Complementary and alternative medicine Friday Woo Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Water, water, everywhere, and a lot of woo to drink


It’s the essence of life. Our bodies are mostly made up of it, and we can’t live without it for very long. Our cells both contain it and are bathed in it. The enzymatic reactions necessary for life require an aqueous solution to work. Don’t think these facts have escaped the woo-meisters, either. Water woo is a a long time favorite of woo-meisters everywhere. Indeed, it began with the “water cure” favored by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who could be forgiven for coming up with it, given that they had very little idea of how human physiology actually worked and at the very least it felt good to bathe in water even if it didn’t really cure tuberculosis. To the ancient Greeks water had an Expulsive Virtue and was able wash wastes and impurities from the body and dissolve and soften all plethoras, thickenings, hardenings and accretions if given enough time. About two millennia later, an imaginative man named Samuel Hahnemann came up with the ultimate water woo, homeopathy, a “discipline” so odd that even homeopaths have to admit that there is no active substance in their remedies and have to invoke all sorts of handwaving about the “memory of water” to justify their woo. Still more recently, we have the exceedinly entertaining and unbelieveable water woo of Dr. Emoto, who seems to think that he can imbue water with his “intent” just by speaking or singing to it, thus rendering it therapeutic.

Of course, all of these methods are–shall we say?–a bit messy. You have to bathe in the water. You have to dilute something in the water 30 times, vigorously shaking it to “succuss” it at each dilution. Or you have to sing or speak at it with “intent,” whatever that means. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a handy-dandy device that would soup up your water in a few minutes? Of course it would. Wouldn’t it be nice if the device were quick, easy, and convenient? Definitely. Thinks such a device doesn’t exist? Think again. Behold the ADR-4 Energy Stimulator!

But first we need a little background:

Energized water has had its molecules returned to their original life-giving, super moisturizing state. This allows maximum moisture absorption into the cells of your body, pets and plants; a major key to healing, and the maintenance of health and vitality.

Pure, natural, unpolluted spring water is naturally structured water. Since most of us have the mediocre water quality from commercial water producers or municipal services, we need to return tap water to its original, hydrating, life-giving state. Pure, energized, (living, restructured or cluster size reduced) water allows maximum moisture absorption into the cells of our bodies, pets and plants.

Who knew tap water was so evil? My goodness. Why is that? Let’s see:

Without its many anomalies, life would not be possible. One of water’s unique properties is its ability to form large crystalline structures. Ordinary water forms large clusters that resemble geodesic domes consisting of 168 molecules. Only a small fraction of the water we use is in small clusters of 4, 8 or 12 molecules that are permeable to the cellular wall. Almost all of the water we drink does not hydrate, it only irrigates our tissues. Your body has to work very hard to convert the regular water into the small cluster water that is vital to all bodily functions.

The liquid crystal structures formed by water molecules reflect the experiences this water has had. When treated or exposed to pollutants, the arrangement of water molecules changes. This water memory affects all living tissue – homeopathy is based on this quality, and has been demonstrated beyond any doubt.

Several experiments have been carried out to help us visualize the resulting effect dissolved substances, and even just thoughts or sounds, may have on water. The very popular pictures taken by Dr. Emoto and his team. Under a microscope, the arrangement of natural, unpolluted and well handled water molecules appear hexagonal and symmetrical, arranged in harmonious patterns.

Yes! I just knew references to homeopathy and Dr. Emoto couldn’t be far behind. I particularly love the claim that water we drink doesn’t hydrate but only irrigates. This is utter nonsense of course, but it sounds so plausible if you don’t know any chemistry. Strike that. It doesn’t sound plausible even if you do know something about chemistry to say that the reason that tap water is so nasty is because it “remembers” exposure to pollutants. Add Dr. Emoto and his aiming “intent” at water and doing his uncontrolled “experiments” taking pictures of water crystals.

