|A Visitor's Question: Hi, how are you?
My name is Patrycja and I was researching health effects of water based on ideas of Masaru Emoto when I stumbled on your website.
You are obviously not a fan of his work and to be frank I would like to believe it, but would really like to see results with my own eyes. I was wondering if you had ever tried to recreate his experiment? If no, why is that?
Thanks and have a great day!
|The Bottom Line:
||Emoto has made spectacular
claims about the behavior of water molecules in response to
specific stimuli - human emotions, words and music.
||There is no credible scientific evidence to support Masaru Emoto’s claims that water is able to alter its crystal structure based on human words, thoughts and music.
||That lack of support does
not by itself mean his theories are wrong, it only means
that a very high level of evidence is required to support
those claims as scientific. It is the is
responsibility of the individual who
proposes new theories to provide good experimental
evidence that's well described so it can be repeated by other scientists under controlled conditions.
The evidence Emoto provides (a series of pictures) is
neither high quality nor repeatable. The books Emoto
has published, talks he has given, and products he sells do
not, by themselves, prove any of his theories.
||There is no more reason to believe Emoto's claims about
water and the modification of ice crystals than
to believe that perpetual motion or anti-gravity are valid
scientific claims. I have discussed his books
here as well.
||The scientific community does not discriminate against
those who have novel ideas, but well documented evidence
from critical observation or controlled experiments is
required for those ideas to be evaluated and published.
Hi Patrycja -
You ask a very interesting question; have I, the skeptic, ever tried to recreate Emoto's experiment and test for myself the validity of his claims?
An argument could be made
that if I have not tried to duplicate his work for myself I have no right to
observations or his conclusions about the alleged ability of water to change
physical properties and behavior,
crystallize in different ways,
or become more healing
in response to
input like projected
human emotions, exposure
to specific words, music, and the like.
Before I explain my
thoughts I would like to
several questions to consider?
you have any
expectation that the behavior of water
be influenced in the manner Emoto claims? Is there
in your education
or in your everyday experience with water
that would give you any clue that you can project your thoughts at water and
have it respond in some way? Are you aware of any evidence in the world,
besides the few pictures provided by Emoto, that would support
Have you checked out
background and qualifications
to produce high quality scientific
if even some of
his claims were true,
science as we know it
would be completely revolutionized!
for a moment that
you had never heard of
Imagine now that
your neighbor came up to
you and told you that he
was able to influence how water
storing it in jars
with words like anger
(or projecting thoughts like hate and love). Then he pulled out a few
to prove the claim. Would you be convinced? Remember, the ONLY
evidence Emoto has ever provided to support all of his claims are a few
pictures - Published books, cameo movie appearances and speaking engagements do not constitute proof
that his words or ideas have any validity.
If a friend showed you
a flat blue disc she claimed
emitted far infrared electromagnetic
give you more energy just by
carrying it in your pocket, would you
– how about if four
friends told you it gave them more energy, would that be convincing
– if you read an article
on the Internet that this special blue disc
provided an energy boost
those who carried it,
enough evidence to order one?
aside, on a whim after I wrote this sentence, I Googled
“energy disc” and
actually found a
selling a $399
Disk, another where you can order
$21.50 to $81.99
produce SCALAR energy frequencies in water and a third site that sells
Energy Discs for
plus postage and handling.)
There are a lot of imaginative people
'out there' who would like to exchange their 'magical' products for your hard
So back to
your question, have I
tried to duplicate
In a word,
Does that disqualify me
from critiquing his work?
I don’t believe so for the following
First and foremost, the
scientific community is under no obligation to test every new claim or
about the universe
– even by respected
– never mind
individuals with no
The default position on
the responsibility of
to provide convincing
evidence to support
extraordinary the claim, the more important
it is to provide high quality evidence.
If I claimed I
could mentally dampen the
effects of gravity and jump over a
70 foot tree, I suspect you might want
to see a live
that included some controls to make certain
I could not cheat before you believed that claim.
The magician, James
Randi, has a standing
offer to pay one million dollars to anyone who can
paranormal talent (or the ability to create a
special type of water,
for that matter) under controlled conditions.
To convince other
has value, the evidence
must be comprehensive
clearly explain the theories
that were tested, the experimental design,
methods used to acquire the data, the results obtained, the analytic
techniques employed and the conclusions
evaluate the entire
design their own experiments to
reproduce the results if
is important enough.
Members of the scientific
community, those who
have bothered to weigh in on the subject anyway, remain universally
of Emoto’s claims,
every theory he
the physical and chemical
the periodic table of elements,
origin of life,
the number of elements
in an organism, and
on, and on.
