Ionic Detox Foot Baths: Scam or Science?

Ionic Detox Foot Baths: Scam or Science?
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This post is a reprint of one of our most heavily read and shared SpaCast blog posts, dated February 4, 2008.   The issue of whether ionic detox foot baths (and now, detox foot patches) offer any real benefit was one of the most hotly debated subjects ever printed on our spa lifestyle network.

The comments “against” (it’s a scam) heavily outweighed the comments “for” (it’s real)  (10 to 1) — but unfortunately, when we launched a new format for our spa directory and blog, we were unable to store and republish our readers’ original 200+ comments.

We vividly recall the most alarming comment in the “pro column” came from a women who claimed she was sold on the positive benefits when she could see live maggots wriggling in her foot bath, supposedly extracted from the pores of her feet.  We replied to that reader recommending that anyone who believes she sees live maggots after a foot treatment needs to be in a hospital — not a day spa.

We continue to receive inquiries from those still looking for the original SpaCast Scam or Science blog post, and asking if our position has changed.   It hasn’t.

Here is our original response to the question — are iconic foot baths scam or science?

A Reader asks us:

Are those Detox Foot Baths really helpful? The spa I use is now pushing them at $45 for a 30 minute session and guarantees I’ll be amazed, but I’m really dubious.” Name, City Withheld — February 4, 2008

The benefits of an Ionic foot bath are hotly contested by many organizations within the scientific, medical, aesthetic and alternative health care communities. We’d be suspect of a spa or wellness facility “guaranteeing” results — it’s the offer of a guaranteed detox which troubles us.

Two different websites, which both tout Ionic Foot Bath claim, offer this fairly common description of the process:

Ion Footbath Detoxification:
This is the most relaxing way to get rid of the toxins present in the body. You just have to sit on the chair, with your feet dipped into the water container. A flow of warm water will flow under your feet and the positive and negative ions in the water will attach themselves to the toxins present in the body. Toxins that are insoluble will also dissolve in this water.

Ionic Body Cleanse:
A gentle and effective way to detoxify, cleanse and balance the body by drawing the impurities out of the body through the feet. As your feet soak in the ionic foot bath, your body will undergo an amazing cleanse of years’ worth of stored toxins.

The process is supposedly based on osmosis — an ionater in the water-filled footbath released ions into the water. The polarity is reversed periodically, creating positive and negative ions, which are then taken up into your body through your pores. Your cells are then supposed to be energized by the ions in the water, which encourages your cells to release oil, acid, fat, heavy metals, and other debris and waste which has accumulated in your cells and bloodstream over your entire lifetime. As your cells release the toxins, again through osmosis, the toxins are carried out of your feet and back into the water, turning it a bright rust color, or a murky brown, or some other dramatic shade that makes you say “Eww.

When ionic / detoxing foot baths swept the market in the last few years, manufacturers even provided merchants with a color coded chart which was used to evaluate the murky color of the water after a foot bath session. Like comparing paint chips to a wall, one could supposedly match the color of the water to the correlating toxin on the chart to determine which toxins had been extracted.

There are a great many websites which claim this method of detox helps (or even outright cures) everything from parasites and worms to AIDS, Herpes, and Cancer. There is even a YouTube Video of the process.

Sound too good to be true? Too easy to be real? We think so.

We found a great many websites touting the amazing benefits of this treatment. Every one of them had a direct financial interest in the treatment — the dealers and treatment providers.

We also found a wealth of information claiming the Detox Foot Bath is a scam.

What we cannot find is a single informative article or treatise, no clinical tests or trials, from a reputable source or authority which demonstrates, proves, or even suggests a benefit from an Ion / Foot Detox Bath, other than the general feeling of well-being which comes from soaking the feet in hot water.

In a January 2008 article appearing in the Poughkeepsie Journal (archive link no longer available), we learned about Nina Venturella, CEO and Founder of Spa-Tacular Health in Palm Desert, California. According to the article, she has given hundreds of ionic foot baths since her facility opened in March 2006. The excerpts said:

I can look into that water and make an accurate assessment of what’s happening and where you need help, whether it’s joint pain, asthma, fibromyalgia,” she said. “What you’re looking at in that water is you.”