But, supposing for a moment that all this is true (I know, I know, but bear with me), what can you–yes, you!–do about it? Why, first you have to recognize the symptoms of dehydration due to not being adequately hydrated by the nasty water you drink. There are listed 13 symptoms that supposedly indicate that you suffer from dehydration. I won’t go through all of them, but suffice it to say that they encompass nearly every body system you can imagine. My favorite, however, is #4:

High and Low Blood Pressure: The body’s blood volume is not enough to completely fill the entire set of arteries, veins, and capillaries.

Nice! High or low blood pressure can be the indication of this mystical “dehydration.”

Oh, wait. there’s one more that made me howl with laughter:

Premature Aging: The body of a newborn child is composed of 80 percent liquid, but this percentage declines to no more than 70 percent in an adult and continues to decline with age.

You realize, of course, that the decrease in the percentage of total body water that happens as infants grow up into adults has nothing to do with “premature aging.”

OK, enough’s enough as far as the silly health misinformation. It’s amusing enough in and of itself, but not as much as the device that is the center of this woo:

ADR-4® Energy Stimulator is a ceramic-magnetic disc embedded in a special 4-inch diameter casing, which can support containers of food and beverages.

The main component of the disc is a ceramic element on which mathematically defined magnetic elements of precise dimensions and magnetic intensities and element containing substances warranting resonance effects are mounted.

These elements generate specific spatial distributions of complex magnetic fields, infrared radiation and resonance effects required for modification of the intermolecular structure of water molecules.

The resulting cluster structure of water carries a healing energetic influence similar to that of homeopathy and is more compatible with the bodily functions of organisms.

It looks like a hot plate to me.

The best part of this woo is all the “science-y”-looking graphs and charts that litter the bottom half of the webpage. There are charts that claim to show that this “energized water” improves kidney filtration, decreases heartrate, and even improves blood circulation:


Yep. I’m convinced by some crappy infrared photography. Aren’t you? The picture on the left is supposed to be before drinking the energized water, the one on the right after seven days of drinking it. The difference couldn’t possibly be due to differences in technique or the temperature of the room, could it?

My favorite chart of all of these, though, is this one:


Fig. 4. Effects of ADR-4® energized water on energy balance in man, measured with the RYODORAKU method: A – before energized water intake, B – 30 minutes after ingestion of ADR-4® energized water. Section B – clearly shows restoration of energy balance between corresponding points on meridians of the left and right side of the body, visualized by vertical bars of corresponding colors. Also seen is a change in values of energy levels at particular points toward normal level. Subsequent pairs of bars correspond to different organs of the body.

I’d really, really, really like to know what the units of measurement are on the y-axis. Water woo units? Qi flow in J/sec? The authors don’t say. But it sure does look like science.

In any case, there follow a bunch of graphs that are a veritable cornucopia of dubious measurements to tell marks–I mean clients–that there’s something wrong with them. There’s even live cell imaging, perhaps one of the silliest of woo tests. Basically if it’s woo, it’s probably there on that page, and if it’s not on that page it’s probably elsewhere on the website.

I can guess what you’re thinking: This all sounds too good to be true. Don’t worry. There are plenty of testimonials of this nature:

I brought my ADR-4 to a good number of parties. I love teasing people – I pour out a couple of glasses of wine, charge one of them with the ADR-4, and have several people compare the taste of the wine in both glasses. Most can’t believe it is the same drink, and always pick the charged wine as their favorite.

John in Chicago

“I Turn Regular Food Into Gourmet Organics!”

I take my ADR-4 everywhere I go – it is always in my purse. I charge up my drinks, and all of my food. Even fast food restaurant meals taste OK!

Damn! Turn cheap wine into the good stuff and fast food into gourmet organic meals? I’m there! Lest you think this is all nothing more than hype, don’t forget to check out all the awards from INPEX, Eureka, and, most curiously of all, Medal Marie Skłodowska-Curie. It makes me wonder what the judges were drinking (or smoking) when they discussed the ADR-4 device.

Of course, you may think this is too good to be true. It is–if you’re a patient. It’s not, however, if you’re selling this device. Each one is a cool $80 a piece. Not bad for a plastic disc with a ceramic element and a couple of magnets. Just add woo to it, and the profits will roll in.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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