Almost nothing in the two books I have
read that he seems to present as
‘scientific fact’ matches my
- Emoto gives us
no experimental design. He does not provide any framework to understand
exactly what his experiments are supposed to prove, how information from
the words, emotions, and music is transferred to and received by the
water molecules or how that information (once
influence freezing patterns.
- Emoto provides
no clear description of his methods.
A drop of water that freezes does not,
for example, form just one crystal but many
– how is the one
representative crystals for each emotion, word, or music clip
selected for publication? His own
he and his assistants
expectations. A real scientific experiment would be blinded
– in other words, he
select the crystals
to photograph and describe
would not know which water sample had
been exposed to which word/emotion/music treatment. The results would
be analyzed and only then would
the exposure method be revealed.
Blinded experiments reduce the bias that
has been clearly
demonstrated to influence
interpretation, measurements and
study where the
investigator is aware of the
- Emoto certainly
does not provide any real results of his experimental outcomes. A
representative pictures and
list the number, types and descriptions of
(or at least a
that formed at different temperatures for
each of the
treatment methods. There would
dozens to hundreds
of crystals formed for each treatment. Each treatment would
be repeated several
times at different temperatures and with different levels of mineral
contaminants to ascertain
other variables impact crystal
Instead, we are presented with
‘prove’ his theory.
- There is no
analysis of results from Emoto’s
‘experiments’. A real scientific study
attempted to determine whether words, emotions or music had an effect on
crystallization would, as mentioned,
a number of
for each treatment.
These crystals would be categorized by some measurable criteria
(symmetry, shape, type, and even beauty) and the results would be
presented as tables that showed
the distribution of the different
by treatment method. A hypothetical
confirming the theory
55% of crystals from
water exposed to the
‘beauty’ had highly symmetric crystals while only 35% of crystals from
water exposed to the word
had highly symmetric crystals.
It would take specialized
equipment and considerable time and
effort to try and replicate Emoto’s work.
The reason neither I nor any scientific group I am aware of has tried
to repeat his
experiments is that,
for reasons described
there is absolutely no expectation of success. Why bother trying to repeat
a poorly designed, described and conducted experiment that has no theoretical
What would be the benefit
to the scientist investing the time and expense to try and duplicate Emoto's
experiment when the outcome is almost certain failure?
With so little information about
methods available, Emoto
could dismiss any failure to replicate his results as a failure to follow
procedures. There are
better and more worthy efforts in which to invest limited resources.
Introduction: In an Advanced Placement Psychology class at Durango High School in Durango, Colorado, our group attempted to replicate Dr. Masaru Emoto’s water experiments. In his studies, described in the book "The Hidden Messages in Water," Dr. Emoto showed a correlation between thoughts or messages and the formation of water crystals.
Original Methods: In his experiment Dr. Emoto used about fifty different water sources varying from glacial water in Japanese mountains to filtered water from a faucet. Dr. Emoto attached different messages to each water sample and even had a Buddhist monk bless some of them. Some of the messages were: “Love and Gratitude,” “Thank you,” and “You make me sick.” He included a variety of positive and negative thoughts. He then froze the water samples on Petri dishes in a freezer at -4 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 hours. His stated results showed a strong correlation between the message and the formation of the water crystals. Water samples with optimistic messages on them created “nice-looking” crystals and the ones with pessimistic messages created “ugly” crystals.
Critique: Dr. Emoto’s experiment appears to have overlooked certain variables, and some of his conclusions may be based on assumptions that are not necessarily true. For example, Dr. Emoto failed to realize that there are hundreds of crystals in one drop of water, and through “experimenter bias” he may have subconsciously noticed certain crystals while disregarding others because of the suggestion of a certain message. In other words, he could have looked through thousands of crystals to find a beautiful one if he knew the message was a positive one, and – consciously or unconsciously – he could have looked for an ugly crystal if he knew the message was a negative one. Dr. Emoto does not state if the experiment was a “blind” study, a condition where the experimenter is unaware of which messages were attached to which water sample. This measure would eliminate experimenter bias. Because of Dr. Emoto does not specify whether his experimental procedure was blind or not, we do not know if Emoto only photographed the “pretty” crystals because of the positive messages or was unconsciously drawn to “scary” crystals when he looked at samples with negative messages. His experiment is also open to diverse interpretations. He implies that certain crystal structures may reflect the thought that was attached to them, but he fails to recognize that there may be other relevant interpretations for analyzing the crystal formations. Because of the unnoticed variables in the experiment, our high-school A.P. Psychology group decided to try to remake Dr. Emoto’s experiment.
