Ionic Foot Detox. Real or a Hoax?
The road to wellness is often laced with treacherous potholes and obstacles especially when it has to do with natural healing. There are a lot of scams out there that feed on trusting, sometimes desperate people who’s only wish is to get healthy and stay healthy. There has been a good amount of controversy on the subject of the ionic foot detox bath so I decided to try it out and see what all the fuss was and possibly debunk the mystery if there was anything to debunk. Sarah Bullin of Cleansing Power at the Beach was kind enough to let me try the system out for myself. I went to her newly opened Spa in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and sat down with her for a little while to fully understand the way the footbath works.
A Quick Science Recap
An ion is an atom or molecule with a total number of electrons not equal to the total number of protons, giving it a net positive or negative electrical charge. An anion from the Greek word meaning "up” is an ion with more electrons than protons, giving it a net negative charge. Many people refer to an anion as a “negative ion”. On the other hand, a cation, from the Greek word, meaning "down", is an ion with fewer electrons than protons, giving it a positive charge or “positive ion”. Osmosis is water moving through a thin material (in this case skin) that will let small molecules pass through, but larger molecules cannot get through.
How It Works
Your feet are placed into a tub of warm water with a brass and stainless steel electrodes connected to an energizing cartridge, which creates a positive or negative charge changing the water molecules by breaking them down into ions. Using osmosis the anions travel into the body where they will work with and even reinforce cells that might have been damaged by toxins. These anions set in motion enzymes needed for us to be healthy, and help our metabolism work well. Then the toxins in the body are drawn down towards the feet and are released into the saline water in the foot tub. This happens again by the process of osmosis, where the skin acts as a membrane through which anions and toxins can pass. The water takes on a visible color as the toxins are extracted from different parts of the body.
Device Watch is a company that researches “questionable medical devices.” The company looked into the ionic footbath and has said that is has no medicinal value at all. “Positive and negative ions cannot "resonate" throughout the body in response to any such device and the skin has no ability to excrete toxins. Real detoxification of foreign substances takes place in the liver, which modifies their chemical structure so they can be excreted by the kidneys, which filter them from the blood into the urine”. They blame the color changes to iron in the water. “The change of watercolor was due to greatly increased iron content. Thus it appears that (a) the color change is due mainly to the precipitation of rust created by corrosion of the electrodes, and (b) the water would change color regardless of whether or not a foot was placed in it
Susan placed the tub of warm to hot water under my feet and then placed the “Array” which is the electrode device between my feet in the tub. My feet were to be soaking for thirty minutes. Immediately I witnessed small bubbles coming from the Array as my feet sat still. I had a chart in front of me showing what colors were connected with which part of the body. I began to see a light yellow color form on the surface of the water. I checked the chart and didn’t recognize that color. In about half a minute it had turned a dark yellow, which was bladder toxins. Then I started to see slimy goo coagulate on the surface. According to the chart that was bad cholesterol, fat and triglycerides. Pretty soon my tub looked like dishwater after spaghetti night. It was amber colored with tiny specks of black on the surface. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I began to feel a strange squeezing feeling, like a cramp in my right side under my rib cage. It wasn't a very bad pain but Susan looked perplexed. I looked at my water and the color now coincided with the liver. She said she had never seen anyone ever feel the toxins leaving per organ so I tossed it up as just a cramp. The bubbles were black on the left side of the tub and in the right they were orange. She asked me if I had more problems with the left side of my body and I said that I did. In fact, my last chiropractor weighed me with two scales, one for each foot, and he found out that I have been putting 30 pounds more weight on my left side then my right. Susan said that the joints might be releasing more toxins on my left side than my right side. I looked at her impressed. There were other colors on the sheet that I never experienced such as “tiny snake like creatures” or “rancid odor”. I asked her about those as well. She said that many people who walk around barefoot might contract pinworms or parasites. She related to me a story of a man that had a tub full of them. I cringed at the thought. The bad smells are usually attributed to either cell death, or a back up in the colon. Suddenly the lower left side of my back started hurting. I looked at my tub and saw that it had turned reddish green. Those colors were connected to the kidney on the sheet. I shook my head wondering if I was just imagining all of this. Pretty soon the process was done.
Two Years of Waste
Susan took the tub away and replaced it with a tub full of soapy water. My feet had been dyed a rusty color. We sat and talked while my dogs were getting clean. I asked her how much toxic waste I had just released. She told me with a straight face, “Two years,” I choked. “Two years?” I exclaimed. She nodded with a grin, “Yep, now you’ll have to come back and get two more taken out.” I thought of all the beers I've had in the last two years and giggled. “Shoot, I’ll come back every Monday if it will detoxify my 30 something self!” She laughed too. “So how will I feel when I leave here?” I asked. “Most people feel very energetic and experience better memory. Depending on the amount of times you come back you can also experience a noticeable depletion in body and fecal odor. You might be able to move better and your joints might feel a bit more pliable.” “How often do you suggest coming back?” I asked. Susan answered, “I suggest you return until your water runs clean. Everyone is different, it took me twelve times. After that it is suggested you return every week to keep yourself clean.”
I Felt Like a Kid Again
As I was driving home I began to feel a noticeable difference. I don’t know if the foot detox is a hoax but I have to say, what I experienced was out of this world. I felt like leaping out of the car and sprinting home. (I was in North Myrtle and I live in Georgetown which is an hour and a half away) I was almost shaking with energy. I stopped to get a drink at a store on the way and the lady at the register asked me if I needed to take a seat. I must have looked like I was on an illegal substance. The man next to me asked me what I had just done and why I looked so excited. I told him and he immediately wanted to know the number to the place. Folks, he was wearing medical scrubs! My left elbow locks up quite often and the only way to get it unlocked is by forcibly throwing my arm out sideways. It looks very strange when I do it. My arm moved like butter! I had the biggest smile on my face for hours after the footbath.
No Longer a Skeptic
The bottom line is, sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Some medical scientists say it works and others say it’s a big waste of time and money. I’m not a medical scientist. What I can tell you is that the experience has made me feel very different about my body and I plan on returning. If a hoax can make me feel that good, then it’s the best hoax I ever spent money on. I leave it up to you to be the judge.