One of the key instructions given after a Bowen session is to drink plenty of water.  This is so that the body’s tissues can fully hydrate and allow the Bowen to be more effective.  It also helps to flush toxins and keep acid waste from building.  The quality of the water you drink though is as important as the quantity.  Do you know what is in the water you drink?  You might be surprised. 

The (not so) pleasant surprises in tap water

There have been a lot of claims, especially by those interested in natural health, that the tap is not an ideal source of drinking water due to contaminants and disinfectants (such as chlorine) used during treatment.  Contaminant testing and monitoring performed by government agencies, such as Sydney Water, go a long way in keeping us safe from major contaminants that pose immediate, serious risk to our health, but is it sufficient for optimal health and well-being over the long term?

I researched the Sydney Water website, and as of the June 2014 I counted 65 contaminants that are tested for in each of the Sydney water supply areas.1 That may sound thorough, but a three year study by the Environmental Working Group revealed 316 contaminants in water supplies across America.2  Some of these contaminants include pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics, antidepressants, oral contraceptives and other hormones that are currently not monitored.3  One result of this that has already been observed is “male fish being feminised - creating egg yolk proteins - a process usually restricted to females.”4

There is a real risk that consuming these pharmaceuticals, as well as all of the other unnamed, unmonitored contaminants could pose health concerns over the long term, especially for those with a compromised immune system.  

Is bottled water any better?

It is a common misconception that bottled water is always more pure and safe than tap water.  In many cases it is, but according to a NRDC report “about one-fourth of bottled water is actually bottled tap water” and “about one-third of the [bottled] water tested contained contamination - including synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic.”5

In 2004, it was discovered that Coca Cola’s bottled water brand, Desani, had been bottled from the Thames River in London and contained bromate, a carcinogen.6

When choosing bottled water it is important that you look for water that is bottled at the source, with a label clearly stating where the water was sourced from.   If the source is not named it is best to assume that it is bottled tap water or from another source that is not pure.  The benefit of buying water bottled at the source, such as Evian, is that it is much less likely to be contaminated, and as a result, legislation does not require chlorine to be added.

So what is the solution?

Before you abandon the idea of drinking water altogether in favour of tea or coffee I would like to provide you with a better alternative.  Home water filtration systems, which most of you will have or be aware of, are a good solution for ensuring the water you drink and cook with is as free of contaminants as possible. 

Reverse osmosis is a popular and effective method of filtering tap water in your home. The caveat though, is that the membranes used in reverse osmosis are so fine that they also filter out all of the beneficial alkaline minerals, leaving the water slightly acidic (pH of 6.5 rather than a neutral 7.0). If you are endeavouring to bring your body back into pH balance, it is important that a re-alkalising/mineralising filter be added to your reverse osmosis system.   You can read my full article on maintaining an appropriate acid alkaline balance.

Brita water filters, readily available in supermarkets, can also be used to filter out chlorine and some contaminants.  They are not as thorough as reverse osmosis, e.g. they do not filter fluoride and it is doubtful that they would filter the pharmaceuticals mentioned above, but they are a simple solution.  Higher quality alternatives to Brita, such as Nikken, can be found on the internet.   

In summary

Hopefully this article hasn’t prompted you to give up water in favour of tea, coffee or soft drinks, but has informed you of potential health concerns of drinking tap water and some brands of bottled water.  Home water filtration systems such as reverse osmosis remove almost all contaminants in water and are a good solution for improving the quality of water you drink. 

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An Introduction to Bowen Therapy