The Curious Study of Water Consciousness

Water

We are aware that water has many scientific properties.

It is a chemical certainty that water has polarity, cohesion, surface tension, among other properties; these have all been long-standing theories proven by mainstream science.  

However, there is an emerging school of thought that sees an entirely new perspective on the properties of water: What if water would have a consciousness, a memory? How would that work, what would that mean, and what evidence is there to support this theory?

Let’s take a look at the nascent study of this idea of water consciousness– how the question of water memory was first raised, plus the controversies and enigmas that exist around this mysterious field of research. 

History

While structured study of water consciousness is a burgeoning field, some of the ideas it incorporates are nothing new. For centuries, farmers and urban planners in Europe and North America have sworn by a supernatural technical called dowsing (also known as divining) to locate freshwater below the earth’s surface. It was thought that hidden water sources were giving off specific energies and frequencies, which could be picked up by a trained practitioner and a special tool. While modern mainstream science has its doubts about this practice, many in the world still practice dowsing today and it still has an enthusiastic global community. 

Coming closer to the modern age, philosophies about water consciousness developed closer to what we see today. 

Dowsing for freshwater, late 18th century. Public Domain, National Library of Wales

Water Memory is a term that was coined in the late 1980’s by a journalist covering the work of French immunologist and water researcher Jacques Benveniste. Benveniste’s work claimed to prove that the configuration of molecules in water was biologically active, and furthermore, this biological activity could be digitized and reproduced in another water sample anywhere on earth. He also wrote about his findings that water could still contain DNA of an added substance, even after being diluted to the point that it could not possibly still contain even traces of the original substance- a study that was subsequently published in the prestigious journal Nature. While many in the scientific community have been quick to name this work as pseudoscience, luckily his research did catch the eye of a very high-profile virologist and Nobel Laureate named Dr. Luc Montagnier.

Dr. Montagnier is best known as part of the scientific team who discovered the HIV virus, subsequently receiving the Nobel Prize in Medicine. In 2007, Montagnier published a paper titled DNA Waves and Water, which essentially picked up where Benveniste’s work left off following his death in 2004. This has been the source of much controversy for Montagnier’s career, and has yet to be fully accepted by the mainstream scientific community. However, having a well-known and internationally recognized researcher formally acknowledge the idea of water consciousness was a huge step towards wider acceptance of the movement.

Masaru Emoto and his Water Crystals

Water consciousness first gained international attention with the unconventional but groundbreaking experiments of Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto. While you may not recognize his name, chances are that you have seen or heard of his work- namely, the theory that water can understand and retain the energy of human intention. 

In the 1990s, Emoto performed a series of experiments in which water was kept in a variety of bottles, each carrying a label with a different message. The messages ranged from positive and caring (thank you, love) to negative (I hate you, I want to kill you), and then drops of water from these bottles were placed on slides and deep-frozen to form snowflake-like crystals.

His findings were astounding. The crystals that formed on positive messages were found to be more geometric and aesthetically pleasing, while the crystals formed by water with negative messages were chaotic and non-uniform in shape. 

Image courtesy of www.masaru-emoto.net

Emoto also carried out further experiments over the course of his career- notably an instance in which he played Mozart and heavy metal music to samples of water and captured images of the differences between the two crystals, and an crystallised sample of reservoir water before and after receiving a Buddhist prayer. 

He called his findings hado– the life force energy-consciousness of varying frequencies infused in all matter. The follow-up argument has been this: Given the high water composition of the human brain and body, if water is in fact conscious and receptive to energy frequencies, how can these positive or negative messages affect our bodies on a molecular level? 

While his work has certainly stirred up controversy in the scientific community and attracted many skeptics, it has also found many fans and supporters, and continues to gain traction among homeopathic communities. To date, millions of copies have been sold of Emoto’s book series Messages from Water (Parts I, II, and III), and his work has been featured in the high-profile documentary-style film What the Bleep Do We Know?. Emoto was also invited to speak before the United Nations in 2003. 

