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Book Review: "Water & Salt: The Essence of Life"

Water & Salt BookBy Julie Larson

Although most people know humans have a basic need for the primal fundamentals, water and salt, most of us probably don’t realize the exact reasons why.

Water & Salt: The Essence of Life authors Dr. Barbara Hendel and Peter Ferreira want to give you a better idea. The book is laid out neatly in six sections, in addition to the introduction and conclusion: The Biophysics, The Water, The Salt, The Sole, The Forms and The Applications. For clarity, this review is cut into two parts due to the amount of information packed into this relatively small 217 page book.

Just reading the book made me wonder about the beginning of life on Earth. Water and salt have been around and important since that time, albeit in the form of Sole. While people already realize the positive health implications of these two natural elements, the book is intended “to make true life-giving properties of water and salt understandable to everyone.” After all, the small ocean of amniotic fluid we all grew in is the same water and salt solution (one part salt to one hundred parts water) as the ocean.

So let’s swim.

The Biophysics


This section aims to provide the scientific evidence and understanding that supports water and salt as health conduits and to ease potential doubts. Let’s face it; natural health books don’t always include this information, but it’s integral to the foundation of the entire book.

Something new to me was its attention to the difference between biochemistry (focusing on the conditions of dead matter) versus biophysics (focusing on vital living matter).

The study of biophysics relies largely on what we don’t know or haven’t proven yet, something that conflicts with the scientific notion that to prove something, a certain condition must occur again and again –something pretty difficult with the dynamism of kinetic material.

Basically what the authors say with regard to high quality water and salt, is that just because conventional science doesn’t say so, doesn’t mean these two substances don’t have enormous amounts of energy potential; it’s just not proven the same way.

Supplemental vitamins and minerals are also covered. According to the authors, what’s essential to note is the form any given element comes in: “You may ingest fifty pounds of calcium pills, yet your cells would still have less calcium than if you would have eaten only one carrot.” Surprising? Our bodies must recognize and be able to absorb what is put inside it to gain anything.

Energy equals information, and the incorrect information is like having none at all. So, if “in biophysics, disease is defined as an energy deficit”, part of that comes from misinformed people depleting energy from their own bodies in the form of food, water, salt or simply not getting enough exercise or sleep.  

Tthis section could be read two or three times to truly understand it; some of the ideas are fairly abstract, but the book is broken up into very readable sections.

The Water


 We know that “our life and our health, as well as the life and health of our planet, are completely dependent upon water.”

But not just any water. Chemical pollutants such as lead, calcium, chlorine and fluoride have destroyed the quality of water, and just by flowing through pipes, water’s crystalline structure is crushed. The impact on our health is disheartening: “The poor condition of our drinking water must be seen as one of the main causes for the dramatic increase of diseases.” It made me look down at my cup of tea with suspicion.  

So, what kind of water is good? According to the book, good quality water must come from a spring, whether you gather it yourself or buy it bottled, which may sound difficult or expensive. An easier solution is to put crystals into filtered tap water. I found a couple of quartz crystals at a local rock shop for $3-5.

Makes you thirsty to know more, right?


himalayan-crystal-salt-book-reviewThe Salt

We know that without salt we would die, but with our typical American diet overloaded with sodium, we may feel falsely secure that we’re getting enough.

What is salt, really? Is it found in the Morton’s canister with the cute little girl unwittingly dumping it out behind her? 

The authors distinguish natural crystal salt from table salt. They argue that table salt is simply a chemical combination of sodium chloride with additives, whereas real salt is a “core essential nutrient with exceptional abilities and qualities fundamental to keeping us alive.” Salt in its natural state, they say, contains all the elements found in our bodies. The himalayan crystal salt is characterized by a reddish-pink hue---thecolor is an indication of those elements.

Much less is known scientifically about the properties of salt; the salt section is where most of the studies Peter Ferrier has overseen or participated in are discussed.

This is where the text falters just a bit because it relies nearly exclusively on the work done or guided by Ferrier, which may seem a bit like relying on information about corn sugar coming from those who grow corn. Hendel also sells water and salt products, which may strike some as a conflict of interest.

However, with what information the authors present, they do make a largely convincing argument, at least on an intuitive level. If our bodies are more likely to recognize the nutritional information found in crystal salt because of its structure, consuming regular salt would take longer and consume more energy simply for our bodies recognize it as a food. This drain of energy can therefore lead to disease.

The magnified images of the Himalayan crystal salt in this section also present convincing evidence as to its differences. The crystals branch out in an almost tree-like fashion compared to table salt’s densely geometric structure, which is  basically a square. Just by comparing, it’s easy to see that “to integrate this substance back into a living organism, such as our body, would require enormous amounts of energy.”


The Sole

Tthe authors write about sole in an almost romantic way, the story of two opposite polarities coming together and giving up their individual identity to make something new, something that synergistically becomes more than either alone.

The benefits of sole, like water or salt individually, are multiple; it helps to restore acid-alkaline balance and flush out toxins and heavy metals. Sole also helps with the removal of calcification and plaque and mucous in the intestines.

The book does a nice job of making sure to warn readers that cleansing with sole can be challenging because it expresses symptoms rather than suppressing them, as allopathic medicine does. So your symptoms may get more difficult for a time before they get better.


The Forms and The Applications

According to the authors, sole’s applications are numerous. You can drink it, inhale it, bathe in it, cook with it and add it to table salt to reduce its aggressiveness (I have a friend who carries around a little vial of it for when she goes to restaurants!). There doesn’t appear to be an ailment sole won’t work for.

While the solution to everyday health aliments include drinking one teaspoon of sole per day, “the regularity with which you use sole is more important than the quantity, as it lasts in your body 24 hours.” If there’s one thing these authors want readers to take away, it’s that consuming sole solution daily will make your life better in a number of ways.

Reading the book definitely introduced me to possible health-stimulating techniques I wouldn’t have thought of, like putting a sole wrap around your ankle for a sprain, or that a sole bath has the cleansing effect of a three-day fast. 

Additionally, what’s nice is the actual salt applications are set aside in pink informational boxes, which is convenient when you might want to recheck that information later.


The Conclusion

How do we really give our body what it needs? The more complex our lives become through any number of “normal” daily interactions, the further away we seem to get from a certain basic knowledge about how to care for our own bodies.

The authors believe this information about crystal salt and clean water can take us back to our natural state. They acknowledge that while good salt and spring water work well, potentially huge lifestyle changes are probably necessary to see many real benefits. They stress that sole is not a panacea: “In the first chapter of the book we said there is no such thing as an incurable disease. However, you must do your part.”

Within the book, science is a defense as to why readers should accept reality as these authors present it. But the science, while not cited well and only coming from one source, does make sense because it’s both logical and intuitive. Plus, it might just challenge how much you really think you know about these ancient, ubiquitous and absolutely necessary substances.

If you take away nothing else from the book, you will probably think more about what you’re putting into your body, even if you don’t plan on changing it.


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