/ 4 September 2008

Don’t upset the water

If water did absorb human emotions, as Masaru Emoto maintains, the coffee he was drinking would have had a tinge of impatience in it.

The 65-year-old Japanese had had a long morning at a water cleansing ceremony in Khayelitsha, and back at his Cape Town hotel the waiter was slow in bringing his order.

Emoto is in South Africa on a tour to share what his publicists call his ”groundbreaking research” on ”the mysterious vibrational qualities and healing properties of crystalline structured water”.

Perhaps the most startling of his beliefs is that water is capable of responding to feeling, and that this is proved by the shape of the crystals it makes when it is frozen and photographed.

He also believes that every word has its unique vibrational energy, and that water can memorise the ”subtle vibrations coming out from different letters or combinations of letters”.

So if you write the word ”love” on a piece of paper and stick it on a bottle of water, the water will absorb that energy and produce a beautiful crystal. Write a nasty word — ”hate”, or ”Hitler” — on the label, and the water will produce a nasty, deformed crystal.

”Usually we leave any particular word outside of the water bottle for 24 hours, and water can retain and memorise this information as a form of vibration in it and then later on it will be shown in the form of different shape of crystals,” he said in an interview in Cape Town this week.

”When we showed the word ‘ubuntu’ to a bottle of water, it created a very harmonised crystal. On the other hand, when we showed the word ‘xenophobia’ to a bottle of water, it created a very destructive, attacking-energy type of crystal.”

Given that about 60% of the adult human body is made up of water, this has, in Emoto’s view, some intriguing implications.

He is a firm proponent of the Hado Scan, a computerised device that according to one description uses ”advanced radionics technology” to identify energy imbalances in the body — kidney problems, for example — and corrects them by applying ”the opposite wave form frequencies” through a set of headphones clamped over the subject’s ears.

Emoto has come up with a refinement — a computer program that allows the operator to type in words and see which of them ”resonate” with the patient.

”And after finding out the most effective resonance with words, you could imprint this frequency into water, then by drinking this water any problem would be cured because it cancels out the negative vibration,” he explained this week through his interpreter. ”You could create a special kind of water that can work like medicine.

”If you are able to analyse correctly what the vibration of HIV is, you will be able to find out the cancellation frequency — this is usually the total opposite frequency of the original thing — then you will be able to create a remedy to cure HIV or Aids.”

What sort of words is useful in healing?

”Universally words such as ‘love’ or ‘gratitude’ would work very well, and negative words such as ‘you fool’ or ‘I hate you’ do not have a positive effect,” he said.

”I haven’t been able to have a chance to do examination on the subject, but if in the future there’s an opportunity I would love to find the counter-word of HIV, or cancelling word of HIV.”

Emoto also believes people can influence water by thinking at it and playing music to it. Bach gives pleasing crystals; heavy metal anything but.

He believes some other interesting things as well: that water came to Earth from outer space, and that humans themselves are the descendants of exiles from another planet, who were ”transformed into ice and emitted towards the Earth”.

And, as a corollary of his belief in the power of words, he has an unorthodox view on the health warnings on cigarette packs. It’s phrases like ”smoking kills” that do the real harm to smokers, not the cigarettes themselves, he says: much better to put on phrases like ”love thyself”.

Whatever the virtues of emotionally charged water as a panacea for mankind’s ills, it seems to be commercially rewarding. Emoto regularly tours the world to give lectures and run ”instructional schools” for people who want to spread his message.

Attending one of his three-hour South African seminars — the last are in Johannesburg on Friday and Sunday — costs R450; the training course he will give in South Africa next year for those who want an in on the business will cost R15 300.

He has published books, and his work has spawned movies, DVDs, music, posters, cards, glassware, T-shirts and calendars.

If you want an Emoto crystal photograph of your own water sample, it will set you back R4 200, with an additional licensing fee if you plan to use the photograph for any purpose other than looking at it.

You’re advised to wrap the bottle in aluminium foil before posting to his offices in Tokyo, to protect it from being contaminated ”by other information from outside”.

And of course Emoto sells water, ”geometrically perfect water with the message your body is waiting to receive”.

An eight-ounce bottle of ”highly charged hexagonally structured concentrate” will set you back just less than R400.

Hexagonal water? Let his website explain: ”Using a combination of scalarwave energy, laser light, inert noble gases and frequency-emitting crystalline ceramic oscillators, Dr Emoto’s Water is hexagonally structured and imprinted with specific frequencies which are designed to stimulate and encourage mental coherence, symmetry and balance the qualities necessary for optimal functioning in a complex world.”

Emoto has been labelled a quack, and accused of pseudoscience.

Critics say he or his technicians simply select the frozen water crystals from any given batch that appear to support his theory, and reject those that do not.

American sceptic James Randi has offered Emoto $1-million if his results can be reproduced in a double-blind study — a scientific study with checks to eliminate bias and manipulation. Emoto, however, is not biting.

”As long as science needs a double-blind system, no new science appear[s],” he said in a television interview last year.

”Because you know we have two eyes. Why we need to, you know, to be double blind?” he said.

And laughed. — Sapa