Every two weeks, we fire up our "Wild Water" Spotify playlist and travel about 20 miles outside of San Francisco to collect pure natural spring water direct from Red Rock Spring on Mount Tamalpais. Here's why.
As a society, we’ve become disconnected from our source, from nature. If we are used to shopping for food in the supermarket rather than harvesting it from the garden, and exercising in a gym rather than running up a mountain, we’re likewise accustomed to drinking the water from our tap or from a plastic bottle rather than collecting it from a spring. We’re told that "wild water" (water that springs from the earth) is contaminated and dangerous to our health, while controlled and treated municipal water is clean and sterilized - perfect for drinking. In reality, the elimination of living spring water from our daily diet has manifested in widespread vitamin and mineral deficiencies leading to illness and disease, emotional and mental health issues, and a further disconnection of our bodies from our natural balanced state.
Water is Life
Water is the essential building block of the human body; our bodies are 80% water and our brains are 90% water. While our bodies can sustain around three weeks without food, we can last only three to four days without water. Water in its natural state is loaded with essential nutrients that promote physical health, and filled with vitamins and minerals that fill in the nutritional gaps of our diets. Magnesium, a key nutrient in spring water, is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and makes up half of our bone content, living in our tissues, organs, and biochemical systems. Conservative studies indicate that more than half of the US population is magnesium deficient. US populations are also widely deficient in calcium, the second key mineral present in living water, which is key to skeletal and bone health, longevity, and muscle and nerve function. Pure unaltered spring water has naturally occurring sodium, an essential electrolyte key to fluid balance and blood pressure regulation. Additionally, spring water contains minerals of potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, and chloride, as well as trace minerals of iron, zinc, manganese, copper, iodine, natural fluoride, cobalt, and selenium. The mineral stack present in spring water illustrates its role as a key nutrient for healing and supporting physical health.
How we lost our way
If spring water is so healthy, why did we stop drinking it? The topics of water and sanitation are inextricably linked and essential to understanding our current relationship to water consumption and methodology. Ancient hunter/gatherer societies relied on spring water and would often establish dwellings around a spring or natural water source. With the introduction of agriculture and farming came the need for a more stable, less seasonal water supply; wells were dug and for the first time - contamination and sanitation became a chief concern, as pathogens found their way into the water supply. Ancient civilizations struggled to manage and balance the complex relationship of maintaining a supply of clean drinking water while also allowing for a proper plumbing system for waste disposal. Medieval societies were plagued by poor sanitation, waterborne disease, and dysentery; often water needed to be fermented and brewed as a beer-like beverage in order to be ingested. Then came the age of science and the invention of technology to see and understand microbes under a microscope. While these inventions amplified visual and scientific relation to microbes, bacteria and disease, it further pathologized wild water by magnifying trust in science and government to protect and dictate health and nutrition information. Post industrial revolution, food production became increasingly mechanized and farms mono cultured for efficiency and mass production. The rise in processed food, originally conceived for use by the military, made its way into the mainstream market, becoming a staple of the American diet; replacing fresh foods and meats with convenient, preserved, and packaged foods made by large companies and manufacturers. The larger effect of this shift from consumption of whole foods to artificial foods further disconnected humans from the natural world; fracturing their innate trust in nature to provide perfect nutrition and hydration. With food manufacturing came big business; television and media provided a newfound platform for marketers, brand strategists, and ultimately lobbyists to capture and persuade consumers towards foods and ingredients that propped up corporations vs. small, local farms.
Introduction of Fluoride
Contrary to popular conception - that fluoride in tap water is key to dental health - the history and methodology of water fluoridation has little to do with teeth and more to do with public deception. Fluoride was first introduced into the public water supply in the 1950’s in a move that was not only uncontested by the populous but with government support that was backed by medical and dental groups. Unlike pharmaceutical grade fluoride found in toothpaste, the fluoride compound in our drinking water is the waste byproduct of corporate fertilizer production; a toxic cocktail of arsenic, lead, and noxious chemicals. The process of producing synthetic fertilizers centered around phosphate deposits mainly in Florida, creates a toxic local environment through the emission of noxious gasses and poisonous biproducts. Prior to the 1970’s, hydrogen fluoride and silicon tetrafluoride, toxic byproducts of synthetic fertilizer production, were emitted freely into the environment, causing noxious air pollution. Local Floridian farmers and ranchers forced manufacturers to invest in pollution abatement solutions which converted the toxic vapors into fluorosilicic acid (or FSA), a dangerous but containable liquid waste held in large polyethylene tanks. The tanks are then dispersed to water reservoirs throughout the US and the stored FSA is drip-fed into 80% of our national water supply. Without fluoridation, the phosphate and synthetic fertilizer industry would be unable to unload their costly waste product.
