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Ionic Foot Detox. Real or a Hoax?

Updated on June 10, 2011

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.

The Controversy

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

My Experience

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.

Have You Tried the Ionic Foot Detox

If you have tried the ionic foot detox did it work for you like it did for me?

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      balance diet, healthy living, exercise, healthy food intake and change lifestyles in the best medicine

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I will comment after attending the session.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I tried the detox as recommend by a friend. Being a smoker I wasn't surprised about the water turning a yellows/ brown colour. What I was surprised about was I have been suffering from ovarian hemorrhagic cyst, half way in I started getting deadly cramps and dead blood started appearing. By the end of it the middle of the bucket (1/2) was filled up with blood. I can't say it was enjoyable experience, but to get rid of it in that amount of time instead of the 3-6 weeks it normally takes I definitely recommend it for someone with the same problem.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Chinese Medicine doctors have been cleaning peoples body’s and helping them detox through the feet for thousands of years, and mainstream science still hasn’t come around to validating and approving of TCM – do you really believe thousands of years of successful medical and healing work is a hoax? And not just a hoax, but a massive conspiracy?? Seems pretty unlikely to me.

      People need to try the ionic foot bath before jumping to conclusions - also try some chinese foot patches, some DMSO, and a colonic as well, before you jump to hasty conclusions about true healing therapies. My question to skeptics is: is nutrition also a hoax? Because if your on the side of the FDA and mainstream "science", well they still haven’t come around to most of the truly healing therapies out there; for instance using vitamin B3 for depression?! You still aren’t even allowed to “say” that B3 can help with depression!

      Dr. Andrew Saul has written countless books about the corruption in the medical community, and the lack of awareness about what works and what doesn’t – and the truth is that the medical community as it stands today wants people to stay sick (even if they don’t know it). Dr. Saul has written books about doctoring yourself for this very reason, as has David Wolfe, Dr. Gerson, Gerson’s Daughter, and countless others. What about vitamin C as a cure for cancer?? Mega dose vitamin has been shown to not only help reduce the size of tumors, in megadoses, but produces no side effects. Why isn’t this being done? And Gerson therapy – which I have done – can also cure countless diseases simply by having people do coffee enemas and drink fresh raw vegetable juice – why aren’t “scientific” journals talking about this?!

      This is why: the FDA, and the medical lobbyists have brainwashed the public into thinking that you have to not only pay money for health, but that having a DOCTOR is a necessity - and they are often corrupt, power hungry, and purely money drive. I'm not interested in these Ego boosting pursuits - I want to see people really heal! Some scientists (quote) say that the Kidneys, for instance, are more than capable of doing the job of detox work without any help..? Well this just isn’t true. They do some work yes, but our bodies are not designed to fight the onslaught of chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, larvacides, cosmetic chemicals and by products, pharmaceuticals, massive C02 and air pollution, heavy metals, etc that are around us today– these are not things the body knows or can simply “handle” without precisely applied knowledge. In truth, though, medical journals today (with the exception of a few including Dr. Sauls) and the FDA say so many absurd and completely contradicting things that i’m not surprised to see people being so closed minded and confused - they simply have never learned and don't understand.

      But moving on to the ionic foot bath and negative ions. First of all, the evidence for the effectiveness of the ionic bath is self-evident – rather, people finish and their skin is brighter, their body no longer hurts, they feel lighter, their PH is balanced, their blood pressure is stabilized – these tests have been done, too. Furthermore, the water in every detox bathtub, when a client is finished, not only turns different colors, but is has different smells, textures, opacities and thicknesses. Sometimes the bathwater is just a little brown and watery, and other times its gunked up with black oozing matter, white chunks, green bile looking stuff, yellow bile, you name it. Now certainly this isn't all from the body, but there is also no way that a single metal array in water with some salt could possibly produce all of those different variables. Can mainstream science dispute that? Yes the array produces color in the water with no feet in it – lots of brown with some fatty looking stuff. This is true! People need to understand that most of "that" brown color is rust and corrosion of the metal array in the water - but it simply can't produce these other variables.

      Thus, the only explanation is it has to be a combination of the effects of the array AND the feet of the client – there is no other explanation (except for utter stubbornness on the part of the closed minded). I know chemistry too, and all these variables simply can’t be accounted for.

      Thanks! ;)

    • profile image

      Julie L. 

      5 years ago

      I started researching this because a friend of mine told me the story of how he had used this treatment after being completely debilitated by deteriorating fillings. He said he was to the point that he had to crawl to the bathroom and he thought he was dying. He said that he started this protocol after getting the fillings replaced and that it cleared huge amounts of crud from his system. He said he started to feel a difference after the first treatment and returned until his symptoms had cleared up completely with no other medical treatments. Doctors had been concerned that he had leukemia, but even the medical doctor expressed concern about the condition of his dental fillings. The guy had been really, really sick and he wasn't selling me anything. He was talking about buying one of the machines to keep at home, even though they're quite expensive. His personal account yesterday was pretty consistent with what I just read, except that he underwent recovery from an illness, so there might well be something to it.

    • profile image

      Rebecca E. 

      5 years ago

      I did not believe this at first, but I said it was not the first time I have thrown money away, so I gave it a try. I suffer from joint pain and very stiff muscles. When I finished with the 30 min. secession, I felt like I could run for miles. For the next week was pain free. People can disbelieve all the want, but as for me, I am a true believer.

    • profile image

      Kari Luoto 

      5 years ago

      I am researching these machines and have established as a matter of scientific proven fact that they do remove uric acids from the body.

    • Melissa A Smith profile image

      Melissa A Smith 

      6 years ago from New York

      "According to the chart that was bad cholesterol, fat and triglycerides."

      Uhh, sure.

      In my opinion, people who charge people for these services are practically stealing from them. I don't see how you can support businesses like this that lie to people. I honestly question every claim made in this hub, it really sounds like it has been written to sell this to more people. You do realize everything you've written here is medically impossible? It would be an absolute miracle if anything you wrote here was true. Where is the evidence? I'm sorry, but this is unethical.


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