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Season 3, Episode 4: Water and Movement with Gina Bria

By Jodi Cohen

Did you realize there is more to water than just consuming it?

In this episode of Essential Alchemy, Jodi is joined by anthropologist Gina Bria, to discuss what water is, its relationship to essential oils, and new ways that you can hydrate.

Gina is an expert on hydration strategies around the world and co-author of a must-read book called “Quench.” Head of the Hydration Foundation, a primary source for hydration information and the science of structured water, she speaks widely on water and health.

Tune in and learn more about: 

  • [02:54] – The fourth phase of water
  • [10:54] – Using water to fuel your body
  • [16:02] – How ingesting plants and using oil can help structure our water
  • [21:59] – The connection of water and movement

About Gina Bria

Gina Bria is an anthropologist and founder of the Hydration Foundation devoted to spreading better hydration strategies for people, animals, plants and soils. She has been named a Real World Scholar and received the Buckminster Fuller Design Science award for her work to change our conversation on water and hydration.

If you would like to look more into the science and recipes for movement and how to use food as a hydration strategy – be sure to visit Gina’s nonprofit foundation.

If you’re enjoying the Essential Alchemy podcast, please leave Jodi a review on iTunes.

Jodi: Hi, I am Jodi Cohen, your host, and I’m so excited about today’s guest, Gina Bria, who wrote the most amazing book you will ever find on Hydration. Gina is an expert on hydration strategies around the world, heads the Hydration Foundation, a primary source for information on hydration and the science of structured water. 

And she’s an anthropologist trained at Columbia University. She speaks widely on water and health, and her book “Quench” is a must-read.

Gina: Thank you, Jodi. I’m so excited to spread new ways to hydrate and especially it’s relationship to essential oils. And, um, I will just quickly note,  I’m a co-author of that book, um, yes.

With Dr. Dana Cohen and. The story around that that’s so funny is, that I knew I had to find an MD to help write that book because who’s gonna listen to an anthropologist? 

Jodi: I also went to Columbia University. 

Gina: Oh. So, yes, actually I did know that. I, I knew there was a beautiful connection there.

And you know, when you step onto that campus and you know who else has been there, and literally the sidewalks vibrate, the buildings vibrate, and you go, “Okay, whatever.” I’m being gifted out of the presence of being here. How can I broadcast that back to all of us because it’s just, this is, that’s it, right? I’m here to share my knowledge so that I can vibrate you guys.

And what my vibrations, essential oils carry, and bring this is to help us all elevate basically and be the positive powers for healing that we could. Along with the plants.

Jodi:  And it’s amazing. And what I really love about this book is there’s more to water than just consuming it. There’s actually how your body assimilates it. And I’m wondering if you could delve into that. Like for our listeners, like what happens, you know, we have our glass of water, we take a sip and then you can you talk a little bit about it.

Gina: I am very excited to share what happens when you actually drink water. But in order to do that, I have to sort of share a little bit of what water is and that’s the exciting breakthrough. Because this came out of my research as an anthropologist in desert communities around the globe

So I literally looked for pre-industrial hydration strategies in every global region on our planet. That was crazy. Who would do that? But what, what? Power of that. Jodi, what I discovered in that is that the desert communities were not using liquid, because they didn’t have any.

Jodi:  Yeah, you’re like the western price of hydration.

Gina:  That’s right. They were getting their hydration better than us, out of plants. And that’s the excitement about the conversation with you because the desert plants are adapted to create their system of watering themselves.

And I was so fascinated by this. I thought, “Well, could we do that? Can we do that? Can we water ourselves? What would that look like?” And when I realized they were using plants, and the water in plants, and every plant region was different, of course, in each desert community. 

But those plants are succulents – first big clue. For your audience’s sake, the quickest way to elevate this is, or show this, is that if you know an aloe plant and you break it open, or a cactus, and you see that jelly-like material inside. That’s what desert plants are doing. They’re switching the state of water, the concentration of water to a more jelly-like or plasma like state. And that water is more absorbable and more hydrating then liquid.

