See What Happens When You Drink Water On An Empty Stomach

See What Happens When You Drink Water On An Empty Stomach
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Japanese water therapy is well established in the Land of the Rising Sun. Japanese people have known this simple practice for a long time and have used it to cure different conditions, ranging from headache to cancer.


Japanese Water Therapy

According to Japanese tradition, water therapy can be used as a natural treatment for diabetes, gastritis, headache, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, epilepsy, heart problems, tuberculosis, kidney and urine diseases, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, hemorrhoids, eye diseases, ear nose and throat diseases, problems with the uterus, cancer and menstrual disorders.

The practice should be performed first thing in the morning.

  1. Before brushing your teeth, drink 640 ml (4 glasses of 160 ml) of water. Ideally, the water shouldn’t contain fluoride.
  2. Brush and clean your mouth, but don’t eat or drink anything for another 45 minutes.
  3. Have your breakfast as normal – I have plenty of healthy breakfast ideas.
  4. After breakfast, don’t eat anything for 2 hours.

According to the original Japanese tradition, the water should be slightly warm, and not cold or room temperature. In the Far East, people usually don’t drink cold water with their meals. Instead, warm tea is offered.

How Often You Should Drink Water On An Empty Stomach

According to the Japanese tradition, the practice of drinking water on an empty stomach should be done regularly and different time frames are predicted to treat, improve or control different conditions:

  1. High blood pressure – 30 days
  2. Diabetes – 30 days
  3. Gastritis – 10 days
  4. Constipation – 10 days
  5. Tuberculosis – 90 days
  6. Cancer – 180 days
  7. People who suffer from arthritis should do the therapy for only three days in their first week, and then progress to a daily treatment.

It is suggested that if you initially struggle to drink such a large amount of fluids first thing in the morning, start with a smaller amount and then gradually increase to 4 glasses.

Similar Tradition In India (And Why It Can be Harmful)

A similar tradition is also known in India. In Sanskrit, the practice is called Usha Paana Chikitsa, which roughly translates as ‘early morning water treatment’. The difference is that the Indian (Ayurvedic) version recommends drinking 1.5 liters of water on an empty stomach.


However, some warn against a rapid consumption of such a big amount of water. Our kidneys can only process 800 to 1,000 ml of water per hour, so drinking too much water can be dangerous. Also, a condition known as hyponatremia can develop, This occurs when your bloodstream sodium levels lower to an unhealthy level. It can be due to a personal medical condition, but excess water consumption also leads to it. At low levels the condition is harmless. If your kidneys cannot keep up with excess water intake, the extra water will dilute the concentration of sodium. As this happens, cells begin to stretch and things become potentially deadly.

Cells can normally expand with relative ease. Unfortunately the neurons in your brain cannot. Your brain cells work in an extremely confined space and have little room for swelling. If this happens from drinking too much water, it could result in a coma, seizure or even death.


Drinking too much water can be equally as dangerous as not drinking enough – find more information in my article on why drinking too much water can be dangerous.

Japanese water therapy has no known side effects and contributes to a general state of well-being and health when incorporated into your daily routine. It’s been promoted by the Japanese Medical Society and many have embraced it (although I couldn’t find scientific evidence for the efficacy of this therapy like in many alternative medicines). But maybe it’s not a coincidence that Japan has proportionately the highest number of centenarians in the world.

The importance of water is also featured in my e-book about superfoods and how they can improve your health, which is part of my Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition and weight loss goals. You can also drink lemon water instead of plain water – there are 8 health benefits of drinking lemon water and you can also use my fat flush water recipes to melt your fat.

Read my other related posts:
1. Fat Flush Water Recipes To Melt Your Fat
2. The Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Water
3. 7 Warning Signs That Tell You Your Body Is Lacking Water

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78 Responses to See What Happens When You Drink Water On An Empty Stomach

  1. Alvin Monterola says:

    I like your post..i almost drink 3liters a i know too much drinking of water can harm my body..thanks

  2. peter ajibulu says:

    Your medical fillers have been very helpful, actually I do take water in the morning, but not that much,less than 160 ml,pls is this adequate for my health needs,thank you

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Peter, not everyone can drink so much water in the morning, and this tradition is not backed up by a scientific evidence (like many alternative medicines). But you can have a look at my article “Why Drinking Too Much Water Is Dangerous” which gives you guidelines towards the end of it regarding how much water you should drink throughout the day.