Proponents claim the detox baths enhance the immune system, relieve pain and joint stiffness, regulate sleep, remove heavy metals, improve organ function and assist in recovery time from illness.

Hayley Riccio, 17, of Palm Springs has been on a regular program of foot baths for the past six weeks. Prior to visiting Spa-tacular Health, she was in poor health.

I was bent over and crying, the pains in my stomach were so strong,” she said. “Sometimes I couldn’t sleep from all the pain.”

She visited a host of conventional doctors and was given a number of tests, though not one could find a problem. Venturella believed Riccio was suffering from candida, an infection said to cause severe immune system malfunction.

After about a week, I saw a huge difference from before,” Riccio said. She also eliminated wheat, dairy and sugar from her diet. “I’ve been feeling great ever since.”

That excerpt actually stopped us mid-sentence and we burst out laughing. Isn’t it fairly safe to assume — and even probable — that the restored feeling of well-being Hayley felt was the result of eliminating wheat, dairy and sugar from her diet, and had less to do with foot baths?

It’s just like saying ‘Ever since I started using ACME toothpaste, my teeth feel SO much better. Oh, and I also stopped chewing rocks.’

Read on.

The ionic foot bath has been criticized by some for being a hoax. However, Dr. Sairwaa Prevost — a board-certified internist who is on staff at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and has her own medical spa there as well – said the science behind the ionic foot baths makes sense.

The science sounds reasonable to me,” Prevost said. “It’s taking advantage of the same principles of reflexology, that everything is connected through the feet.”

Well, yes, there is the principle that everything is connected through the feet, but we have yet to see reflexology routinely involved in an Ionic Foot Bath treatment. Reflexology is a therapeutic method of relieving pain by actually stimulating predefined pressure points on the feet and hands. Like Hayley, who felt better when eliminating wheat, dairy and sugar from her diet, we agree that most people would feel better from a session of reflexology. But what of the bath, itself? Dr. Prevost owns a medi-spa. Does she offer a Detox Foot Bath?

Prevost does not offer detox foot baths at her spa. She heard about the process from two patients – a man with AIDS and a woman with breast cancer. Both patients have been doing regular detox baths to complement traditional medicine.

If you just call this the “it can’t hurt theory”, just about any non-harmful and pleasant feeling treatment could be considered a compliment to traditional medicine, including a manicure with hand massage, neck rub from a spouse, aromatherapy, and a warm compress.

Here are some excerpts from a variety of websites and forums that have addressed the same skepticism.

I recently saw my wife and several friends get duped about supposed benefits of an Ionic Detoxification Unit. Don’t get suckered into buying or paying for a session in an ionic detoxification foot bath! Guess what, the water turns “toxic” colors whether your feet are in there or not, because it is just the corrosion of the electrodes that causes the water to change color. (1)

It is sensible and reasonable to seek ways to rid ourselves of this unhealthy burden. Yet it never ceases to amaze me what odd fads people will get excited about when it comes to alternative medicine. Intelligent, well educated people will suddenly suspend any glimmer of common sense to “believe” in some new treatment, especially if it claims to pull toxins from the body. One in particular that has surprised me with its staying power is the “detoxing foot bath.” Rather then disappearing after a short initial burst of interest, these foot soaks have caught on. Since I’m asked about them regularly, I am going to take a few moments to write down my thoughts. … Careful experimentation suggests that the color change occurs whether or not there are feet in the bath. The discoloration apparently comes from metal ions drawn into the water from the electrodes. One of the websites has a fast motion video of the water changing color. You can actually see the initial color coming off of the electrode in the corner of the bath and not the feet. (2)

My wife and I are seeing a chiropractor to correct some back and neck problems. Having never seen a chiropractor prior to this, I’m a bit skeptical of that science, but since my insurance pays for it, I thought I would try it. The chiropractic has helped me tremendously. My wife started after I started to see results. I only found out AFTER she had paid for 10 treatments at a cost of $385 that they had put her on a course of these “ionic foot baths”.