FSA Goes National
National fluoridation was approved and implemented based on the efforts of lobbyists and a platform of anecdotal research proposed by dentists in the early part of the 20th century. Key dental researchers Frederick McKay and Trendley Dean found that while it stained teeth dark brown, a naturally occurring mineral compound in some water sources, called fluoride, seemed to also fortify and strengthen tooth enamel. These findings spurred dentists like John Frisch to begin recommending the addition of fluoride to their patients, whose tooth health had begun diminishing due to the introduction of refined, processed, and sugary foods. Lobbyists felt it would be easier and more profitable to fortify the public water supply than focus on nutrition and optimizing diet. The perfect storm of a growing utilization of fluoride to combat tooth decay and the need to find a solution for the disposal of FSA, culminated in the introduction of poisonous FSA byproduct into our drinking water supply, a practice that remains unchanged today. This relic policy from the 1950’s that touted chemical additives as necessary for fortifying tooth and gum health remains uncontested and unexamined today, with massive health and psychological implications. Western Europe has declined the practice of fluoridating their water supply and tooth decay rates remain the same as the US for the past 50 years. Additionally, populations in the US who have similarly opted out of fluoridation provide us data to prove water fluoridation does NOT improve tooth health and resilience.
Unraveling the Fluoride Myth
While the practice of fluoridating the public water supply with FSA has remained unchanged since the 1950’s, slight shifts in government and public understanding of the dire health consequences of ingesting this chemical compound are emerging. In 2011, the EPA recommended that water authorities reduce fluoride levels from 1ppm to 0.7ppm. William Hirzy, a senior scientist at the EPA, asserted that the arsenic in FSA was a key factor in increased numbers of lung and bladder cancer, insisting that only pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride, if any, should be added to drinking water. Of course switching to pharmaceutical grade would not only be cost prohibitive, but wouldn't solve the underlying issue of how to dispose of the toxic FSA from synthetic fertilizer production. Official numbers relating to the efficacy of fluoride in preventing dental decay have been revised down from 60% to 20% efficacy, a number that continues to be contested. Recent data collected by the CDC indicates that children, and presumably adults, living in areas with FSA-treated water and other FSA related chemicals are 20 percent more likely to have dangerous levels of lead in their blood, both of which have been linked to cognitive and IQ issues, as well as brain and nervous system damage. Contemporary research continues to link fluoridation, particularly with toxic FSA, to a countless number of whole body ailments; cancer, brain/IQ damage, digestive issues, nerve problems, depression and anxiety, etc.
Other Toxins and Illness
A dual threat alongside fluoridation is the water treatment process in general; the addition of chlorine and bleaches to kill bacteria and ‘treat’ water to allow it to be ingested without causing illness. These chemical additives dually kill healthful, active gut bacteria - disrupting the natural bodily flora that aid digestion and nutrient absorption. This essentially sterilizes your insides and disrupts the natural flow of energy (chi) and digestive fire (agni) throughout the body. The toxins and pollutants in tap and treated water build up in your kidneys, liver, and organs, inhibiting the body’s innate ability to cleanse and flush toxins. This toxic build-up contributes to an overall toxic load (alongside other elements like environmental pollutants, chemicals in household cleaners and personal care products, and processed foods and sugars,) which ultimately manifest as illness and disease. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, FSA and chlorinated public drinking water is essentially DEAD water. Apart from being wet and quenching thirst, there is nothing healthful or life-giving about it. Again, water is the essential building block of our bodies - it should be ALIVE and filled with vital vitamins and minerals to feed and fuel our growth and healthful functioning.