Jodi:  That’s so interesting. So a refresher, Gerald Pollock, who works at the University of Washington, he’s a friend of mine, talks about the fourth phase of water. Can you explain that? How water, it’s not just liquid, solid and gas.

Gina:  Plants all over the world that have this plasma jelly-like material. it’s clear, squishy. And I’m like, “What is that?” I asked every colleague in my entire network, “What’s that stuff?” Because I thought it would be like a polysaccharide or something, and for some reason, I ended up calling Gerald Pollock because of his book titled Cells, Gels, and the Engines of Life. And I thought, “Okay, here’s someone who’s not a material scientist in a lab at GM or somewhere, you know, who’s looking at living gels and cells. And I called him up and I said, “Is that like that gel thing? Can you tell me more?

And by the way, P.S., I’m just a crazy anthropologist calling you out of the blue.

Jodi:  But he’s the nicest man in the world. Oh, he’s the nicest man.

Gina: And he said, “Oh, that’s just concentrated water.” And I’m like, “Wait, that’s the simplest answer I’ve ever heard. That can’t be true. It can’t be true that plants concentrate water in order to keep themselves better hydrated like that.” 

That just seemed crazy to me, but again, it was the simplest possible answer. And then he started to share with me that there isn’t just vapor, there isn’t just liquid, there isn’t just gas. There’s a whole long state of water between liquid until it gets to ice in which it’s shaping itself into organized material, until it gets to the snowflake stage, when we can actually see that organized material in the liquid state and in the vapor state water is very much, not ordered. It’s not coherent. It’s jumping all over the place, and that’s partly why vapor can move so quickly in the way it does, and liquid too. 

But in these jelly states, it starts to lock into a form, and that’s already astounding. But what that lock into alignment does is it allows water to do its most powerful work, which is to transfer electricity. 

Finally, like the wires line up, right? But the most exciting part that I wanna get to in our conversation about essential oils is, it’s not only electricity that water is conducting, at that state water becomes a information.

Jerry said to me on that phone call, that crazy phone call, I said, “What do you know about hydration?” He’s like, “I don’t know anything about it.” She said, “Well, you’re about to learn a lot about hydration cuz we’re working together and I’m founding the Hydration Foundation to bring this extraordinary new work on what water really is into the world.” 

And he said, “Well, there’s one piece of information you need to know then, which is all living cells on our planet, all living things have this gel water inside of their cells, and that’s how they transfer the information.” This is why hydration is suddenly the biggest topic on the planet because it’s allowing your wiring

The water molecules are what transfers all that information. Once he broke open the idea that all living things, all cell biology is water-based and information- based, and that’s how it shapes itself and grows and deals with the world around it. Well, first of all, I cried on the phone. This is insane and beautiful. And then I, my whole, you know, this desert conversation of these Denver community was started with around plants and how plants are themselves, bodies of water just like we are, and information. So helping now change the conversation about where water is, what water is. Now we can really shift to this part about when you ingest just the liquid form of water, that water isn’t in quite the alignment and your body has to go and do the work of getting that glass of water to turn into a more concentrated state, more aligned state, so then it can use the water to shoot information around our body and to help cell signaling become less static and more, more coherent.

So water isn’t just moistening us, it’s also fueling us. And then it’s also providing the transfer of information. And even just stepping into the sun, that’s vast information coming into a biology us that desperately needs that information.

Jodi: It’s fabulous because it kind of sets the framework, I mean, in your book, you do a wonderful job of going into how hydration basically affects all physical function and supports sleep and weight loss and energy and everything. They can buy the book to read, you know, or that information is out there. 