Needless to say, not only does the insurance not cover it, but for good reason. It should have been a clue. I was present one day when she finished her foot bath and she showed me the dirty water with little bits of black flakes and white flocculent material. I explained my theory that the water would have changed color most likely whether or not her feet were in the bath at the time. I told her I would show her, so today I did a little experiment:

As you can see in the picture in the upper left, I have a 12 volt battery charger, with two electrodes, one of copper, and the other of steel (a piece of copper pipe, and a nail). In the beaker is room-temperature filtered water with added sea salt (what most peddlers of these products recommend). After only a couple of minutes at most, the water in the beaker appeared as shown in the picture at the upper right: Yellow, with black flakes, and “floaties”.

All of this was conducted Without Feet in the water. (3)

We don’t doubt that many people who enjoy regular sessions of a Ionic Foot Bath feel better, but we don’t think the pleasant feeling has much to do with the “science” being claimed. The BBC’s Consumer Watchdog agreed, and set out to find out more about the Aqua Detox brand, specifically. Here’s that the BBC had to say:

Aqua Detox is a foot spa with a difference. A tiny electrical current and some salt are added to the water, and after 30 minutes, your body’s said to be cleansed. Each session can cost as much as £50, or you can buy your own foot spa for nearly £1,000.

Watchdog rang beauticians across the country to find out about the treatment. The same claims were made time and again, that the foot spa worked by drawing toxins out of the feet, turning the water brown.

But Watchdog took this idea to science expert Dr Ben Goldacre, who wasn’t impressed. He said: “It has nothing to do with toxins. It’s just basic chemistry – electrolysis. The water goes brown because metal electrodes are rusting in a salt water bath.” So even if you don’t put your feet in the water, it would still turn brown. Goldacre even demonstrated the process with some salt water, a car battery and a Barbie doll. Even Barbie turned the water brown.  (4)

The manufacturer of the footbath claims a battery creates a negative charge in the water that helps to grab onto the toxins in a patient’s body and suck them out. Barron said the problem is not with the studies, but with the science. “There is no evidence that it would have any effect whatsoever, other than having a pleasant feeling,” he said. (5)

Stephen Lower is a retired faculty member of the Dept of Chemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby / Vancouver, Canada. He sets out to debunk the bunk because “Chemistry is my favorite subject, and I hate to see it misused to rip people off.” He tells us the following:

To someone who knows no chemistry, it can be quite impressive to see all these evil substances color the water various shades of brown, green, and blue as the current works its magic… Well, this is an old parlor trick, a nice chemistry-classroom demonstration, and, of course, a highly profitable scam.

Of course, it always feels good to rest your tired feet in a container of warm water, and the slight tingling sensation caused by the low-voltage current might even be rather pleasant. But the stuff about drawing “toxins” out of your body is pure bunk. That’s the job of your kidneys, which are exquisitely suited to this task.
Some sites show pictures of what they purport to be blood cells before and after treatment, implying that the cells become less entangled or clumped together. Don’t be fooled by this nonsense, which is usually attributed to un-named “doctors” and has never been reported in the reputable scientific literature.  (6)

A brand of Detox / Ion Foot Baths in the United states is ionSpa. In an article appearing in The Ledger in December 2007, ionSpa points out that its machine is registered with the Food and Drug Administration under a category for non-medical devices and they make no medical claims. They initially distributed those handy color coded charts with their foot baths, so that providers could identify the toxins being removed. They don’t do so anymore and now they just claim their foot bath unit has a “revitalizing effect.” (7)

That, we absolutely believe. Foot soaks make you feel better. A hot foot bath has long been a therapy given to patients and the infirm to ease tension and induce calm.

Our advice to our readers? Seek out your favorite day spa for a long and thorough pedicure in a revitalizing jetted pedicure throne, and have your feet groomed for an hour. We bet you’ll feel just as wonderful, at a lower price, and with some pretty toenails to admire.

Disagree? Want to comment? We welcome all comments, positive and negative, particularly those with sources for scientific and medical opinion.

Sources available of time of original post (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)

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06/01/2013 | | Tags: ,

49 thoughts on “Ionic Detox Foot Baths: Scam or Science?

