In this article you will learn:
What structured water is in principle and why it's important
What the research says for and against using it as a supplement or therapy
What other factors are involved in creating structured water in your body
One of my favorite movies as a kid was James Cameron’s 1989 The Abyss. I’ll never forget the classic scene when the alien consciousness comes into their station as a “water worm” hovering around and interacting with the main characters. Not only was it a visual breakthrough at the time, as all of Cameron’s movies usually are, it was also a mind-blowing idea. The notion that an alien intelligence inhabits our planet’s oceans, uses it to take form and communicate, build technology and observe our actions was something totally fascinating to me as a young science nerd.
Yet despite this Hollywood dramatization, perhaps the idea of intelligent, alien water is not too far off. After all, some of the water on our planet is alien in nature; both in its origin from outside sources, like comets, and through some of the strange properties it has. For how simple water appears, it’s an immensely complex fluid. It is engineering perfection, and according to some people, intelligent and capable of holding on to memory.
We'll dive into some of that here, but it’s important to gain a fundamental appreciation for just how weird water actually is first. Consider the following two examples.
Recently, researchers were able to use nanotubes made of carbon to raise the pressure on water at a small scale. Normally, raising the pressure affects the boiling and freezing points, although in nature this hardly accounts for more than a degree or so in either direction. Yet in this experiment, they were able to raise the freezing point of water above the boiling point, meaning that water was frozen, or rather solidified, when it should have been boiling using nanotechnology.(1)
If that doesn’t blow your mind, another recent study done in 2019 discovered a phase of water in the form of black, hot ice that’s 4 times heavier than normal water.(2) Furthermore, did you know that when water is in ice form, it actually has over 20 different geometric phases it can go through depending on the pressure and its surrounding conditions?(3)
It’s fascinating that so many complex properties can emerge from something so seemingly simple, but it is this simplicity which also gives water its profound characteristics and healing properties. Chemically, everyone is familiar with H2O, but what most people don’t realize is that this structure is a beautiful marvel of engineering and the principle of duality.
Water as a Di-Pole
On one side of the molecule (the oxygen side) it has a negative charge while on the other (with the two hydrogen atoms) it has a positive charge. These features make water molecules dipoles, or little magnets with a positive and negative side. If you’ve ever visited one of those trendy futuristic stores in the mall and played with some magnets that can self-arrange or create all kinds of interesting structures, that’s basically what water does a gazillion times per second.
On a microscopic level, it’s like a bunch of these little magnets moving around, restructuring themselves and shuffling their hydrogen atoms like an unfathomably large mass of self-correcting Lego blocks; only to you and me, it just seems like a
smooth, relatively boring liquid.
Water’s simple structure and versatile nature make it ideal for life and biological systems. As we will soon see, its unique features create several intriguing functional properties in your body. It has a neutral pH (meaning it is neither an acid nor alkaline), and pure water does not conduct electricity, although it can conduct light and sound, which we will look at a little later. Water has also been called the “universal solvent” because more substances can dissolve in it than any other. In its solid form (ice) it is strangely less dense than in liquid form, which allows oceans to teem with life by
freezing them from the top down instead of uniformly.
Water is the empty canvas, the embodiment of Yin, the subtle element of space. It is like the lens of your eye, ubiquitous and seemingly unimportant, and yet without it, all that is disappears. In the famous words of Nobel laureate, Albert Szent Gyorgyi, life is “water dancing to the tune of macromolecules.” What this quote refers to is that Gyorgyi was one of the first to
research something very profound: that biological systems act as complex semiconductors, with water as the medium.
Now, we know that pure water doesn’t conduct electricity, so what gives? This is true, but the water in your body, along with many of your structures like collagen and other proteins, actually do conduct electricity because of their structure and because of the presence of other things like proteins and minerals. This is a fascinating topic, and the more you explore it the more it leaves you utterly speechless at the marvel of engineering that our body is.
One thing to really get into your mind is that human life, as we perceive it through the
individual lens of a separate organism walking around, is not the apex of creation nor the highest form of intelligence out there. This old way of thinking that basically a bunch of “stupid” parts eventually mixed up through their random movements to create “smart” parts (like us) leaves little room for curiosity or humility. It’s an outdated view and one that simply doesn’t hold water (pun intended) when you actually study what goes on at a microscopic level.
The Living Matrix
An example of this flawed thinking is that cells are just these separate units floating around in your body. While true in the sense that your cells have walls and barriers designed to tightly control what goes in and out of them, this idea ignores the principle of interdependence because in reality there is also a robust connective network between cells that’s made of proteins and other substances.