Our Methods: Replicating Dr. Emoto’s experiment proved to be a little more challenging than we originally thought it would be. Dr. Emoto got most of his water samples from the mountains of Japan; we had to settle with water from the Animas River, and other various water samples. This may have created a discrepancy in our conclusions, but both experiments tested the effect of thought on water, so the water type should have had no bearing on our results. We also used a control group for each type of water: A sample that had no message attached. We had five different types of water: Dasani, tap water, river water, filtered tap water, and tap water from a different location. Each type of water was labeled with a color, and for each type we attached 5 different messages to 5 different microscope slides containing the water sample, as well as having one “control” slide with no message. So all together we made 30 slides. The messages we used were “I despise you,” “You make me sick,” “Thank you,” “Love and Gratitude,” and “You are beautiful.” We taped the messages, as well as a piece of colored paper that corresponded to the water type, onto the bottom of each slide. We were unaware of which message was on which slide in each water group. Although we took special precautions and were careful about experimenter bias, our experiment was not as wide-scale as Dr. Emoto’s. We didn’t have nearly as many samples as Dr. Emoto did. Another difficulty we faced was the temperature of the freezer and the time that we left the water in the freezer. Our freezer ranged from -2 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit, while Emoto’s was at -4 degrees. This created different freezing times for the water samples. We had to wait until a thin layer of crystals was just beginning to form on the surface of the water before we could analyze them underneath our microscope, but at the same time, we could not let the water freeze completely or else we could not observe any crystals. We also used glass slides instead of Petri dishes, another source of possible discrepancy.
Conclusion: We did not find sufficient evidence to refute or accept Emoto’s hypothesis that thought influences water crystal formation. We noticed one interesting similarity between two separate groups of water samples: Similar crystals formed on the same message, “I despise you,” in two types of water. But, for the most part, the crystal formations in each water sample resembled each other, regardless of the messages attached to them. We concluded that in order to make a significant finding, further research would have to be done. So, for now, we will have to live with our curiosity and continue to wonder if our thoughts have the power to influence water and ultimately ourselves.
Respectfully submitted by:
Damian Nash (teacher).
AP Psychology Class
Durango High School
May 25, 2004
The one attempt to
duplicate Emoto’s work
I am aware of
school AP Psychology
class at a Durango, CO high
– A submission of the results can be found
to the right (the original link to the report has
Their limited experiment "did not find sufficient evidence to refute or accept Emoto’s hypothesis that thought influences water crystal formation."
http://sharathchandrahc.wordpress.com/tag/emotos-works/ - additional
skeptical information about Emoto.
People like Emoto, who come up with eccentric theories
to describe the natural world (hypotheses that are outside the realm of
traditional science), often claim unfair discrimination against their ideas.
They assert that members of the scientific community are a bunch of thugs
who protect their turf, beat up on weak, underfunded outsiders, and
summarily dismiss any new ideas without giving them a fair hearing. This is
a completely false accusation. Scientific theories – even big ones that
concern the behavior of light, electricity, atoms and gravity – can and do
change - - - provided the new evidence supports the new theory, there is a
reasonable theoretical underpinning presented and the experiments can be
repeated by other skeptical scientists.
There are literally hundreds of exotic theories (and
products based on them) promoted on the Internet that claim to enhance
health in some way. Many of these theories and products, as I describe on my
involve claims that specific characteristics of water molecules (oxidation
state, energy, cluster size, bond angle, etc.) can be modified by some
process (ionization or exposure to magnets, catalysts, energy fields,
vortexes, electromagnetic radiation, centrifugal force, thoughts/intention,
and other processes with completely made up names). Claims are made that the
new characteristics of these ‘altered’ water molecules are stable and can
somehow survive the digestive system, absorb into the blood stream and
interact differently from untreated water in the body to improve some
attribute of health.
If you conduct even the most basic investigation of
these products, though, you will inevitably discover that they have exactly
the same characteristics and limitations as Emoto’s claims described above.
The only evidence you will find that they have any effect on the body, is
provided by the company promoting the product. The only support for the
claims is testimonials
allegedly from people who profess to have experienced a health benefit. You
will find no evidence (or a very limited mention) to support the theory or
product in the published scientific and medical literature.
Of course, to complicate matters, the human mind can react powerfully to
belief and expectation. There are health conditions that react positively to
the suggestion that a treatment or product will work. The placebo effect is
one of the primary phenomena that keep promoters of these products in
business. However, if you take the time to try these ‘altered’ water
products or processes in a blinded, experimental situation, you will find no
difference between them and regular water – that’s my money-back guarantee.
Ultimately you will need to determine whether to
believe the word of someone who is trying to sell you an idea, product or
process that is claimed to provide a health benefit but who is unable to
actually provide any hard evidence to support those claims - either that the
underlying theory is valid or that the product/process works at all.
Although this is probably far more than you wanted to hear, I hope my
explanation helps you understand why I remain completely skeptical of
Emoto’s claims and those of his kindred spirits and why I am passionate
about trying to help others understand why skeptics demand good evidence to
support claims that go beyond the boundaries of traditional scientific