  1. Tina Mendoza says:

    After catastrophic brain injuries 4 years ago, I get gastritis 24/7 due to brain overloads leading to many debilitating conditions and intolerances. I have to eat 100% organic foods. I only find 6 foods I can eat that are 100% organic. If it wasn’t for the ionic foot bath machines, I would be dead by now. I used to have to detox every other day and some times daily. I can now go now without detoxing for a week. The toxins keep diminishing with detoxing and the water is less dirty. I used to even get hard metal particles in the water, but now I’m free of them. Thus, this miraculous machine is saving my life by keeping me alive. The comments of those non believers do not know what they are saying. It is dangerous to assume something don’t work; especially, when it saves lives.

    • Maddie says:

      It’s a shame the entire medical profession, including doctors and hospitals and even medical teams in third world countries who don’t have adequate resources, don’t want to save lives with this simple device. It certainly isn’t to save money or because they can’t MAKE money from it, because an ER ward or a hospital will sell you aspirin for $100 each when the bill comes. They could bill thousands for a session of this Miracle Bath. But, I guess they won’t sell you a session on this machine to SAVE YOUR LIFE because they want everyone to DIE, Tina. Yep, all doctors want us to die, and they make sure we do by not prescribing or carrying your miracle foot bath. What a terrible shame. But hey, at least your drug store foot bath is saving YOUR life. Hey — that’s what AIDs and disease-plagued countries need! More Walgreens, less hospitals!

  2. Nadine Bozek says:

    Lovers gonna’ Luv, Haters gonna’ Hate!

    • Maddie says:

      Isn’t everyone appreciative that Nadine weighed in with such a useful and insightful comment? I mean, how can anyone not find her contribution to this scientific topic valuable? I hope she’s also a fan of cryogenics so she can contribute her wisdom to future generations.

  3. Reggy says:

    For me, the jury is still out.
    As a person who studied chemistry for 7 years, and a holder of a Professional Engineering License, I am a bit more than skeptical.
    I understand electrolysis. I know how to conduct the electrolytic process, nonetheless, I am a bit more than puzzled as to why my sister’s ionic foot bath’s coloration was almost black (according to her, as I did not witness it), whilst mine was light brown to rust in color.
    I know that she had a some test done a few years ago that involved her having to had some trace element put in her, for the purposes of running the test, so maybe that’s the reason for our contrasting colors.
    However, I have the amalgam filling in about 6 of my teeth, but the bath didn’t pick that up. But I was badly exposed to Roundup (the weed killer about 4 to 5 years ago), and I still get irritations at the sites of the exposure (i guess my liver haven’t quite fully rid my system of that toxin).
    I have 7 more “treatments” to go, so, the jury is still out.

  4. Newton says:

    Today is my second day for detoxifying my body using ionic foot bath. I have a normal therapy foot spa in my house which I have been using, Clearly I have felt a difference after using the two of them. There is a great feeling of wellness after using the Ionic Foot Spa than the ordinary one. Secondly the water does not change colour when using the ordinary foot Spa. What then causes the change in the colour of the water when one uses the Ionic foot Spa which doesn’t happen when using the ordinary foot Spa? Can the critics please explain this?

    • Spa Index says:

      You are likely describing an electric (bubbling) “normal therapy foot spa” of the type you pour water into a basin, plug in the appliance, and it bubbles and whirls and keeps the water reasonably warm, yes? If so, the reason the water doesn’t change color in a “normal” foot spa vs a “detox” foot spa is this: The water goes brown in the detox spa because metal electrodes and array plates are rusting in the salt water. The “normal” spa doesn’t have these elements to create rust.

  5. Jean says:

    Could anyone tell me a good bath to purchase?

  6. Rachel says:

    Where can you go to get a detox foot salt bath in Medford Oregon area.

    I appreciate your time

    thank you

  7. Pat says:

    I just want to add my 2 cents worth here about the detox foot bath…about 10 years ago I was so sick I spent a year living on my couch…could not do anything, no energy, always sleeping and in so much pain I had a hard time to move ( I was in my mid 30’s then), I ended up going to an environmental clinic at a well known research hospital where I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Mercury poisoning…they were in a panic because the levels of mercury were so high in my blood. I was told I could never eat fish again and that I would have to have all my fillings replaced, this at a high cost, because there were only 3 dentists in the area that were able to remove them safely without releasing more mercury into my system. I could not afford that and found a lady in my area with a foot bath that she offered along with other services…I went 8 times and the results were amazing…this is the ONLY thing I did for the mercury and I have the blood tests to prove it, before my levels were off the chart, after the treatments my mercury levels were back down and on the low end of the acceptable levels, I also had sever asthma and allergies to trees, grass and any thing green that grows basically…I have not used my asthma pump since that time and I am able to be outside in the spring time when every thing is in bloom without having a severe allergy attack. I stopped doing the foot bath for some time and have been feeling run down again, so I have recently started going again to get ready for spring. I whole heartedly believe that it works, it may not be for everyone…but then neither is all medication…and really what can it hurt?

