A Tunnel in Western Germany Where People Pay to Inhale Radioactive Radon to Relieve Chronic Pain

A very conflicted Tom Scott talks about a tunnel in Bad Kreuznach, Germany where people pay to deliberately inhale radon in an effort to relieve chronic pain. Scott had filmed this segment earlier but was unable to determine whether or not to post the information, mostly because this particular treatment has not yet been proved effective.

One of the first things I filmed on that trip was the radon tunnel, the “radonstollen”, in Bad Kreuznach in south-west Germany….But despite filming going really well on location, despite being really happy with my script and the interview at the time, I just wasn’t comfortable with it when I got back here to the UK.

After speaking with a representative from Accuradon, the company that runs the tunnel, Scott was able to understand more about what they were doing and how they controlled the natural radon that flowed from under the tunnel. Scott also acknowledged that the company was not making widespread claims about fixing all sorts of health problems, but rather was focused on a single condition – chronic pain.

Radon…is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that’s produced naturally by uranium decay. All around the world, tiny tiny amounts of it seep out from wide areas of the ground and get diluted into the atmosphere harmlessly. …In other parts of the world, radon therapy is much less regulated. … And some of them make wild claims about helping diabetes, gout, asthma, MS or even cancer. But the claims made in Germany are much more limited and specific. It’s just for relief of chronic pain, and the cause of chronic pain can often be a mystery. And so can how to treat it.

Yet despite this narrow focus, Scott remains concerned about deliberate exposure to radiation without further proof, although he does understand the lengths that some people will go to in order to relieve their pain. Which is why he decided to post the video after all.

That’s why I’m willing to risk giving an audience to something that isn’t proven yet, because if that works as claimed, even just for some people with chronic pain, it’d be brilliant. Very minor radiation exposure is a risk that a lot of people would be willing to take, clearly are willing to take, if they can’t get pain relief any other way. …I know it’s a cop-out to say “more studies are required”. It’s the weak ending to every inconclusive undergraduate paper, but in this case, it’s true.

Radon Tunnel Tom Scott Western Germany
Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.