      • Trevor says:

        I believe 99% of the nation is not drinking enough water. Drinking too much is the least of the worries. I think contrasting articles like that and only apply to 0.0002% of the world. This is no significance in posting article of the type. It’s gives a counter argument which serves no purpose.

        • Jenny says:

          I don’t see where there is a counter argument here. At the end of the article about drinking too much water there is information about the right amount of water to drink, and the aim of the article is educational. It has significance to people who are physically active and drink large amount of water in a short period of time. I believe it’s still important to share this information, even if it serves a small percentage of the population (and it might not be so small as you may think).

  3. steve says:

    Snopes says this is a hoax. Did you all research the source? Please advise.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Steve, I read what Snopes wrote in their website, and as far as I could see, there were no references to any scientific studies about the consumption of water on an empty stomach. The only references were pointing to places were people mentioned their opinion about this as well as another reference about constipation only. Before you take Snopes as gospel, read this interesting article about “Snopes Got Snoped“. The only thing I claimed in the article is that this is based on a Japanese and Ayurvedic traditions, but I am not aware of any scientific studies around this subject. As with any natural remedies or traditional treatments, sometimes it’s hard to find scientific research to prove the practice as there is no financial benefit for anyone to research it.

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi!! so just in the morning only ?

    • Jenny says:

      This is according to the Japanese tradition. However I imagine that not many people can drink such a big amount of water in the morning and for many of them it won’t be practical.

  5. Mark says:

    your article says “drink 640 ml (4 glasses of 160 ml) of water.” There are 29.57ml in an ounce and 8oz in a cup = 236.56ml per cup?? so this is only 2.7 cups of water is that correct?? that doesn’t seem like so much when looking at it that way..

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Mark, your calculation is correct. I guess that for some people it’s still quite a large amount to drink in the morning.

    • Kim says:

      Hello. I read that you should drink a bottle of water when you first wake up in the morning to help your kidneys function because they “shut down” while you are asleep. Forgive me but I don’t remember what magazine. So I have a bottle of water that I keep by me bed to drink when I get up in the morning. 1 16.9 fl oz bottle of drinking water has 580 ml. So that comes out to 1 bottled water and a sip.

  6. funmi says:

    since I came to Ireland, I don’t like taking water and have try all my best but is not work for me.

    • harshal says:

      For constipation try yogasan (pranayam)
      I m suffered from this problem from last 4 years and now its completely cure…

  7. Hakim says:

    Thnx for advise

  8. Birdee Davis says:

    Why do they recommend that you wait two.hours to eat or drink again after meals?

  9. Jyoti says:

    Hi i drink water in morning the way u say but i add lemon to it.
    is it ok ???? Is it benefical ???
    Plz reply

    • Jenny says:

      I’ve had this comment before by Steve, and this was my reply to him: “I read what Snopes wrote in their website, and as far as I could see, there were no references to any scientific studies about the consumption of water on an empty stomach. The only references were pointing to places where people mentioned their opinion about this as well as another reference about constipation only. Before you take Snopes as gospel, read this interesting article about “Snopes Got Snoped“. The only thing I claimed in the article is that this is based on a Japanese and Ayurvedic traditions, but I am not aware of any scientific studies around this subject. As with any natural remedy or traditional treatments, sometimes it’s hard to find scientific research to prove the practice as there is no financial benefit for anyone to research it”.

  10. feekie says:

    I read the article and all the comments, but one thing seems to be missing. Not a single reference was made to any real people whose medical conditions were certified to have changed either for the good or bad following one of these water diets. Without any reliable evidence at all, the entire article and its comments is just conjecture.

    • Jenny says:

      At the moment there is lack of research about this alternative therapy just like many other alternative therapies that haven’t been proven scientifically but have been existed for many years.

  11. Paris says:

    Never under estimate the power of water, fasting, and prayer/meditation.
    If everyone could get better from drinking water the people who profit from PILLS etc. Would go bankrupt.
    No research because it’s most likely true.

  12. kate joyce says:

    can i drink a.c.v if i have acid reflux.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Kate, it may sound odd, but ACV is one of the most popular natural remedies for acid reflux. There are several theories about how ACV works for heartburn, and one of them is that ACV aids digestion by helping break down fats, but regardless of how exactly it works, many people have reported about the effectiveness of ACV. It is recommended to mix one or two teaspoons of ACV with a glass of water and drink before meals or when heartburn strikes. However what works for one person may not work for another one, so if you try it and it doesn’t make you feel well, don’t continue to drink it.

