Foot Detox - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
When I first heard about foot detox a couple years ago, I was curious about the claims that an ionic foot bath can remove toxins from your body. I live in a major metropolitan area (Chicago), so I'm not breathing clean air or drinking pure water. On top of that, I eat processed foods daily even though I know it's not doing me any favors.
I'm not willing to eat 100% healthy all the time (I love Chicago pizza too much) or move to the mountains near a freshwater spring (though that does sound really nice), but if there's technology that can help keep my body optimally healthy, I'm interested in learning more. Fortunately, it's easy to research "foot detox" online since there are 1000s of websites that talk about it. Unfortunately, there's two extreme viewpoints that make it difficult to get a balanced opinion about the subject.
In one corner you have the companies who sell the ionic foot bath equipment or provide it as a service. These people claim that the color of the ionic foot bath water indicates the part of the body being detoxified. In the other corner, you have the people who understand some of the science behind this technology, but are too cynical to accept the possibility that there might be something to this whole thing. These two opposing viewpoints aren't addressing the other side's viewpoint, which gives the impression that both sides have an agenda.
I want to highlight a basic fact here in an effort to bring some balance to this issue of foot detox. The fact is that the water in a ionic foot bath will change color whether a person's feet are in the water or not. The cynics have taken this fact as case-closed proof that foot detox offers no health benefits whatsoever, while ignoring the many health benefit claims from the people who use it. The people who sell ionic foot bath units have been saying for years that the color change of the water indicates of the part of the body that's being detoxified. Both viewpoints are wrong (mostly).
The cynics who understand that oxidation of the metal array accounts for the immediate color change in a ionic foot bath draw the premature conclusion that the entire thing is snake oil and anyone who claims to have health benefits is only experiencing the placebo effect. This is a lazy approach to scientific research because these people are ignoring many health benefit claims that go beyond what the placebo effect is capable of.
I'm not an expert on how a foot detox works, but I've done enough research to know that many people are experiencing health benefits that go far beyond what the placebo effect is capable of. Just this week I spoke with a woman who found a hookworm in her foot detox water after a treatment! I've spoken with smokers whose water smells strongly of smoke odor. I'm willing to admit that some of the many claims of pain relief can be attributed to the placebo effect, but parasites and strong smoke odors aren't in your head, they're real.
I recently spoke with woman who has been providing ionic foot baths to hundreds of people and she talked to me for 45 minutes about the many health benefits her clients have received, and the many doctors who have been mystified by the recoveries their patients have experienced after receiving foot detox treatments.
I'm convinced that most people doing a detox foot bath are getting something more than just the placebo effect, but I still have an issue with the whole color-of-the-water=the-part-of-the-body-being-detoxed claim. If you've done a foot detox then you know that the water starts to turn brown almost immediately. This is due to oxidation of the metal array in the water. I've talked with dozens of people and most of them have the same color water as me - brown, the color of rust. Water analysis done by a laboratory has confirmed a significant increase in iron. But there's more to the story. The water starts out brown, but for many people, the water will eventually turn other colors, such as white, green or black. That's definitely not rust, so what is it?
The popular color chart used by most ionic foot bath providers says that brown water indicates "liver detoxification, cellular debris and tobacco detoxification", but there's no way I'm going to believe that my liver starts shooting toxic debris out of my feet a few seconds after starting an ionic foot bath. I've never smoked so that's not a factor. Several labs have done water analysis and found high levels of iron in the water, so I'm confident in my conclusion that oxidation of the metallic array is what's causing the water to turn brown.
I've talked with dozens of people who regularly use adetox foot bath and most of them have the same color water as me - brown, the color of rust. Now to be fair, not everyone has the same color water, which is why I'm open to there being some truth to the idea that the color indicates the part of the body being detoxed, but the fact remains that many of the proponents of foot detox are ignoring basic chemistry and undermining their credibility in the process.
However, in 2002, Doctor's Data, Inc., a laboratory in St. Charles, IL, did a before and after water analysis of an ionic foot bath and found significant increases in antimony, arsenic, copper, lead, uranium, barium, cadmium, chromium, nickel, aluminum, iron, manganese and zinc in the detox foot bath that had feet in it compared to the water that had no feet. The increase in heavy metals had to come out of the feet, proof positive that there's more to this story than simple oxidation of metal.
Another matter that unsimplifies the cynic's conclusion is that the woman who had the hookworm come out during her ionic foot bath told me her water usually turns black, even though her husband who uses the same unit always has brown water. Is this issue cut and dry? Hardly. Clearly, there's more to this matter that warrants further research.Detox your whole body - via the feet. Foot detox bath.
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