  8. doug blackman says:

    I personally had worms/parasites 1″ long come out of the bottom of my right foot after a 1 hour soak detox which was seen, photographed, and witnessed be my sister, her kids, and the care giver. It does work. nuf said. I can lay my hand on the Bible and swear to it. Thanks Doug Blackman

  9. Marie says:

    I had never heard of ionizing detox footbaths until I saw it offered in my chiropractor’s office. My husband was with me and we enquired about what it was. The staff explained and my husband, who was suffering from terrible seasonal allergies at the time, as he has done for years, decided to try it. We were not expecting much. He was absolutely miserable from his allergies, which was common for him. He had even taken allergy shots in the past with only slight improvement, and taken prescription and OTC medicines seeking relief. As I sat next to him during the footbath, I could hear his breathing change. His nose had been so swollen it had a slight whistling sound. I heard it when the inflammation went down in his nose and his nasal passages opened up. You may say that it was just soaking his feet in water that caused it. Well, we realized that it could have been that so he decided to come back the next week and just see what would happen. During the week in between footbaths he had no more “sneezing fits”, which he usually had all day for 6-8 weeks. He still had some slight stuffiness, but nothing like before the footbath. He went on to take 3 more during the allergy season. He had ONE sneezing episode! And had so much relief that we were amazed. The next allergy season was the best he has had in probably 15 years. Whether there is science to support this or not, we don’t know. All we know is the evidence of results. There is SOMETHING there that works. Whether or not the water changes color is beside the point in my mind. My poor husband got relief. That’s what matters to me. Worked for him. I hope others won’t just write it off if there’s a chance to get help. It may be worth a try. I’m so glad we did.

  10. Tina says:

    Well…this has all been really something. I’m reading so much negativity about these ionic baths. I had one done for the first time today. I was very skeptical and thought it was a bunch of BS, but I’ll try almost anything once. I had amazing differences while doing the foot bath. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. The pain in my neck went away. I felt energetic, clear minded, happy. It was a big change. So, I don’t know what the hell is going on here, folks, but something IS happening during those foot baths.

    I’m doing it again.

  11. Richard L. Schaefer says:

    I am convinced that this is a scam.
    I got my tub ready with the salt. I put a divider in the tub just tight enough so the water was not isolated. I put the Ionizer in one side of the tub and my feet in the other side. I ran it for 30 min.

    Results:
    The water on the feet side remained clear.
    The water on the other side was black.

    I am convinced that all of the black crap is coming from the Ionizer and salt.

    Would you also like to buy a star?? What a croc

  12. Louise says:

    The criticism that skin does not elimate toxins is completely biased ignorance. This a absolutely wrong information.
    Reviewer posts “Simple biology: human sweat glands, human skin, is not designed to eliminate toxins from the body.” Therefore they cannot be utilized to do such. The kidneys, liver, and excretory systems of the body (urinary system, colon) are designed to eliminate toxins.” Skin is a major eliminator of toxins.
    http://mbg.is/faIkO3

  13. L V says:

    I recently worked at a facility that offered the Ion Foot Detox. I too thought it could be a scam, so I did my own testing. I ran the machine with the sea salt and no feet. The water remained clear. I then replaced the water, added fresh sea salt and then added my feet. The water turned almost black/green. Totally disgusting. I have to say that I did feel better (I have Fibromyalgia).
    I repeated the test with a client of mine and the results were the same except the color of the water was brownish orange after her treatment was complete but clear when we ran the test without her feet.
    Since then I have had several treatments and I do feel better for a few weeks. I do not own a machine and have no vested interest in the debate. I hope this information helps.