Pineal Gland and Intuition
The pineal gland is a unique organ, about the size of a soybean, located between both lobes in the geometric center of the human brain. Historically and throughout various cultures and traditions it has been associated with the third eye or chakra center having to do with intuition and psychic ability. While this gland is multifunctional, its primary function is to synthesize melatonin to connect us with our circadian rhythm and regulate our hormones. Our circadian rhythms are 24-hour biological cycles characterized by sleep-wake patterns and governed by darkness vs. daylight; melatonin secretion is low in daylight and increases with periods of darkness to allow for rest and repair. The pineal gland has also been established to release the molecule DMT, also known as the ‘spirit molecule,’ notably released during birth and death. It can also be ingested during certain plant medicines journeys and psychedelic experiences. While it appears that slight calcification of the pineal gland is natural and progressive with age, studies have confirmed that consumption of fluoride from FSA-treated water, as well as calcium and phosphorus, amplifies and speeds up calcification - essentially hardening the gland. Studies in rats have illuminated that calcification caused by fluoridation results in premature aging, early-onset Alzheimer's, cognitive impairment, memory and perceptual disturbance, to name a few. While the pineal gland and the effects of fluoridation and calcification are a budding area of scientific exploration, anecdotal accounts from hundreds of individuals who have eliminated fluoride and switched to spring water, point to a tangible shift in their perceptual awareness and understanding of their own humanity. People report an increased sense of intuition and connectedness to their internal guiding voice, as well as a ‘clearing up’ of their perceptions. Also leading into heightened understanding of the interconnectedness of all things and energy patterns. Personally, we at Church California can attest to these types of shifts in our perceptions and clarity.
Natural spring water is Earth’s blessing to humanity. It flows freely from deep underground aquifers, is naturally filtered, and springs from the Earth at various wild locations to be collected and consumed. Unlike poisonous tap, spring water is 100% raw, untreated, ALIVE water. The vitamins and minerals in spring water are drawn up towards the sun, so spring water springs up from the heart of the earth to the surface, naturally filtered through layers of soil, rock, and silt. Spring water is naturally probiotic, bioavailable, and made to support our bodies in every way. From cellular renewal, to tissue repair, all the way to cognitive ability. Water flushes through the kidneys, cleansing toxins and waste, playing a vital role in keeping our bodies balanced and disease-free. The vitamin and mineral stack in spring water is unique and varies by biolocation. Perfectly formed to support a body living in the same ecology; for instance a spring in a warmer climate might have elevated sodium levels to support proper cellular hydration. Along with a diet of local-grown and seasonal food, spring water plays a complementary and similarly integral role in supporting optimal physical, mental, and spiritual balance and lasting health. To be disconnected from one's local ecology, namely nature and our food/water systems, is to be disconnected from oneself. The modern diet of eating and drinking lab-made or imported food and water plays a huge role in the prevalence of physical and mental illness.
Spring water improves physical health in numerous ways; its most basic function is to re-oxygenate cells and carry oxygen to every part of the body and internal organs, including the brain. It flushes and moves waste out of the body, evidenced by clear skin and eyes, improved digestion, weight loss, and improved skin elasticity. It has a profound rebalancing effect on every bodily system including endocrine and hormone health, reducing overall acidity and bringing your system back into a pH balance, increasing energetic flow or chi. On a deeper level, ingesting spring water connects you to the local ecology - aligning the body with its ecosystem. Drinking water from the local spring and soaking in a hot spring is holy medicine; an experience that connects the body with its ecology, grounds energy, and aligns the mind with the present moment. Each spring source has a unique profile; the taste and quality of water varies with locale due to a number of factors including alkalinity of the environment, composition of the soil, and the overall geological composition of the earthen layers it filters through.
Immunity in Nature
Water intake is essential for supporting immune health and preventing illness. The immune system itself is composed of cells, tissues, and organs whose healthy functioning allows infection-fighting T and B cells to do their job; producing proteins called antibodies that act quickly to identify and attack foreign illness-causing pathogens. Water acts as a solvent that supports the total functioning of the immune system and removes toxins and waste from the body. Chronic dehydration has been linked to a multitude of diseases and illness, stress/ anxiety, and weakened life force/ health energy. Although you need to consume less wild water than tap to be properly hydrated, best practice is to drink around half your bodyweight in ounces of water per day for radical whole body health and immunity.