This “living matrix” is composed of your fascia, collagen and other similar proteins, and
together with water they facilitate rapid electrical communication between your cells in stunning ways.(4)
According to researcher and author of several books and articles on energy medicine, Dr. James Oschman:
“The living matrix is defined as the continuous molecular fabric of the organism, consisting of fascia, the other connective tissues, extracellular matrices, integrins, cytoskeletons, nuclear matrices and DNA. The extracellular, cellular and nuclear biopolymers or ground substances constitute a body-wide reservoir of charge that can maintain electrical homeostasis and ‘inflammatory preparedness throughout’ the organism.”
Don’t worry if half of that stuff flew over your head — it went over mine, too, when I dove into the research. The thing to get from it is that your body is not just a sack of meat with stupid stuff moving around in it, but rather some of the most complex pieces of machinery in the universe. Water is more than some boring liquid that’s solely there to quench your thirst, and empty space is not just some useless leftover from creation, but rather highly purposeful and full of things we don’t yet understand.
When it comes to the complex machinery of your body, the space inside your cells and in between your cells is full of proteins that conduct a light current.(5,6) The collagen that builds your ligaments is so intelligently designed that it even has piezoelectric and pyroelectric effects.(7,8) What does that even mean? Anything that is “piezo” electric accumulates a charge when mechanical stress is placed on it, and “pyro” just means “fire,” which means it can accumulate a charge when it is heated up.
In simpler terms, these parts of your body gain an electrical charge as you move
around and bring heat into your system. Congratulations, you’re kind of like a biological Rolex.
Interestingly, even DNA has been shown to act as a semiconductor,(9) and it’s been proposed that all of these various intra and inter-cellular structures act as a complex wiring system that serves multiple purposes in communication, as well as buffering disease and damage to our system as a whole.(10) Where water may play a role in all of this machinery is the exciting area of research that has gained traction in recent years, thanks to people like Dr. Gerald Pollack and a few others. I believe their findings and perspectives are, at the very least, intriguing. Taken to their fullest extent,
it could be a revolution in health and how we perceive several fundamental biological processes - but as usual everything must be examined with conservative caution.
The Magic of EZ Water
In his 2013 book, The 4th Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid and Vapor, Dr. Pollack theorizes that because the surfaces of all of these proteins and connective tissues hold a charge, water that comes into contact with them on a microscopic level begins to self-organize into a more structured format. Recall the magnet metaphor and how water molecules are dipoles, constantly shifting around like a giant soup of little Lego blocks to produce what we see on a macro scale- plain old liquid water.
Now imagine that there’s a wall, also made of magnets that are all tightly linked to one
another, and these chaotic Lego blocks come into contact with this wall. What would happen? Interestingly, this type of surface would force our haphazard Lego blocks into organizing themselves in a more structured format.
As each water molecule gets attracted and “locked in” place onto the wall, they begin forming a “sheet” of water molecules, which in turn forces the next set of water molecules on top like sheet and so on.(11) This structure, according to Dr. Pollack, is the
“4th phase” because it’s somewhere between a solid and a liquid, somewhat like a gel, and through its creation explains many important biological phenomenon.
CEO and founder of SelfHacked, Joe Cohen, discusses several key conclusions that we can take from structured or “EZ” water, in an interview with Dr. Pollack. Why is it called EZ water, by the way? Not because it’s easy to understand, that’s for sure. EZ actually stands for “exclusion zone,” which refers to the structured area that the water forms, according to Pollack’s experiments.
When the charged surface of a protein imposes a structure on water, this higher level of order essentially pushes out or “excludes” everything else because there’s no more room in between the tightly interlaced water molecules for pollutants or other chemicals.
It’s sort of like this: imagine a crowded street in New York with people crossing to and fro on their way to work or running errands. It’s a madhouse, but you can still squeeze by, and the general flow of people would be continuous. Now, let’s imagine that a street performer suddenly started doing something crazy, and people flocked to line up and watch the action; bundling as tight as they can to get a peek at the performance.
Movement in this area totally stops because people are “locked” in place by how “attractive” the show is. We can now say that this part of the street is a lot harder to cross and it has gone from being “fluid” to a more “solid” orientation.
