Ulcerative colitis, radioactive detours into danger, and those damn merry widows in the Radon Tunnels


Radon, says the dictionary, is a radioactive gas produced from the uranium which is in the geological formation under the soil. Radioactive gas. Wrap your mind around that. Radioactive things, though they do not, by nature, glow in the dark as fabulous B-movies might suggest, are still things that fall under the category of  “Stuff you probably shouldn’t touch. Without full-body gear. Such as a Hazmat suit, maybe.” Stuff like uranium, tritium, nuclear bombs, and, um, radioactive waste…

Really though, what does the average layman know from radioactive? The scientific explanation for radioactivity, itself, is so incomprehensible and ominous sounding…

radioactivity is the set of various processes by which unstable atomic nuclei (nuclides) emit subatomic particles radiation… and blah, blah, more really big science words that nobody gets…

…that it’s better to just say “Hey! That radioactive stuff? Yeah, that stuff is bad stuff. Don’t touch that stuff.”

And the afore-mentioned radon? That’s some serious, I’m-not-fooling-around-type radioactive gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Yep, second only to cigarette smoking. Well now, I have been, in my time, to many a smoky lounge…where the air has formed into an atmospheric vapor of cigarette smoke haze… one so thick that actual visibility is just a pretty memory. And no one in these rooms has yet, to my knowledge, ever claimed to be there for their health. They have claimed to be there for a host of other, bizarre reasons that are entirely too outrageous for me to mention, but never for their health.

It’s possible that no one has ever made that claim because sitting in a room, basking in the haze of the number-one leading cause of lung-cancer… repeatedly, even …is not necessarily a tonic to one’s physical ailments. Taking this to be true, you’d think that sitting in a room, basking in the emissions of the number-two leading cause of lung-cancer… repeatedly, even …would also be a somewhat questionable activity.

Photo courtesy of Postcard*Attractions.

However, there are people sitting in Montana right this minute, doing just that very thing, and they would probably suggest that we take this entire comparison …and sit down ourselves for awhile…and spin on it. These people are embracing an entirely different concept and that concept is this: Radon is Good for You. Which begs the question:

What if radiation is actually good for you?

There are people asking this question. (In case you’re curious, I, myself, had never been one of these people. I, myself, am just a boring ‘ole conventionalist sometimes, and though I have no plans to use anything that is left in my ovaries; I’d still like it all to stay in a roughly un-mutated state. Ergo, ‘radiation = bad’ was always a formula I understood.) A guy named Hiserodt, who is an author and who may or may not be able to understand that really complicated scientific explanation of radioactivity mentioned earlier, released a book pondering this very question in 2005. What if it is? What if it is?? Wrap your mind around that! I’ll tell you this much, I have no idea if radiation is good for you. Really, I would have thought no, but that’s not even the point. The point is that I know something even more interesting than whether or not it’s actually good for you. I know that Montana is the only place in the U.S. that you can receive it in the form of Radon Therapy. Yes, Radon Therapy, and at a fraction of the cost of more conventional, high-end, medical-establishment-type treatments!

Merry Widow Health Mine. Photo courtesy of Montana Live.

Yep. In the mountains between the towns of Boulder and Basin; Montana is host to a number of defunct old uranium and gold mines that are serving a new and revitalized purpose –Radon Health Therapy Mines. The only active radon health mines in the United States! Emitting radon levels that far, far exceed the federal safety standard, these mines draw hundreds of alternative-medicine seekers every year. Some of the more popular health mines include Free Enterprise, Sunshine Health, Radon Tunnel, Earth Angel, and the Merry Widow mines. A few interesting items of note:

  • Earth Angel -a former gold mine, this one claims to have the strongest concentration of radon gas out of the entire bunch. You can only sit in Earth Angel for 20 minutes at a time, as opposed to the 30 minutes typically allowed in the other mines.
  • Free Enterprise -former uranium mine; looks to me like the best bet if boredom is a consideration –it’s all pimped out with soft chairs and magazines and such –I’ll bet you’d completely forget you were even in an underground mine currently emitting levels of radon gas that the EPA is pleased to call toxic!
  • Merry Widow –easy to spot due to the massive, Hollywood-Sign’esque letters that spell out M-E-R-R-Y  W-I-D-O-W across the mountain side.
  • Radon Tunnel  -obviously has the scariest, most impressive name…this name would serve well in a science fiction movie where all the radioactive things in the movie have a soft, greenish glow …as in “escort our guest to….The Radon Tunnel…where he will soon be receiving …the Radon Therapy”.

Why Radon Therapy you ask?

Well, two words for you. Ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine and rectum. Symptoms of this charming ailment include abdominal pain and cramping that usually disappear after a bowel movement. The alleviation of Ulcerative colitis symptoms is just one of the many ailment reliefs that Radon Therapy users swear by. There are a host of others, but this one was the most fun, really. It gave me a chance to use “ulcerative colitis” in the title of my blog. Seriously, how many opportunites do you get to do that?

Now, I have been lucky enough in life that I have yet to be inflicted by Ulcerative colitis. Nor does my husband suffer from this malady. That I know of. Come to think of it, it probably isn’t something he’d be likely to tell me if he had, is it?

Hey, baby, I’m sorry I’ve been so grumpy all day. It’s my Ulcerative colitis flaring up again.”

Your, um, ulcercalitive, um, itis? What? Your what??”

Oh, you know, just this inflammatory bowel disease I have. I mean, don’t worry or anything, I have, you know, really bad stomach pain and cramping some days but it’s fine, really, just as soon as I can manage one good bowel movement. So. No sweat.”

A thing I have noticed in life is that, on the whole, people do not voluntarily bring up the topic of their bowels. Perhaps my husband is so afflicted, and has yet to broach the subject? Hmmm, I should ask him that very thing this evening. For now though, to be on the safe side of honesty, we’ll just say that I most definitely do not have Ulcerative colitis and that my husband probably most definitely does not have Ulcerative colitis.

The thing is though, when it comes to your bowels, can you be too proactive? I think not, which is why chances are good that when we pass our first Radon Therapy Health Mine on the ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP, we’ll pull over and stay a while.

Merry Widow Health Mine. Photo courtesy of MontanaLive.

At $7.00 for 60 minutes, it’s a small price to pay for the continuation of an unobstructed bowel.

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One thought on “Ulcerative colitis, radioactive detours into danger, and those damn merry widows in the Radon Tunnels

  1. I hope like hell Corbin doesn’t have ulcerative colitis, but don’t worry- if either of you did, I would still be your friend with healthy bowels.

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