    • laura says:

      I purchased an ionic foot spa after hearing 2 friends with cancer were told to use them to assist their bodies during chemo. My boyfriend and I both gave it a try, along with his 16 yr old daughter. Her water was clear after 30 min but ours was orangish/brown and really gross. I noticed right away that I wasn’t pushing him to the shower when he came home from work and I normally do. The only difference in his routing was the foot bath (and we have only done it one time). This alone is enough to give me hope that the ionic bath is doing something positive for our bodies.

  14. James says:

    So after reading your article, all I see is you talking about the water changing color. This is supposed to be about detoxing the body, right? So where are the blood test results? What happens in the body before and after the detox? That would end the debate. This is the same problem I see in all the articles about foot detox. None of them actually address whether or not the detox process works, just that the water changes color. This is what is called pseudo-science. No research, just guessing. Do some actual studies or find some actual studies that have blood work and results. Then offer a valid objective opinion. I’m trying to find actual answers on foot detox and there are none here.

    • Spa Index says:

      There are no actual answers on the effectiveness of foot detox, here, because we don’t think they exist. James, if you read our article, you’ll understand we share your view. Without medical research and extensive laboratory results, we are not of the mind that ionic foot baths accomplish anything beyond a feeling of relaxation and increased energy, which most pedicures accomplish as well. That’s our objective opinion, although we publish all opinions by commenters. One commenter below, Pat Kultgen, indicates lab results are available in Chicago. We’ve requested but have not yet received that information.

    • tbrit says:

      To James:
      Instead of searching for studies, why don’t you do the blood tests on yourself? You will find the truth right away and with no doubt!

  15. Michelle says:

    Im severely mercury poisoned from fillings in my teeth. I had them replaced but didnt really know what to do next. I went to a dentist in Pocatello Id who did a mercury tri-test on me to see how badly I was poisoned. He said he could tell. Iwas really sick and wanted me to go to his naturopath that day, he was making me an appt. I felt so rotten I went along. The naturopath looked at my blood under a microscope, adjusted my spine and put me in a foot bath. My water turned all the colors too, however I could taste metal in my mouth when it turned black and the lady that worked there said she could smell it in the air when she walked in the room. About 10 minutes in I began to have pain in different areas of my body, first my shoulder then that would go away and my other shoulder would hurt, one after another, all over. I have rheumatoid arthritis and at the time I had some joints that were swollen. I had a fever of 99.9 when I got there and I have to say I felt great when I left. My arthritis was gone, the fever was gone and I felt good for the first time in many years. I had no idea why, in fact I thought it was a gimmick when the water was turning colors, I thought the machine was making all the muck. Im a believer now. In fact I came home and couldnt find a foot bath in my area so I do my own with epsom salts and every time one of my joints starts to hurt I soak my feet and it goes away. Im battling Candida, mercury, parasites and inflammation. I have a long road ahead but soaking my feet will continue to be one of my weapons whether the “science” holds up or not.

  16. Pat Kultgen says:

    I have testing data showing that an ionic unit I was using was able to pull heavy metals out of people. If you would like to see this data, please contact me. The tests were run by Doctor’s Data lab in Chicago.

  17. Tana S. says:

    I have been using the ionic foot baths for years, and I have seen positive results. The most memorable experience was after I had a contrast MRI (when they injected a metallic dye into my bloodstream). The following day, I went to the spa for an ionic foot bath, and the water became FULL of black specks – so many that you could not see through the water at all! The spa workers were shocked. They had never seen anyone’s water pull out so much metal from their body. I had had many foot baths before, but my water had always turned orange or brown, sometimes with bubbles, and sometimes with white yeast particles. This was the first and only time that I saw so much metal come out. I had seen a few black flecks before, but nothing like I did after the MRI. For this reason aloe, I know that the commercial ionic foot baths work!

