodine, which is beneficial for certain glandular functions.
According to the history of the lake (watrous-sask.com/history2.htm), the water has helped sufferers of arthritis, rheumatism, and skin conditions (eczema and psoriasis).
"If you have the slightest scratch or cut, one dip into the water makes the sore heal up really fast," states the Web site, created by the town administration for nearby Watrous.
In the past, natural oils were extracted from the lake and made into hair tonic and toothpaste. The mineral salts continue to be harvested and sold to drug stores across Saskatchewan.
But as yet, there is no research data to prove the water's healing qualities. That said, the healing powers cannot be discounted either, said a spokesperson from the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), who asked to remain anonymous.
"We have to prove to the SRC that there are different organisms in this water, compared to other lakes that have just salt. The mineral content is different in this water than anywhere else in the country."
He believes the presence of potash may be the key. Potash is quite common in the area and it is also the main industry in the region of the Dead Sea. Streuby says the lake is rumoured to be fed by nine underground springs, which may draw in minerals from the deep sources of potash.