What I’m super curious about is how does the body then convert, you know, tap water or bottled water into…

Gina: It does it electrically. Electromagnetic fields. And it does it functionally through, um, now this is gonna surprise you, but this is coming from the work of my colleague John Stewart Reed, who is an acoustic scientist investigator, and he’s looking at sound and sound waves and their impact on water in the body. Now just reminding everybody, it’s amazing just reminding everybody that every single one of your cells is a pocket of water.

Jodi:  And so, which is why EMF frequencies are so impactful on us, right?

Gina:  But the effect of these electromagnetic forces and even John says it, uh, sounds vary, to think of us systems beings, were systems within systems. The thump of the heart, it’s just as important as the pump of the heart because that sound wave that goes out from our heart then helps all the water molecules orchestrate and align. It’s like the lead drum.

Jodi:  All of a sudden those Native American ceremonies, you know, of course makes a lot more sense. What were they actually doing?

Gina: Back to anthropology? Everything percussive that we do, dancing, stomping, drumming, music. Our voice, every time we speak, is a resonant chamber, which is now informing the alignment and the orchestration of all the water molecules inside of ourselves, lining them up to further cohere that orchestration of our music inside of us. 

All the cells, all the healing needs to have coherent, non-static information coming in to do. It’s it’s job. It’s worked well. So this is why the topic of hydration is so fascinating to me. And then expanding the idea that we are a body of water in ways we didn’t understand before if we know. Jelly-like plasma being, this is really kind of more exciting to think about how fluid we are and how free we are to heal, to continue to have flow, move through and have resilience in life, even with our emotional lives. 

And then the accompanying bodies of water on this which include our microbiome, which include, you know, the plants and the trees and all the animals. And again, going back to the conversation around plants and understanding that plants are also bodies of water that absorb tremendous amounts of information. 

And when we ingest them or apply them to our bodies, we’re now collaborating with a whole new set of incoming information that’s natural, that’s biological, that our body responds to almost immediately. Like, oh, I love that song.

Jodi:  That’s a great analogy.

Gina:  So that’s a lot of information to land. Let me just kind of review here. Just to help people realize, all cell biology is water based. The job of water is to conduct both energy through electricity and the information that comes with that electricity and that all plants are there to support. And their bodies of water that have collected a lot of information that if we apply those plants or ingest those plants or are in the presence of plants. 

Our biology evolved in that context and knows it best, and I’m telling you, the information that’s incoming is so sophisticated that our best computer scientists haven’t even gotten close yet to what’s happening in terms of information exchange when we simply walk outside. Or gaze at a flower or have a beautiful, sauteed mushrooms with onions. 

Oh, they love talking to us.

Jodi:  So I’m just curious, does ingesting plants or like inhaling or topically applying oils help structure our water?

Gina:  Absolutely. Absolutely. And I’ll tell you the story about chia. So, you know, here I am doing this desert research and finding out what plants hydrate people more profoundly. One of the best examples I came across was the Tarhumara in the Sierra Nevadas, and they used chia seeds. And chia seeds are actually a desert plant.

It’s a desert sage. Chia seeds turn out to be one of the most hydrating plants we’ve got. Their seeds bloom, this glorious structured water around them. If you’ve ever used chia seeds or seen chia seeds, you’ll see when they get a little bit of water, they immediately release this gel-like structure around them, and it’s essentially – Jodi, this is so amazing – it’s structured water, but it’s the same as amniotic fluid. It’s what the seed does, the plant does to make sure its baby seed is planted well and has the nutrients around it and the hydration around it to actually sprout. Like, where are our observations in life that we’re such industrial people that we miss all this glory going on around us. So even, I mean, think of like the Roman baths.

Jodi:  I almost feel like our ancestors were wiser than we were. Like we, they were using water. Not, not just, you know, what were these baths like? I, I think that they were using water and the frequencies to heal.

Gina: Of course they were, and they did that based on the broader access to information that they have than we do because we live indoors. We don’t go out, we live in cement, build cement, you know, sidewalks. We’re severed, we’re biologically severed from a vast amount of healing information, of life, supporting information. And this is why what we eat becomes extremely important. Now, what we bathe in and again, I wanna get back to the conversation specifically about essential oils because plant information is developed within the plant. 

