water_running_fastHumankind needs a low-cost, low-side effects therapy for disseminated infections like HIV and multidrug-resistant TB.  In fact, circumstantial evidence and logic suggest that such a therapy exists.  But, for perverse reasons, it has never been properly tested.  That therapy is Biophotonic Therapy, which can be administered to the blood extracorporeally with various kinds of light or intravenously with a low-intensity laser.  BT has an excellent track record as a treatment of viral disorders ranging from bulbar spinal poliomyelitis to chronic hepatitis.  Invented in the United States in the 1920s, BT has been used extensively in Germany and Russia, but not in any clinical trial against HIV or MDR-TB.

Biophotonic Therapy, however, is not the only approach that calls out for testing against HIV, MDR-TB, and other disseminated infections.  Another candidate is Magnetized Water Therapy.

Magnetized Water therapy is much less well characterized than BT.  Anton Mesmer, M.D. and his followers in the 18th century were the first known to use MW extensively (Gauld, Alan (1992). A History of Hypnotism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).  Mesmer himself was an eclectic, empirical practitioner who concocted a wobbly theory of “animal magnetism” to explain his results.  He and his adherents prescribed MW as an adjunct to direct treatment with magnets, therapeutic touch, and hypnosis.  Mesmer himself seems not to have known which of the several remedies he employed in each case was having the healing effect.  He was, however, sufficiently confident regarding the outcomes of his combination therapy that he called his shots, performing a triage of the afflicted presented to him whereby he picked out those whose ailments he knew he could treat successfully.

The range of disorders that Mesmer was reported to have treated successfully corresponds roughly to the range for which BT is effective.  For instance, both were claimed to be effective against carbuncles and cataracts, while neither appeared effective against glaucoma.  (For lists of the various indications that Mesmer and his followers claimed to have treated successfully, see Gauthier, A. (1845). Traité pratique du magnétisme et du somnambulisme…. Paris: Germer Baillière; and Rouillier, A. (1818). Exposition physiologique des phénomènes du magnétisme animal et du somnambulisme. Paris: J.G. Denter .)

Although the Mesmerists sang the praises of “healing water”, and their patients presumably drank a good deal of it, over time Mesmer himself and his successors came to favor the psychological elements of their repertoire, which led them ultimately to espouse various kinds of hypnotism.  A few practitioners inspired by Mesmer stuck with the use of magnets in the practice of so-called “Mineral Magnetism”; but nobody appears to have considered whether magnetized water itself was a significant factor, if not, indeed, the leading remedy ˆ’that was effectuating the regular cures that Mesmer and his followers claimed and which seem to have in many cases actually occurred.

Mesmer himself eventually shifted to “magnetizing” water not with an iron magnet but with a few strokes of his hand, which was imitated by his followers and considerably confounds any attempt at analysis.  It is, of course, entirely possible that over years of handling crude iron magnets, the hands of Mesmer and other magnet healers became themselves mineralized and magnetized, thereby providing a mechanism to explain their vaunted powers of therapeutic touch.   Still, it would be quite a stretch to claim that a few quick passes of the healer’s hands could adequately energize water for a medicinal purpose.

Neglected Even As It Shows Promise

In the many popular books and Websites that discuss magnet therapy, references to MW tend to be fleeting.  MW is not even mentioned in an otherwise rather thorough review of magnet therapy (Vallbona, C. and T. Richards (1999), “Evolution of Magnetic Therapy from Alternative to Traditional Medicine,” Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America 10:3:Aug:729-54).  In contrast to the hundreds of reports of clinical trials of BT in the treatment of a wide range of diseases, MW’s clinical trial record is exceedingly scanty.  MW has been used as a treatment of urinary calculi (Zhang, Y.S. and H.W. Wu (1987), “Der Einfluss von magnetischem Wasser auf Harnsteine—eine experimentelle und klinische Studie,” Zeitschrift für Urologie und Nephrologie 80:9:517-23) and, in conjunction with surface magnets, as a treatment of ascariasis in children (Wu, J. (1989), “Further Observations on the Therapeutic Effect of Magnets and Magnetized Water against Ascariasis in Children-Analysis of 114 Cases,” Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 9:2:111-2). Millions of people worldwide drink magnetized or otherwise energized “healing water” daily as a kind of general prophylaxis, though there does not seem to be any clinical evidence pro or con regarding its validity. Magnetization of water is also playing a proven, ever-growing role in industry as a means of reducing scale and microbial infiltration.

A Korean study of diabetic rats (Effect of the magnetized water supplementation on blood glucose, lymphocyte DNA damage, antioxidant status, and lipid profiles in STZ-induced rats.  Nutrition Research and Practice 2013;7(1):34-42) contained a treatment group of 16 with diabetes, half receiving magnetized water for 8 weeks and half receiving ordinary water, and a control group of 8 healthy rats that received ordinary water as part of regular feeding.  After 8 weeks, the treatment group was sacrificed.  The magnetized water rats had decreased blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin, unlike the other diabetic rats.  The magnetized water rats also had less blood and liver DNA damage than the other diabetic rats.  The authors suggested that the “intake of magnetized water (over 8 weeks) may be beneficial in both prevention and treatment of complications in diabetic patients.”