  13. Tobby says:

    Hello please what can I use to cure pimples………. I have a very oily skin……. Have been having time for the past few 10 years and I don’t know what do.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Tobby, you have several options:
      1) per 1 oz glass spray bottle add: 4 drops tea tree essential oil, 4 drops lavender essential oil and witch Hazel. Add the essential oils to the glass bottle and top off with witch hazel. Apply to the skin with a cotton ball as needed (you don’t need to rinse it off).
      2) You can also use clay face mask which is good for oily skin (see more information here).
      3) Turmeric face mask – see instructions here.
      4) Wash your face with apple cider vinegar – see instructions here.
      5) More acne treatments – see here.
      If your acne is severe and persistent, it’s probably best to consult a dermatologist.

  14. Flora says:

    Jenny. I don’t know where to begin! I was born with club foot in both my feet. At 9 months I had corrective surgery. That was in June of 1975. I grew up wearing special shoes and have lived with pain all my life. I’ve never been able to wear pretty sandals or high heels because my feet didn’t properly length wise and the bones to my toes are crooked. But I give thanks that I am able to walk. But I walk with pain in my ankles. Because I of the way I stand, think of bearing your weight on your two pinky toes and ‘ring finger’ toes and no weight on your big toe, it has taken it’s toll on my lower back. So for the last few years I’ve had lower back pain as well. Walking too much or standing too long I’d wake up with a stiff lower back and really stiff ankles. So much so that there were times I’d have to wobble on my heels till my ankles loosened up.

    It wasn’t until I came across your article. I found it to be really interesting. It’s just water so what could it hurt. Because of the pain I have I followed the arthritis method. I started on Friday. Drank three cups of water Friday, Saturday and Sunday. By Wednesday I noticed a difference. I sit at a desk all day. When I do get up I hurt. Takes a few steps to get my ankles to loosen but it’s something I’m so used to that when I got up from my desk that day and walked to the next office I wasn’t hurting. I thought to myself, can this water method really be working?

    I began drinking water in the morning again that Friday and continued everyday from there. I was waking up with no pain in my lower back and I wasn’t hobbling to the bathroom like I did every morning.

    It wasn’t until two weeks ago that I knew that this water method is 100% on point. Each year my family and I take a trip out of town to a music festival. It’s an all weekend event which entails a LOT of walking and standing. Each and every year for the last 15+ years I’ve endured pain beyond belief. By Friday night I would be in horrible pain. I’d pop four advil and rub pain ointment on my ankles. I’d miss out on Saturday’s festivities because by that morning I’d be unable to walk. Saturday I’d be okay enough to make it for a couple of hours and by Sunday morning I’d still be in pain but I was walking. Last year I even had Solanpas patches for my lower back that would be on fire from walking and standing so much and small patches for my ankles. I’ve even used the therapy tape like the athletes use.

    So back to two weeks ago. It’s festival time We arrive at our hotel on Friday at lunch, checked in and set out on our way to the festival. By this time I’m pain free and telling anyone and everyone who would listen about this water method. But I knew the true test would be how my ankles and back would be feeling by Friday night. 9:30pm we’d been walking all day. I had a few chances to sit for an hour or so but I was feeling great. The bottom of my feet were uncomfortable but that would be a given. No pain in my lower back by the way!

    Saturday morning I wake to hear my mom getting ready to head down to the lobby for breakfast. I get up to start getting ready. After years and years of not being able to stand up properly, having to steady myself as I walked to the restroom I stood with no pain at all. There was a little discomfort but I walked it off in a few steps. I walked into the sitting room of our suite and stood there in awe. I said, mom I’m not hurting. I began to cry. She knows the pain I’ve suffered for years. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was. I showered and dressed right away. Mother and I met my aunt and uncle at the elevators and I asked my aunt, notice anything different? I began to shimmy and dance around. This was THE best weekend ever. The first time in years that I was able to spend all day Sat with my family at the festival. By the end of Saturday night the walking and standing did take it’s toll and I was stiff by Sunday morning but not like in the years past. By the time I got ready to head down to the lobby for breakfast I was walking fine. I took no pain medication whatsoever and the medicine patches stayed in my suitcase.