  18. Sara Victoria says:

    I own an EB 305, the only manufacturer that I am aware of that physicians use, and I bought it
    after having such great results from using it at an office. I have suffered from a toxic condition (candidiasis)
    and the footbath always reduces swelling, dries up yeasty places and seriously
    enhances energy. I’ve used it on a lot of other people, and have had the following results:
    headaches and sinus congestion clearing up on the spot.
    colds that were coming on arrested (all of these very common.)
    A woman who suffered from migraines said her migraines stopped – after one treatment.
    I’ve heard that a few different places, but she was my only migraine person.
    It definitely activates the meridian system – I’ve felt certain acupuncture points get
    activated while in the footbath (stomach and large intestine points) and have seen other
    people with the same experience. One woman had red lines appear on her skin a few times
    – apparently along kidney meridians, but I am not familiar enough with the meridian system to know, personally.
    Also, it is very common for people to experience a detox effect afterwards – sore joints for a while is common,
    and tiredness, which goes away after the second treatment, usually.
    It also seriously elevates your mood.
    Oh- also – one guy was in the footbath while the acupuncturist in the office (I had it
    in a holistic physician’s office) the acupuncturist was treating him with a needle or two in
    detox points near the ear. He had quit smoking and was doing what he could to clean out.
    The needles would not stay in.
    Never happened before, apparently.
    But they just kept falling out.
    I can also see when someone is a smoker – definitely comes out in the water.
    I cannot say what the science is or is not, but I can say without a doubt
    that it has a definitely beneficial effect, sometimes dramatically so.
    I hate it when I cannot do a footbath, it makes me look and feel a lot better.
    So there you have it, from one who has done it a great deal and has
    seen many others do it.
    I am not sure about other manufactures, however.
    One woman said she had a model at home, but didn’t
    have the results that she did in the office.

  19. Andrea says:

    After doing a search about these I came across your website. Thanks for posting. I also wanted to give you a link to a study about the detox foot bath which I found quite interesting. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/258968/
    Thanks again for the insights as they have helped me confirm what I was thinking all along. I just wanted more proof or a different perspective as some one mentioned that Chinese medicines and alternative treatments can work however, I personally, would like to dispute this particular method as it raised many questions for me.

    • martin moffitt says:

      Yes I read the/that study also… among others.. the whole “FOOT-BATH’ thing is a SCAM!

      Martin J. Moffitt

      • Alice says:

        It is only a SCAM if it doesn’t work. People attest that it does work and that it has helped them. What I’ve found is a SCAM is Western medicine that tells you to take this pill, that pill, and sorry………..gives you a host of symptoms.

  20. Aaron says:

    Has any thing been done to single out a well made device compared to a cheap one. I would like to see more of a study on the better made devices. I know that a lot of devices out there have cheap steel parts in them, hence discoloration of the water and the rust. But what of the devices that have high grade stainless steel and possibly other alloys. Id like to see those devices put to the test.

  21. Patricia says:

    My concern is not whether it CAN work. Because I do believe that many of the ancient methods for natural healing do in fact work. I am sure that there are places out there which are legitimately providing that service. My concern is that some of these “spas” may not be adhering to the actual process, and instead charging people for a fake treatment which happens to produce murky water on its own. What I would like to see is a test of different chain spas to see who is doing the real thing and who is scamming.

  22. john says:

    I’m sorry but your simply bashing something you don’t totally understand. 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.

    I suggest you not only try the ionic foot bath, but the chinese foot patches, and some DMSO, and a colonic as well, before you jump to such hasty conclusions about true healing therapies. Is nutrition also a hoax? Because if your on the side of the FDA, 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. Your saying above that the Kidneys are more than capable of doing the job without any help? This just isn’t true. 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 – 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 about things they don’t understand…

    But moving on – also, 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 bath tub, when a client is finished, not only turns different colors, but is has different smells, textures, opacities and thicknesses. Sometimes the bath water 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! So there is 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 – but it can’t possibly 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.

    I am a pioneer of helping people realize they can not only doctor themselves, but that we need to stop listening to shallow minds and people with a bent on making the world a sterile world full of sickness, financial debt, and constant medical care.

    • Spa Index says:

      We approve all open debate on the topic, even when the questions posed are intended to be offensive rather than thought provoking. Couching your comment with the throw-away “I’m sorry” intro doesn’t mean you intend not to insult, rather than discuss. To answer your questions: Is nutrition a hoax? Of course not. Is Traditional Chinese Medicine a scam? Of course not, that’s why we publish positive articles on the topic and have a category devoted to it. In fact, we are so respectful of this ancient practice that we don’t insult its practitioners or belittle their expertise by comparing what it and they provide, which includes diagnostic consultations as well as care, with something as trivial as “As Seen on TV foot patches” found in a corner drug or novelty store. Just as we don’t think a Flowbee home hair cutting device can compare with the services of a Master Stylist. You can buy the patches and the Flowbee at the same types of stores. That said, we welcome all opinions. We very much regret that we were unable to import the significant number of comments, both positive and negative, that this post has generated over the years. Perhaps we’ll be able to gather more in the future.