And when you concentrated in the oil you get, you’re getting the highest level of plant information through those oils. You can adjust them.

It goes through a whole system that way. But when you apply the oil of the plant, you’re getting like immediate access. You know, like VIP level information to the plant information.

Jodi:  I’m so profoundly grateful because that is my personal experience, my clinical experience, and I have not been able to explain why.

Gina: Well, if the information then goes into the water molecules and helps them organize themselves, they’re like, “Oh, oh, clear message. Oh, thank God. Clear concentrated message. I know exactly what to do. And we’re talking about, we have the information, even plants grown. The moonlight, we’re getting moonlight information. Again, this is so sophisticated, a system of information that our ideas about computers and the internet only touch on what nature itself is already organized and provided to make us living. 

We are walking miracles. We are, you know, walking computers, but I never like to say that. That’s so reductionist. We’re so much more than that, but yes.

Jodi:  Oh, I know. I think that the ancestral technology far outweighs the modern technology, but, and I love connecting with people who remember.

Gina:  Remember, and then now we have a future. So I would love to say about essential oils and their concentrated information that they’re able to deliver. And of course, what do you feel when you apply essential oil or you bring it to your nostrils and you breathe in the top, feeling there is relief, delight.

Relief and delight help. Help came at the right time and it came in this beautiful form. And so why I wanna talk about plants so much is because there’s more plants on the planet than there are people. And plants are organized around all of the living systems. Bacterias, mycelium, all of this is alert and aware of us as living systems as well, and they care for us

We are cared for by the plants. It’s not anonymous. It’s incredibly biologically personal evolved to support life on this planet, including all the animals and the humans.

Jodi:  You know, it’s interesting, like the Secret Life of Trees and all those documentaries about the plants and how they communicate with each other. No one ever took it to the next step that we’re part of that ecosystem.

Gina: We’re like nesting dolls. We have our personal system, we have our psychic system. Then we’re inside the system of the air and the light and the sun and the cosmic system, the electric system from the ground up and the way the earth is already a battery. 

We’ve got little legs that if we just walk on the earth, they’re just like the plugs of a cell phone and they draw up all this electricity going for a walk electrocutes you, I shouldn’t say electrocute, but you know what I mean. It energizes you.

Jodi:  I have dogs, so I’m a huge walker. I, I love walking. And actually, let’s talk about that next with movement. And fascia. Can we get into how that plays a part?

Gina: Thank you for asking that. The way our body is water and this plasma state is all our tissues are made up of cells of water. And our tissues are there for water, and tissue systems have figured out how to connect to each other so that your liver can, you know, relate to your heart. 

Your heart can relate to your brain, your gut system. All of these are systems that communicate to each other. And one of the most profound ways they use, there’s lots of different ways they’re communicating far more than just the nervous system, which we originally thought. You know the great wiring system, but it turns out fascia, which is this connective tissue, it’s like your inner innards are just completely covered in little spiderwebs of beautiful, stretchy tissue. 

All this network of the fascia that actually packages us and holds us into shape, and it’s shot through every one of our muscles. It’s everywhere. It’s also an information system and it runs on water. The fuel is water, but the mechanism for getting the water distributed around your body is movement. And this is the big second half of the hydration story that I wish we could get out there, which is your whole hydraulic system depends on you moving.

Jodi:  And to that point, you know, I ran marathons. I did all this like really aggressive movement. And it doesn’t need to be that aggressive. I love you have a really accessible system, I will say.

Gina:  Right? Even the smallest tapping on your body is starting to move all those water molecules.

And it’s not only moving them, but it’s also sending electromagnetic signals to them. They bump into each other and they start communicating and the moisture moves and the information moves. And so this movement system that tells us we’re vital and alive. It’s this whole double entendre where it’s feedback loop is happening all the time. 