    I can’t begin to thank you enough for posting this article. I even have tears again as I type. Unless I have surgery, especially on my left ankle, I am always going to live this way. But I know it can be managed.

    Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

    Flora Flores
    San Angelo, TX

    • Jenny says:

      I’m so glad to read your story! Still for other people who read it I would like to emphasize that this method hasn’t been proven scientifically (like many other alternative therapies), but as you’ve said – it’s only water, what can you lose?. Anyway I’m very happy that your condition has improved (whatever the reason will be). Living with pain is very debilitating and once you are pain free (or have a much reduced pain) you know to appreciate it. Take care, Flora, and I wish you a great health and happy and long life!

  15. Bee kay says:

    i got an accident and bottle stab around my waist mear my spinal wasit back hip some years back from then i have been having pains all along till now dont know how to reduce it or eliminate it once i stand or walk long i kind of feel hookpain in my waist what the best remedy do i apply pls jenny

    • Jenny says:

      If you still have pain after so long it usually indicates that something is wrong and I would consult with a doctor rather then trying to self diagnose or use home remedies.

  16. Hannah says:

    Hello. Can you suggest anything for dark circles? I dont know about others but staring too much at my smartphone/ tablet particulary before bedtime is giving me dark circles, open pores on face( more visible on the apples of cheeks,nose and forehead) and a dull complexion. I am avoiding to do so but is there any cure? My skin type is dry.
    A big thanks if you can help Jenny.

  17. Aditya says:

    You are wrong about Usha Paana Chiktasa. It also talks about 4 glasses of water. The water needs to be put in a bronze metal overnight and then we drink water in morning. The 1.5 litre therapy is a yogic kriya ( mentioned in yoga).Drink about 1.5 litre of water with salt added in it and then you vomit the whole thing. This clear toxins from your body. I practice both and I neither overweight, seldom has stomach troubles and mostly disease free and allergies free (touchwood).

  18. Bona says:

    Hello, is it ok if I drink 4 glasses of water on an empty stomach everyday? Thanks.

  19. Sothy Chea says:

    I should begin to thank you very much for this useful article. I will try this natural therapy as you guided and I will spread this to people around me.
    Meanwhile I am still in doubt, what does “have your breakfast as normal.” mean, is it also included drinking water with the breakfast having or just eat and not drink until 2 h later?
    Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Sothy, you can drink while having your breakfast as normal, but after drinking 4 glassed of water not so long before, I doubt if you feel thirsty, but you can drink and eat as part of your breakfast.

  20. Midelyn Ababon says:

    Thankz for your information and God bless..

  21. Ade says:

    how can my 9 year old stop bed wetting ?

    • Jenny says:

      There are many causes for bed wetting among kids (see here for more information), and there is a need to find the cause of the problem – is it emotional problem? is it a urinary tract infection? is it something else?. I suggest that you go with your child to the doctor for a proper diagnosis to see if there is a hidden reason or to rule out any health problem.

  22. Rita says:

    Hi jenny,
    I am trying to drink 4 glasses of water in the morning but the sad part of it I have to run to the toilet because it’s hard to control my bladder. Anyway I hope it will give benefits as mentioned. BTW, any advice what to do with freckles?? I have spots on both my upper cheeks, not nice!!

  23. Robert says:

    I always start my day with warm water, sometimes with a bit of lemon in it. Gets the digestion going.

    These proscribed amounts are no different than modern people saying we should drink 8 glasses per day. Just listen to your body and drink what feels right.

    Stop being so logical. Follow your intuition. Starting the day with some warm water is a good thing. Who cares how much it is?

  24. Kamala says:

    Hi jenny,
    I am suffering with heartburn and acid reflux. Will this water treatment helpful for me? Or any other solution to cure this? I tried medications, diet, natural foods. Nothing works. Please help me

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Kamala, you may want to have a look at my article about heartburn and see if there is something there that may help – see here.

  25. Amee says:

    Thanks Jenny for such a nice information, after read your article lots confusion solve regarding Drink Water On An Empty Stomach

  26. Naa says:

    Dear Jenny,
    At night I get up to urinate for more than four times. This makes me not to try enough sleep. Can you advice how to solve this?

    • Jenny says:

      Excessive urination at night is called Nocturia, and there are several reasons that can cause this issue – read about them here. Diagnosing the cause of nocturia needs to be done by your doctor. The article recommends to maintain a diary for a few days that records what you drink and how much, along with how often you go to the toilet.

