Driving by the empty “Monica’s Vintage Inspired” storefront on Athens Avenue in Redding made my heart hurt. My friend Monica Templeton is probably at a much lower risk for a hurting heart (of the attack variety) since she closed the doors of her shabby-chic emporium last summer, but the store looked so lonely, so neglected … until six weeks ago when Heather Caulkins and her mom Darlene Whitney gave the building new life and a new purpose: holistic water.
I wish I had a dollar for every time in the last six weeks that I uttered “What the hell is holistic water?” as I drove by the store’s bright blue banner advertising a cure for what ails (or may someday ail) me. I was also skeptical about how a store selling water could sustain itself.
But the proof is in the … water, and the steady stream of customers seeking it on a random Friday afternoon.
It turns out that Heather and Darlene don’t sell water, but are a distributor of the Enagic water generating system that produces alkaline, ionized water, named “Kangen water” by Enagic.
Ionized water is molecularly re-structured, detoxifying, anti-oxidant water that proponents claim rids the body of acid waste and balances pH better than its tap and bottled counterparts. The steady stream of the Water Store’s Kangen converts, from fitness buffs to clients with serious health problems, were there when I was, on a random Friday, to refill their bottles, as part of the Holistic Water Store’s free 30-day trial.
Heather is amazed by the response to their six-week old storefront that started two years ago as an extension of Darlene’s home-based “Whitney’s Vitamins and Herbs.” A friend of the mother and daughter team brought them an Enagic machine from Japan. They gave the water a try and were hooked. So are their customers, a network of referrals from satisfied clients and holistic health practitioners.
Enagic filters tap water to create “magic water” using an electrolysis system of magnetic titanium plates and 230 watts of power.
According to the company’s promotional DVD, water is filtered to remove chemicals from municipal treatment, restructured to a higher pH and “micro-clustered” to create a lower molecular surface tension, allowing cells to absorb more nutrients and to carry waste away more efficiently. Enagic claims that water from its system has three to five times the antioxidants of green tea.
During the 30-day trial, Heather and Darlene recommend drinking half an ounce to one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day, triggering the body to cleanse itself.
They warn that the cleansing process may cause flu-like symptoms in some, including headaches, night sweats, phlegm and excessive bowel movements. Heather sadistically admits that she is excited when clients complain of these symptoms, saying that “it shows the strength of the water.”
I must admit that I was drawn in by the Enagic promotional DVD. Not by the expected scare tactics (the dangers of chemicals and disposed pharmaceuticals in treated water and the environmental damage caused by plastic bottles), nor by the abundant enthusiastic testimonials from sufferers of ailments ranging from heartburn to fibromyalgia, nor endorsements from the Japanese Ministry of Health and Labor and the Japanese Association of Preventative Medicine.
I was impressed by the objective Japanese documentaries, featuring doctors and nurses using alkaline, ionized water to treat patients. The Enagic machine also produces a high-acid water that Japanese hospitals use to treat bed sores and fungal conditions like athlete’s foot and a high-PH water used solo to clean surfaces and hospital tools.
A quick online search for “Kangen Water” yielded thousands of results for the Enagic system and other alkaline, ionized water systems, but I am equally impressed by Heather’s friendly, helpful, try-it-and-see-what-happens approach to selling a product that she clearly believes in. She is confidently conversant about the water’s benefits, but offers no sales pitch, unless you ask.
But what the heck, ask. Stop in for a taste, watch the DVD in the store’s new comfortable, modern waiting area and drink the water for 30 days as recommended. I’m giving it a 30-day whirl. I’ll spare you the details of my phlegm and bowels, but I’ll let you know what happens.
Holistic Water Store, 2425 Athens Avenue, Redding. Call (530) 605-4040 for more information.
Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studiosand are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your North State events to firstname.lastname@example.org.