If you’ve ever been to a huge concert it’s the same thing. The worst ever is to be right at the front and then suddenly have to go to the bathroom. Why? Because people don’t move. In a sense, you have been “excluded” from the bathroom because there is no proper flow of people to allow you to move easily. Make sense so far? This is what’s theorized to happen with water, at a microscopic level, in your body as it comes into contact with all of those important structures, and according to the interview mentioned previously,(12) and Dr. Pollack’s work, EZ water has some of the following benefits and characteristics:
1. EZ water is structured in and around our cells and is negatively charged; providing
energy like a battery. When it forms, the structuring process distributes charge – with
negative charge on the structured side and positive charge being forced above the
structured layer to the “top” or outside of these layers. This division of charges allows
it to work just like a battery with a positive and negative side. Plants use structured
water for this purpose, and since we also have similar mechanisms, it’s hypothesized
that some of our energy comes from structured water as well.
2. EZ water acts as an antioxidant in cells because of its negative charge, meaning it can
lend an electron to free radicals and toxins, which are positively charged. Perhaps this
is the “reservoir” against stress and oxidation that others have commented on when
referring to the living matrix theory.
3. In line with above, one could say that aging is our body’s loss of the ability to produce EZ water. Since toxins and free radicals are positively charged, they consume the EZ
water reservoir and then damage membranes, which in turn makes it harder to
produce EZ water, eventually leading to the decline of many functions in our bodies
4. Light seems to structure water (especially infrared light), and so do other things like
pressure, cold therapy, essential minerals, probiotics and most every other thing that
contributes to health. Interestingly, aspirin significantly creates structured water,
which may be part of the mechanism as to why it works in such mysterious ways.
5. EZ water may be a driver for blood and lymph flow. In one of Pollack’s experiments,
he submerged a small tube with charged surfaces into normal or “bulk” water. These
surfaces, just like the protein structures in our bodies, predictably created an EZ
water layer. The crazy thing is that the charged EZ water layer began to propel the
bulk water through the tube, creating a mechanical flow without any direct energy
This last part to me is very intriguing. Other examples of this kind of magnetic propulsion are seen in experiments using magnets for tracks in perpetual motion machines and even in the hyperloop system that Elon Musk wants to build across the world.(13)
This type of “free” energy propulsion, according to Dr. Pollack, may be what’s responsible for capillary blood flow and even lymph flow; as we have yet to have an explanation for how the latter actually happens. It may also be another dimension to how plants utilize light and water to grow and maintain themselves over time without a heart to physically pump anything.
There are many wide-ranging conclusions if these findings are accurate representations of what is actually happening in and around our cells, and several others have added to this work with their own expertise. Dr. Stephanie Seneff, one of the world’s leading experts on sulfate and sulfation pathways in the body, proposed that a deficiency in sulfate (make sure you eat your garlic, onion and cruciferous vegetables) is actually the reason for atherosclerosis.(14)
Without getting too technical (because it is), the insides of your blood vessels are lined with these important structures that create EZ water for the propulsion of cells and blood. Sulfate is a compound called a kosmotrope,(15) which is a cool name and has an equally cooler role of promoting the formation of EZ water in your body. Sulfate is needed in a variety of processes, and when it’s deficient, the body can’t do what it needs inside your blood vessels, which may compound other causes of inflammation (like having low nitric oxide levels or high homocysteine levels) to create the end product of atherosclerosis.
Because sulfate is also incredibly important in many other areas of your metabolism, but the blood is a priority, this deficiency over time may contribute to less EZ water by pulling needed sulfur from other membranes and structures like your gut, glutathione (your master antioxidant) and other pathways. Toxins and pesticides, like glyphosate, are sulfate’s worst enemy, and as we accumulate them in our body, we start to get the traditional downward spiral of death and decay.
Others over the years have also independently verified Pollack’s observations that water does some funky structural things on a microscopic level. Researchers from many prestigious universities like Oxford, Berkeley and Cornell, as well as international teams, have observed the structuring, excluding behavior of water in a variety of contexts,(16,17,18,19,20,21,22) suggesting that this structure is uniquely suited for biological processes and facilitating the exchange of information and energy.
Because water is about 70% of our body and smaller than every other molecule floating around, it’s estimated that 99% of our molecules (by amount) are water. This is the same as saying that most of your body, in terms of cell count, is bacterial. By the numbers, bacteria outnumber our cells by about 10:1, though they are much smaller.
Congratulations, now you’ve got some brand-new obnoxious party facts to share with your friends.
But what does it mean if all of these things about water are true? What impact does it have on our health and the interventions we do? Should you spend a ton of money on that structured water at the store or buy a fancy filter that claims to structure your water for you?
As you can imagine, findings with this level of implication on health, wellness and science have not gone without objection and scrutiny, especially when the market has been quick to saturate with magical energy waters that solve nearly every ailment but death. Since we’ve done our homework in understanding what EZ water is proposed to be, let’s now consider the opposing council.