    • Ro says:

      Thank you for your words of wisdom! I have felt the same way about the FDA! Especially about the mega doses of vitamin C for cancer ! Have you ever heard of Dr. Bruzynski? An amazing story about cancer and vitamin C.

    • Georgia Jackson says:

      Great dispute against those that are out there downing the detox machine and treatments. I DO believe that the experts that use these machines…the right way,…. know what they are doing, and I and others that get the treatments are getting great results. I believe that all those complainers out there, must feel threatened (by the detox machine),for some reason ..maybe threatened by the successful inventor of the detox machine. Or just want another reason to be negative and closed-minded. My name is Georgia Jackson, and I love the results I have been getting from a good foot detox…over the past few years.

    • geoff says:

      its funny people on here asking about blood test etc…I had several blood test last year after feeling quite ill for some time…the blood test came back normal…not satisfied with western medicine i had some hair analysis done which showed a large infection and other symptons that so called western medicine could not pick up or even worse cure…I think the baths are good, my partners has had them and felt significantly better the same day… Of course one must realise that western medicine is backed by the large pharma companies, a multi billion dollar industry..of course they are not going to admit that anything which will take some of their revenue away is legit…you only have to look at a majority of “alternative” medicine cures that do work to see this…
      the thing that makes me laugh is that they call it alternative medicine which is actually thousands of year old..I believe everyone is different and certain thing work for certain people and some dont…I believe from several people who have had this treatment and it has worked for them that the baths work for them…they are the living proof it works not some blood test which dont pick up a lot of ailments..this is fact, even our doctor told me this but will pick up SOME major abnormalities..

  23. Susan says:

    Your response is a perfect example of everything wrong with assuming this works. You are one subject. It would take many subjects to prove anything. You have various factors. You have not regulated for intervening factors, so we do not know if you are in remission spontaneously, from a change in sunlight, or other factors that could affect you. What is most likely is that you have experienced a placebo effect, as there is no scientific reason for your remission, you are experiencing many illnesses that are psychosomatically affected, and even cite conditions which are not illnesses, such as sleeping on your arm, which should produce no lasting symptoms unless you are quite psychosomatic. Your acupuncturist recognized you are highly susceptible to a magical cure such as these footpaths, and you have had the desired placebo reaction.

  24. Maury Brooks says:

    Maybe the acupuncture treatment eased you issues? Accupuncture can be a very powerful healing modality.

  25. M says:

    That is awesome you go I hope it continues to help you I read some of the comments on here and they do not understand what it is like to be in pain and never will im happy for you

  26. Roxy says:

    Its amazing to read the criticism of ignorant people, on both sides of the token. First, if people would take the time to understand the cellular composition of the human body maybe everyone would understand that the positively charged cells in our bodies, both good and bad, do have the ability to be affected energy. You are sitting down reading this message because of it aren’t you? Second, there is NO such thing as a “placebo” effect. That is a term that “scientist” invented to justify there ignorance to the human body ability to defeat illnesses, just like they invented the thousand of diseases that “need” the intervention of a pharmaceutical that pays for there mortgage. The human body was created perfect. We simply ruin them with this lifestyle we feel is the calling of life. We intoxicate, poison, stress and debilitate our bodies immune system to point where he have no or little ability to fight off pathogens that infiltrate us. Third, physiological disorders are demonstrated by everyone. Especially the ones that point fingers at everyone and feel they are “always right” or have the belief that a clinical study is the only way for someone to be cured. I suggest we all take a look at EVERYTHING that this world is doing to make everyone sick and wake up to the realty that at the pace we are going everyone will be sick in the coming years and the elite will be sitting high looking down at the world squirm while they die. –

  27. M says:

    And maybe it worked for her and that is great because if all she has to do is soak her feet and feel better then I say soak your feet

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