When you move, you’re transferring hydration and the information that comes with it and you’re enlivening parts of your body that need that information or that moisture. And so even simple movements like nodding your head up and down flushes your whole synovial canal in the back of your head. That’s a huge water movement. You know, if people think it’s a nothing, but it’s a very big deal cuz water moves and it’s so easily you don’t need vast amounts of exercise

We included in the book a study on women who, you know, they, they, uh, what’s the word for when you jitter a little bit?

Jodi:  I’m fidgety. Fidgety. Fidgety. I’m a fidgeter.

Gina: Fidgeting. Turns out to have a mortality impact. And we can now trace that back to where they’re just moving hydration and, you know, moving hydration means that you’re getting rid of waste and you’re bringing in fresh hydration. 

It’s exciting to realize how little the movement has to be in order to activate a chain of events in your water. Movement, moisture and information system.

And I would like to say, Jodi, while I have a chance that it’s really important that you move in ways you don’t normally move, cuz you wanna get yourself hydrated in tissues that you don’t normally move. So getting your elbows behind your shoulders, moving your head. I like to do this while I’m waiting at a stop sign or, you know, just dropping my head down, up and down, to the side. If you don’t put your ear to your shoulder very often, you can do all this stuff while you’re on the phone. 

You’re parking in these novel movements, getting your hands over your head. When was the last time you raised up your hands over your head? That amazing, whole canal that goes under your arm and connects with your limb system. That’s a opportunity for tissue drainage and movement. I try to get my hands over my head at least once day, you know, and I like to wake up in the morning and roll around in bed.

Jodi: I do, and I wiggle my ankles. I’m a former gymnast too. I like to do handstands.

Gina:  Oh yes. So that’s novel.

Jodi: I feel that it helps with blood flow to the brain. And lymph probably.

Gina: Of course it does. Like anybody could have told a two year old to tell you that. Why are we missing that in our health conversations, you know?

Jodi: No, I do that before I write anything because then I just, I can think more clearly. I love this. I love it. Can we talk a little bit more about the fascia? You know, we kind of defined what it is and how it moves. But just how can people…? Movement can access it. I created this oil blend to help access it because I feel like it’s, I originally thought it was the nervous system. Then I realized for me, you know, I was bracing for impact and when the danger passed, my body was still bracing. 

And so I was trying to unravel the fascia, especially behind the heart. You know, like I do a lot of yoga and heart opening, and the minute I started working on the fascia with the heart opening, it became a lot less.

Gina:  Oh, I love that. And I use your fascia release. I have that. I usually use it at night right before I go to sleep. I’ll put it, especially around the neck area and, under my nose and down my throat and across my chest. Literally, I just turned the bottle upside down. I hope I’m doing this right.

Jodi:  Oh, no, you’re totally, you’re totally doing right. Well, and that’s why I love asking people because everyone does it their own way, but I learn so much.

Gina:  Well, if you think about fascia release now and the opportunity to put it under your armpit, right? And so the plant information is sending release signals because those plant, that combination of plants are all relaxing releasing. And so you’re helping your whole system receive that information and let go again. And it’s again, this powerful combination of relief, release, and pleasure.

 What better way to be an animal, right? Like our animal body wants that.

Jodi:  Well, and it’s interesting for people listening, like if you are feeling, someone asked me, “How do you know if your lymph is congested?” and I’m like, “You can kind of feel it, like it feels a little tender.” If anything around your breast tissue or under your arms are tender, like don’t worry. You know, you can always fix it, but that’s just a great opportunity to like loosen that up.