The following are a few arguments against EZ water:
1. The proposed molecular configuration of this 4th phase of water is H3O2, which
would mean an entirely new compound with new characteristics(23) and biochemistry.
If this is true, there are many unanswered questions as to how this would be formed,
how long it lasts and what chemical interactions it would have.
2. Although water does tend to cluster, these clusters have an infinitesimal lifetime(24)
rather than remaining in a permanently organized fashion.
3. Water expands when it structures into ice by approximately 9%.(25) If EZ water
experienced even half of that expansion, it would have significant impacts on our
biology. At the very least, it would be visible when transforming bulk water into EZ
water with specialized machines. Assuming a 4.5% expansion, 1 liter of water would
expand by 45mL. Taken even further, let’s use an average 72kg (160lb) body
containing 40 liters of water. If we assume a conservative amount of 80% of that
water being EZ water, that’s a total of about 32 liters of water in your body.
Using the expansion number of 4.5% above (again, an assumption based on half the
amount of ice expansion), that’s a total volume difference of about 1.4 liters that you
would feel in your body. Remember that this is a conservative estimate based on the
numbers we used, meaning that the likelihood of how much water would be
expanded is probably higher. I’m not sure how that would feel or if you would feel
anything at all because your body would distribute it somehow, but a liter and a half is
a good amount of fluid and that’s using just half the expansion rate of ice and a super
conservative estimate for how much EZ water is supposedly in the body.
4. The proteins that mediate water flow through the cell (aquaporins) only allow water
to flow one molecule at a time,(26) meaning that it can’t possibly be structured if it is
passing through these channels.
5. There is no way to measure the EZ water in your body or to know if consuming EZ
water survives digestion and maintains its supposed structure. Proponents claim that
once you make EZ water in a container using a specialized device it can be shelf
stable for months. Yet, there is no way to test for this or to know for sure, considering
how many variables (light, heat, air, etc.) can alter the structure of things at a
6. Eating a diverse diet, taking supplements, consuming collagen, getting sunlight and
exercise and practically every other healthy thing you know to do already supposedly
creates EZ water. The infrared light bouncing around everything in the universe also
triggers the formation of EZ water in your cells. If this is all true, what value is there in
spending loads of money on special water devices compared to just adopting healthy
These and other considerations are alive and well today, and it is noteworthy to mention that even Dr. Pollack admits the science is evolving on the phenomenon he has observed. There is definitely something going on with water. If you carry the belief that life is intelligently designed and not made of “stupid” blocks that randomly coalesce into smarter blocks, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that there are simply things we just don’t understand, even though they are right under our nose.
Nevertheless, the marketing for EZ water and its related products is something you are bound to run into on your journey to better health because it’s only getting more popular. What you believe about water will also influence what you believe about other energy medicine practices like homeopathy.
Many proponents use what we’ve discussed, along with other pseudoscientific work like the photographs of water produced by author Masaru Emamoto, to justify a particular therapy’s effect on your body or energy field. That’s why this topic is so important to understand.
On my own journey, I’ve explored integrating this idea in various ways. Personally, I am not convinced that drinking structured water will do anything because of the rigors of your digestive system. Placebo is also a powerful and real force to be reckoned with. Many people who are highly into energy medicine, and swear by it, also fit the characteristics of those most susceptible to placebo or things like hypnotism.
This is not a bad thing because placebo is a real and powerful phenomenon. But the question is, how do you separate and measure it from any purported benefits of EZ water so that you can justify the cost?
It’s a tough one, and what’s tougher is that the price tag for incorporating EZ water into your life is pretty hefty. Aside from the natural ways you can create it, if you actually want to get a device to structure your water it’s going to cost you. As I looked into this for myself, I found a popular company called Nanovi, which sells devices that use light to structure water vapor. The device is simple; you just hook it up and have a breathing session for 15, 30 or 60 minutes depending on the power of the device.
What isn’t so simple is justifying the thousands of dollars it costs for one of these things. The cheapest device, requiring 60 minutes of your time per session, is a little over $5,000. If you don’t have time for that, it’s okay – the 15-minute version is almost $14,000.
Of course, my first question was, “Where are your studies?” And while the reps were generous in sharing some interesting research on reduced oxidation markers and increased performance (like HRV and reduced lactate after exercise), the price tag for even the cheapest machine would be equivalent to 3 years’ worth of high-quality supplements, testing and therapy as I've outlined in my 5 Pillars of Optimal Health.
It was a hard choice, but after a few minutes of thoughtful consideration I decided that the magical vapor machine was something better left for another time.