Where does mainstream science stand? 

To date, mainstream science has not been able to verify or reproduce Emoto’s findings due to the unspecified techniques he used to freeze his samples. On a wider scale, the scientific world has been quick to dismiss similar works of related research as homeopathy and borderline pseudoscience. 

But, surely the story can’t end there. What on the theme of water consciousness has been scientifically proven and verified? 

In 2015, the highly-respected Max Planck Institute in Mainz, Germany, published a comprehensive study, “The Structural Memory of Water Persists on a Picosecond Timescale” in the prestigious journal Nature Communications. This study demonstrated that water cannot be treated as a continuum (or as substance through which information only travels but does not remain), but that specific local memory-enabling structures do in fact exist within liquid water.

While this may not be as dramatic as the findings of Benveniste & Montangnier, nor certainly  as visually stunning as Emoto’s snowflake studies, this German study was a huge step towards providing quantifiable, verifiable, reproducible evidence that liquid water can store information and may even have more properties that we have not yet uncovered. 

Another important piece of the puzzle is the well-documented concept of hydrogen bonds in water, an attraction between two atoms that already participate in other chemical bonds. Hydrogen bonds form between neighboring water molecules when the hydrogen of one atom comes between the oxygen atoms of its own molecule and that of its neighbor. This happens because the hydrogen atom is attracted to both its own oxygen and other oxygen atoms that come close enough. A consequence of hydrogen bonding is that hydrogen bonds tend to arrange in a tetrahedron around each water molecule, leading to the well-known crystal structure of snowflakes, as we saw in Emoto’s work. These bonds are the primary reason water displays such interesting and unusual chemical properties, many of which aren’t found in any other chemical substance. 

Water Consciousness and the Consumer Market

Unsurprisingly, the concept that water is able to remember and store energies has led to a wealth of opportunities in the commercial water industry. In addition to the commercial success of Masaru Emoto’s work, forward-thinking entrepreneurs worldwide have been able to find ways to bring energized water to the mainstream.

One of the biggest success stories in this realm is St. Leonhards Quellen, a natural mineral water brand from the alpine region of Bavaria in southern Germany. St. Leonhard’s has developed a series of specially-bottled waters, the most commercially popular of which is their Mondquelle Vollmondabfüllung (meaning filled by the full moon fountain), which is only bottled once per month during the full moon to capture optimal energies. Their other products include a Sonnenquelle (which is said to contain the energy of the sun) and a Lichtquelle (which they claim contains the full rainbow spectrum- 7 different light frequencies). 

Image courtesy of St Leonhard’s Quelle

Although German law requires St. Leonhard’s website to add the disclaimer that the properties of these waters are neither legally nor scientifically recognized, their products have found huge commercial success, (complete with high-profile celebrity endorsements) and can be found in a growing number of big-name German supermarkets. This sends a clear message that the demand for specialized water is reaching well into the mainstream and will likely grow in the years to come. 

Other products on the market include the VitaJuwel Gem Water Bottle (which asserts that it can infuse your drinking water with gemstone energy) and the Sirius glass by Slovenian startup Flaska (a drinking glass imprinted with a special design which ‘structures the water’).


Matt Thornton, founder of UK-based startup The New Water Generation, is aiming to “give experiences and understanding of water’s true nature by creating personalized water systems for people, business, and communities.” Thornton studied under Masaru Emoto and is setting up a platform to create “Water Heroes”, or individuals who will foster a better stewardship and understanding of the planet’s water.

“When we begun to understand water, the roadmap to ending all pollution will begin” – Matt Thornton, The New Water Generation

More than meets the eye

While the concept of water consciousness has been historically polarising, attracting both ardent fans and vocal skeptics, modern research such as that done by the Max Planck institute does show that water demonstrates scientific properties which we previously thought impossible. 

The glass of water in your hand may look crystal clear, but it could in fact hold a universe of secrets, waiting to be discovered. 

By Emily — Oct 14, 2019
The information contained in this article is provided for educational and informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or nutritional advice.

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