Gina: And if you understand fascia as this beautiful stretching network made out of plasma water. The water’s able to stretch and pull that. It’s both a water delivery system and an information delivery system, and it’s made out of water. The two things are, you know, this idea that, wow, all our tissues are made out of this stretchy water. You know, that’s really amazing. And then we can understand how we can be assaulted by so much of today’s industrial world and still, you know, upright because our entire system is meant to be a flow system

Incoming, outgoing. Another part of the conversation about hydration that we don’t hear enough. We only talk about incoming. How much am I supposed to drink every day? And instead of recognizing that it’s a flow system, there’s an exit part of this, there’s a distribution part of this that turns out to be just as important as what you take in. So the exit system, the purpose of the incoming is to get out materials that need to be left to be taken out of the body. Again, I think plant life really is part of that system. So what we ingest and what we put on our bodies are part of the exit strategy to get rid of lousy things, waste build up materials that we’re exposed to.

And this can happen mechanically through, you know, the materials of the plant that can sweep out stuff and it can happen electromagnetically in which the signals can reshape molecules and allow them to become inert or exit, get carried out, be connected to other things that can help carry them out

It’s really powerful.

Jodi: It’s very true. And one of the things that really fascinated me with oils and the brain is how hard it is to get remedies into the brain. And then also how if your neck is congested, how toxins can kind of not exit, and then they turn on the immune system and you have inflammation and suddenly you have brain fog and fatigue and all of these symptoms that modern medicine doesn’t really know what to do with. 

I love your book, the more you enhance lymph flow and open up, you know, flowing fluid and drainage and everything, the more you alleviate those toxins and then you alleviate the symptoms that come from those toxins.

Gina:  And the alleviation comes through pleasure. Like who turned that down?

Jodi: That’s true. That’s actually one of the reasons I originally started using oils because when my kids were little, it was hard to get them to eat vegetables, but they never, you know, if wants to rub oils on my feet, sign me up, you know, sign me up.

Gina:  That’s how I get vegetables into my husband. He doesn’t need to know.

Jodi:  Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that you’d like to add?

Gina: Well, I really wanna say how resilient we really are if we understand ourselves as a flow system. So just the simple concept that whatever comes at you is gonna pass on through, that we don’t have to be in this permanent clutch. 

And the way the world talks about how what in deep dire straits we are. I believe, Jodi, with my whole heart that our ability to to keep the portal open for life to flow is what is the solution for all that we’re going through and to remain, alert, hydrated, and positive. Boy, I wish I had a better word than positive, but our eyes to the future. We are going somewhere

All of the plants are conspiring to help us. All of the cosmic forces are life giving and they want to help us through this narrow passage that we’re in and that accompaniment is, you know, truly helped by essential oils. I never go anywhere without something that I can call on to be my help in the world that we’re in. 

That’s a strange conversation on hydration, I know, but there you go.

Jodi:  It’s so relevant on so many levels and please tell people how they can find you.

Gina: When I was on that phone call with Jerry Pollock, I realized we needed a place to spread this information, the science and the recipes and the practicality of it all.

And the recipes for movement and who’s doing what in the water science world and how can we get our kids to be more hydrated through popsicles and the use of foods. Using food as the hydration strategy, not just that liquid going in. So we founded something called the Hydration Foundation, and that’s at www.Hydration Foundation.org. It rhymes, and we’re a nonprofit, so it’s .org, and that allows you to step into this really new understanding of what hydration really is and how we’re water beings. 

Jodi:  That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for your time. This was amazing. I really appreciate it.

Gina:  Can you tell me, Jodi, what is one thing you heard that was new to you this time?

Jodi:  I loved the idea of the desert plants, cuz that makes sense to me. Like juniper is great for the kidneys. New to me…? That the plants, just kind of how putting it on the skin really communicates the information instantly. Cuz it’s fascinating when you observe it in yourself, you observe it in others, but you can’t necessarily say why you have hypotheses on why I was calling it frequency. But what frequency really is, is immediate information.

Gina:  Love that. Thank you so much. Well, thank you for helping spread this wonderful new information on hydrations Jodi. Bless you in your work.

Jodi:  Bless you, too. Thank you.

About The Author

Jodi Cohen

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.