Sourcing and Gathering Spring Water
If you feel ready to make a shift and bring renewed consciousness to how and where you consume your water, the first step is to research and discover your local springs and ecology. An online database that can connect you with both hot and cold water springs in your area is www.findaspring. com, a user generated spring database that is updated in real time as new springs appear or seasonal springs dry up. Generally, there will be a pipe or spigot coming directly from the mountain or earth that taps the underground spring and allows water to be gathered. Bring your own one, three, or five gallon glass or BPA-free plastic jugs or carboys and fill them to the brim. Some springs are accessible by car, to reach others you may need to hike in a bit. Often, gathering sites become makeshift alters; ritual places where local people can pay homage to the perfection and spirituality of nature. Many people develop monthly or bi-monthly rituals around their collection day; hiking, swimming, meditating and reconnecting with nature. Store water in a cool, dark place for around two to three weeks; light will cause algae to grow. If you’re worried about the safety of your local water, you can send a sample to a lab for full panel testing or simply learn more with an easy pH testing strips.We recommend using spring water for all your needs other than steaming; including drinking, boiling, and cooking. You can also reduce your overall FSA intake by adding a fluoride filter to your kitchen, bath, and shower heads. At a minimum, you can get a high-quality fluoride filtering purifier like berkeyfilters.com - making sure to select the additional fluoride-specific filters in addition to the custom water filters provided. If you’re ready for a complete overhaul and want ultimate convenience, you can move to the town of Madra, Oregon where their tap water is actually natural, untouched Spring Water!
We realize water collection is out of reach for many, and it is important to acknowledge the role of privilege in the conversation; from transportation, to the upfront investment in jugs, to the physical requirements of lifting and carrying heavy vessels. Tap water seems to provide a convenient and egalitarian option, and it should be an essential right to clean, healthful water. We don't have a clear answer for this other than putting an intention towards creating awareness about this precious connection to our natural source for water which has disappeared with the eventual goal to make it more accessible for all so all bodies can achieve optimal health.
Water is an essential piece in overall physical and psychological health. Knowing what we do, we have the choice to choose the convenience of our kitchen tap or to adventure out and form a profound relationship with our local ecosystem and water source. Even though it is an essential building block of our biological makeup, our bodies, water is such a neglected piece in our nutritional awareness. Essentially, we have a choice between dead municipal water and living natural water. We believe that consuming wild water is essential to enjoying optimal physical, spiritual, and psychological health. It's also our belief that outdated, dangerous policy continues to govern our public water supply and it is up to us to find our own sources of clean water. Lingering public perception and fear of raw spring water keeps these policies in place, as well as bunk science around the efficacy of fluoride in preventing tooth decay. Switching from tap water to spring water certainly requires an initial investment of time, energy, and resources, but we believe the health and perceptual implications are vital. Like the nourishing food that grows naturally in abundance from the soils of Mother Earth, healing waters spring up to perfectly hydrate and nourish us.
Use findaspring.org and local forums to educate yourself and connect with others locating and collecting from local springs. Maybe you can hitch a ride together.
Use glass carboys (one, three, or five gallon) or BPA-free jugs . Check craigslist and beer-brewing supply companies, and health food shops
You can home test your local spring water to check pH with these (link) or send a sample of the water to a lab for a complete analysis (here)
Plan a day around your water collection, go for a hike, hot springs or cold plunge, forest bathing - make it a ritual
For the perfect health stack, aim to drink your spring water in the sunshine for optimum effect.
Pay attention in the months after you make the switch, to any shifts in your perceptions, intuition, or internal perspective, as well as your dreams. Utilize a journal to reflect on this journey, as well as document any health improvements.
Access to free, high-quality spring water is not readily available to everyone around the world. Everyone should have access to this miraculous healing water. It's our goal to raise awareness about the vital role water can play in human health and help provide access to clean water for communities without it. Each month since our founding we've donated to an awesome charity called charitywater.org, who build water wells for communities without access to water.
Learn more about Charity Water, and consider joining their donator community, the Spring.