Masaru Emoto: The Language of Emotions in Water Crystals

Masaru Emoto is a Japanese entrepreneur best known for his beautiful photographs of water crystals. Made under a microscope, the intention behind the imagery explores the connection between emotions, words, and reaction. He began his investigation of water crystals in 1994, becoming interested in the effect that spoken words have on the patterns formed by the crystals. By making photographs while saying or showing certain words, he began to experiment with this idea. “Distilled water for hospital usage” was used for his work. Since this type of water “is distilled twice, it can be said that it is pure water.”

His experiments consist of watching the crystals take shape after showing them letters, pictures, playing music, and praying. About their reactions, he states:

“The result was that we always observed beautiful crystals after giving good words, playing good music, and showing, playing, or offering pure prayer to water. On the other hand, we observed disfigured crystals in the opposite situation. Moreover, we never observed identical crystals.”

This is one of Emoto’s photographs of water crystals after showing the word, “eternal.” The beauty revealed in the crystals’ symmetry is extraordinary. Photo courtesy of

The images are stunning — I’ve literally never seen anything like them. When we see the images of the perfect symmetry of the water crystals, like snowflakes, we cannot ignore the inherent beauty in water. That the crystals are significantly magnified speaks to the fact that there is so much more to our universe than what we see on the surface.

Since the beginning of his photographic work with water crystals, Emoto has published 4 successful books on the subject. There has also been a lot of controversy as to whether Emoto’s methods qualify as real science, or whether pseudo-science is a more accurate term to use. From my research on the subject, it seems that the latter is indeed more appropriate. According to many articles that have looked into how he conducts his crystal experiments, even Emoto himself has admitted that he chooses the crystal images based on which suit his hypothesis.

While I feel that Emoto owes it to his audience and customers to be upfront about the fact that his work is not scientifically objective, the inherently subjective nature of the photographs doesn’t lessen their impact for me.

An image showing the crystals after they were exposed to the words, ‘you disgust me.’ Even if this image was hand-picked by Emoto to meet the needs of his hypothesis, I still find the idea quite profound. Photo courtesy of

What I ultimately choose to take away from Emoto’s work is the broader idea that our words and actions affect everything in our universe. His underlying messages of beauty and environmental mindfulness are extremely important. If the water crystal images encourage people to make more conscious choices about their water consumption, and to choose mindful, eco-friendly products such as the Soma water filter, then all the better: they serve a worthwhile purpose, while simultaneously providing us with fascinating imagery.

In a grandeur sense, this relates to how the energy we put out into the world affects everything in some way, even if the impact is not visible to our eyes. If we were to slow everything down, and put all of our actions under a microscope, we might see more clearly as to how a little smile to a stranger can change their whole day, or how picking up a piece of garbage can nurture the earth. It’s these subtle, small words and actions that create value in our lives.

Love and gratitude were the words revealed to these particular water crystals. This gives us a glimpse at the amount of beauty that exists below the surface of what is visible to our human eyes. Photo courtesy of

 Emoto’s water crystals also remind me of the importance of conscious language. This is something I was introduced to during my first time living in Chiang Mai. In short, conscious language is about using our words mindfully:

“Conscious language helps you identify your limiting  beliefs and turn them around to serve your highest choices. (…) It makes sense then that choosing language that is supportive of you and others, that is positive, that affirms and states what you choose to experience, be, do, create, and that doesn’t limit or “short change” you in anyway, would be a smart approach.”

When we choose our words mindfully using conscious language, we can transform ourselves and others into beautiful shapes like this water crystal reacting to the word, ‘wisdom.’ Photo courtesy of

If we approach language mindfully, we have a chance to delve into the meanings behind our words. For example, I rarely use the word ‘should’ anymore. Instead of, ‘I should drink more water,’ I’ll say, ‘I choose to drink more water because I know I feel better when I do.’ Using conscious language encourages us to hold ourselves accountable for our actions, and take responsibility for how we feel.

What I choose to take away from Emoto’s beautiful water work is the gentle reminder that our actions and words influence everything in our world, and thus must be used with great care. Likewise, we can also find ourselves quite affected by what others say to us. Happily, though, we have the agency to choose what beautiful shape we’re going to take, no matter what is being said by others, or happening around us.

What extraordinary shape are you going to take on today through the power of your words and actions?


We are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself.

― Brian Cox