In a broader sense, there has been an increasing appreciation of the role that water plays in living systems. The specific finding that gave the impetus to the hypothesis that MW is in fact an effective treatment of HIV and MDR-TB, for instance, was the discovery by Vanderbilt researchers (or rather by their patients, who tipped them off) that “Water drinking increases blood pressure profoundly in patients with autonomic failure and substantially in older control subjects” (Jordan, Jens et al. (2000), “The Pressor Response to Water Drinking in Humans. A Sympathetic Reflex?,” Circulation, Feb. 8:504-9).  While the researchers could not identify the causes of this pressor effect, its very existence calls attention to the close relationship between water intake and the blood.  From the perspective of MW therapy, it raises the question of whether the effect of the therapy is not a result of some vague percolation of magnetized water throughout the entire body but rather the consequence of a specific impact of the “charge” in MW on the ultrasensitive red blood cells.

Two important scientific aspects of MW deserve careful analysis in future studies.  The first is the physics and chemistry of magnetized water itself.  Water of many kinds is fundamental to life.  Scientists study water from various perspectives to understand its role in Nature.  As water undergoes magnetization, it presumably develops special physicochemical characteristics that have an influence on its action in vivo.  The means and degree of magnetization, the energy state of water molecules after they lose their “charge” upon leaving the magnetic field, the presence of other chemicals in solution, the analogy with electroactivated water, and alterations of permeability of membranes are all of interest.

Second, MW is clearly a drug and follows the general principles of pharmacology, correctly understood, just as Biophotonic Therapy does.  As a physical therapy MW appears to resemble the various therapies termed “Physical Hemotherapy” in Russia (For a survey, see Ulashchik, V.S. (1999), “Hemophysiotherapy: Foundation, Perspectives of Utilization and Research [Russian],” Voprosy Kurortologii, Fizioterapii i Lechebnoi Fizicheskoi Kultury 3:May-Jun:3-9). These include Biophotonic Therapy (low-intensity red laser and ultraviolet) but also Magnetic Hemotherapy, in which extracorporeal blood is exposed to a pulsed or steady magnetic field before being reinfused.  The therapeutic profile and mechanisms of action of Magnetic Hemotherapy are virtually identical to those of Biophotonic Therapy.  So it seems reasonable to hypothesize that MW is just a different means of applying Magnetic Hemotherapy, i.e., that the central mechanism of action of MW is its activation of the blood cells, red and white.

Various theories seek to explain the medicinal effects of activated blood cells.  While one sees in BT the full range of white blood cell effects, there may be an even more fundamental action of the red blood cells, though what this might consist of is not clear.  In effect, the various kinds of Physical Hemotherapy stimulate the immunological response of all blood cells; but because there are 700 RBCs for every WBC, they might actually be primarily red blood cell therapies.  Thus it is to be anticipated that, if MW indeed fits into this category, it might have a very high effectiveness in destroying many kinds of pathogens, including HIV and MDR-TB.

While MW and BT appear to possess major advantages over drug therapies of HIV and MDR-TB (lower cost, potentially fewer side effects, possibly greater effectiveness), MW appears potentially superior to BT in several ways.  MW does not involve extracting blood, using needles and heparin, or the danger of transmission of infections (optimal approaches to BT remove heparin and transmission of infection as problems).  In addition, BT sometimes raises unwarranted concerns, whereas MW is generally perceived as harmless, ˆ’so there may be psychological/placebo and compliance advantages.  In fact, BT and MW are both drugs and follow the principles of pharmacology, ˆ’i.e., they have a therapeutic range, indications, counterindications, and side effects.

That the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not consider magnets and MW as drugs is a failure of both observation (of the many anecdotal reports of magnetic effects on health) and insight (into fundamental principles of pharmacology). In defense of the FDA, however, it should be noted that any attempt to regulate the use of magnets in popular healing would be fraught with political, scientific, and enforcement nightmares.

In Close-to-Nature Medicine can be found a protocol for a clinical trial to treat early-stage HIV with Magnetized Water Therapy.

Mechanism of Action of Homeopathy

Magnetized Water therapy has an unacknowledged cousin:  homeopathy.

In the 200 years since Samuel Hahnemann, M.D. devised his “Law of Similars” (Similia similibus curentur, ˆ’Like things should be cured by like), homeopathy has attracted millions of devoted adherents as well as a host of critics.  Proponents’ claim that after 30 hundred-fold dilutions of a dubiously therapeutic substance some efficacious principle remains in the water, if only as a “memory”, has been hard to reconcile with known laws of chemistry and physics.  However, a long history of remarkable cures and the widespread popularity of homeopathy have led to extensive clinical studies of its purported effects.  A very thorough meta-analysis of clinical trials of homeopathy concluded that its results “are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are completely due to placebo” (Linde, Klaus et al. (1997), “Are the Clinical Effects of Homoeopathy Placebo Effects? A Meta-analysis of Placebo-controlled Trials,” The Lancet 350:834-43, 839).

One interpretation is that homeopathy works as a kind of energy medicine, parallel to MW and BT.  The repeated succussion of containers with a diluted homeopathic medicine may be adding energy to the bonds of water so that the last dilution contains highly energized molecules of water.  Then they in turn energize the powder that forms the tablets, and this energy activates the blood cells to deliver a therapeutic benefit.  Homeopathy and BT can both induce an initial healing crisis, which then gives way to the desired therapeutic result.  With BT, the healing crisis occurs only in inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.  It signals that the therapy has correctly targeted the disease-causing cells, and further treatment will destroy them.  Researchers need to conduct comparative investigations of the healing crisis (or lack thereof) in homeopathy, BT, and Magnetized Water Therapy, both for patient care and for better understanding of their mechanisms.


Kenneth J. Dillon is a historical and scientific researcher.   See the biosketch at About Us.

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