  27. cora says:

    hi jenny i have not read any of your articles or book mentioned but i do practice drinking water after wake up a glass or two of water. ‘coz i noticed that my neck pain and sometimes at the back of the ears were gone then it appears again through out all day while at office. but it lessened when i started the practice. i do the 2 glasses after wake up during weekends coz i’m at home and going to bathroom frequently is not a problem. unlike when weekdays where i’m on trips to work it’s hard to control until i reach my workplace. really it’s amazing! i also tried the lemon water…i need to do it not to put in the fridge sometime…thank you for additional info..God bless.

  28. Muhoozi Davis(uganda) says:

    Water therapy is a good treatment, I had dry skin all over my face,dead skin could always fall off it, but since i discovered drinking water at least 3 liters a day for 8months now my skin turned health, soft and fresh with no complications anymore.

  29. Becky says:

    When you drink water before ANY meal it makes your stomach “full” so you eat less. As far as it riding your body of toxins is bs. Your body is designed to “flush out “toxins. That being said drinking water as recommended will “cure” headaches and constipation because both are signs of dehydration. It doesn’t matter when you drink it or how long you have to wait does not matter unless you are trying to lose weight then you should drink it RIGHT before you eat. It does not prevent or cure cancer. Which being a nurse and cancer patient it disturbs that these false accusations are made. You know your getting enough water when you urine is a clear yellow if you are getting too much your urine will be very clear hardly any color to it. When that happens you could cause life threatening problems. Monitor your urines color as a gauge. In Japan their cancer rates are going up and are right now are the same as the US. Good advice but there is misinformation in it as well.

  30. Mila says:

    I drink 1l of water with salt daily in the morning on an empty stomach and got rid of constipation that I have been suffering for more than 20 years

  31. Ahmet Harman says:

    is it really helpfull for epilepsy? i’ve epilepsy for almost 13 years and i’ve been looking for altenative cures, medicines..anyone has epilepsy and try this?

    and also if you know stg else that good for epilepsy, please write to me.

    [email protected]

  32. Meghana C says:

    Is it better to drink cold water or warm water in early morning in an empty stomach so that I can lose weight? Please suggest me which is better?

    • Jenny says:

      I’ve read in many places that it is recommended to drink either slightly warm water or water at a room temperature, but not cold water.

  33. abee says:

    My son 11 years old suffer from eepilepsy. Does this water method can work on him ? N how much he need to drink in the morning before break fast?

  34. Gana says:

    Hi Jenny, I started to drink 4 glasses of water every morning right after I wake up! Every morning after I drink the water after3-4 minutes I run to the bathroom and have diarhea. Is it normal? Is it yhe eay my body flushing out the toxins? The diarhea is only one or two times! I also had gallblader surgery 2 months ago! The water trestment started last week and today is my only 4 th time of drinking water! Thank you in advance!

    • Jenny says:

      If it causes you any issues, don’t continue with it. Everyone has a different body and you also had a recent surgery. It’s not a good idea to continue with it.

  35. mrs anietie dikki says:

    please i have enjoyed your topic on drinking up to 4 glasses of water first thing inthe morning. i have been doing this for years and its great, the issue now is how do i combine lemon with this 4 glasses of water? im confused. thank you

  36. JMC says:

    What happens when I drink water on an empty stomach? I get killer heartburn, that’s what! My doctor tells me that’s actually very common, and if you’re one of those people, you shouldn’t do it, because you can cause other problems due to the heartburn.
    Water is overrated. ANY clear liquid (including soda!) will do the job.

  37. Sumiya says:

    Why do we need to drink water in the morning that is fluoride free? I am curious because I drink tap water.

  38. Aaqib Rashid says:

    Hi Jenny research’s say that drinking water is good for our health. But the more water I drink, the more I urinate. When I take one glass of water, I can urinate two times.I drink one glass of water in the morning and 3 glasses in a day but I micturate 5-7 times a day.Is this normal? Need to know…

    • Jenny Hills says:

      I’ve read that most people urinate 4-7 times during a day, however there is no magic number. How frequently you pee is influenced by factors beyond how hydrated you are, including the types of fluids you’re drinking (caffeine and alcohol cause you to urinate more frequently). Also how sensitive your bladder is also plays a role. Some people need to pee at the slightest urge, while others don’t feel the need to pee until its fuller.

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