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When I was in massage therapy school I chose to research the Ionic Detox Foot Bath. I certainly cannot offer something to my clients that I cannot stand behind and believe in. Below are the results of my research. Was this hokey pokey? Or are there legitimate health benefits to this? Enjoy!
What is an Ionizing Detox Foot Bath
An ionic detox foot bath is a natural method of assisting the body in eliminating harmful toxins, heavy metals, and other harmful foreign matter. A Detox Foot Bath operates through a process called electrolysis. This is done by generating the proper amount of DC current in the foot bath water causing the molecules of H2O to divide producing negative and positive charged particles. These charged particles are called ions. Once the negative ions are present in the water, the body absorbs these ions through a process called osmosis. So basically then these ions enter your body and begin to neutralize these molecules. One of the main purposes of an ionizing detox foot bath is to help the body become more alkaline by removing “free radicals” and other harmful things from the body. An alkaline body is crucial to a person’s health. Diseases thrive in an acidic environment. The less acidic your body is and the more alkaline, the less prone you are to contracting certain diseases and health issues. In fact, the Center for Disease Control reports that up to 85% of all illness are caused by toxins and pollutants in our bodies. Many different foods that we put in our body have either acidic or alkalizing properties.
The entire process of how it works is really very simple. During a typical session, a machine is hooked up to what is called an “array.” This array is the conductive transfer unit of the direct current into the water which generates the ionic field. This array is placed in the tub of water with your feet and a minimal amount of salt. The water will change color and bubbles are produced. The bubbles that are produced are the separation of the hydrogen and oxygen in the water as the ionic filed is being created.
The next question we have is, does this really work?
Does this really work?
In my many hours of research, I would have to say that it does indeed work. However, not all the claims are true. I will explain that further in a moment. But first let me tell you about a few different places that researched this. There were two major reports that I read through where people actually measured either the water, or the blood of a person to determine if heavy metals were removed from a person.
The first study I read about was done by the Canadian College of Naturopathic medicine and the University of Toronto. I found that our government took this study and claimed it as their own thru the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Nice. This study took 6 “healthy” participants and measured them for various metals before and after treatments. During this study there were several times in the report where it said, “Participants results were lost in transit.” What? The numbers did show a slight difference, however they felt it was minute quantities. They did show a difference though in the test of the water without feet and with feet in them. I had a hard time trusting this study as there were only 6 participants and all of whom were “healthy,” with information being lost, as well as much of the information being lump summed together. So, I continued searching and found another study.
The next study I found, was done by the “Center for Research Strategies” based out of Colorado. The study examined whether whole blood levels of heavy metals declined in individuals receiving ionic foot bath sessions in conjunction with meditation and nutritional supplementation. Thirty-one participants received ionic footbaths twice a week for twelve weeks. It is noteworthy to mention that they did their study with 31 participants from Colorado and North Carolina. The age range was from 21-77. Not all were healthy either. Whole blood samples were taken prior to starting the sessions and after the twelve week program. They tested for 5 metals and found that after the twelve weeks, levels of aluminum and arsenic declined significantly. In the conclusion of their study they did mention that their group was very small and one should take that into consideration. I interpreted this as a good thing, considering the communication coming from the Canadian study seemed like an “end all” with only 6 people and not so good methods.
Lastly, the most convincing thing for me that proved its legitimacy was from an Oncologist Specialist. She will test the pH levels through a urine sample before and after the detox session to compare the results. The tests didn’t lie. It really did work on the particular person I read about. I also called one of the companies that manufactures these machines and asked if they suggested doing this. The company suggested having someone test pH levels not just before and after one treatment necessarily, but to have the person do about 5 weeks of treatments, 2 times per week. They suggested testing the pH before, in the middle, and after the 5 weeks for better results.
What are the claims?
Many people claim that the brown water coming out of the bath are a result of toxins coming out of their body. They claim that the different color the water turns is a result of where it’s detoxing from your body. This however, this is NOT true! The water changes color naturally because of the chemical reaction between the electricity and the salt water, not because of toxins. This is the number one reason (and actually only I could find) others use to “debunk” why these machines don’t work. If you turn the machine on in the tub of water, many times the water will turn colors with no feet in it at all. However, it should be noted that the water is nastier with feet in it. The colors “can” mean it is detoxing from specific areas of the body. But there is no way to prove that.
Other benefited claims have been: more energy during the day, better sleep at night, faster weight loss, fewer colds, better skin complexion, relieves muscle and joint pain, and faster recovery after chemotherapy, more relaxed and relieved of tension and stress. Supposedly other scientifically measured effects of this detox, besides alkalization, are lower blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol levels. It is claimed that the detox will continues to alkalize the body up for up to 48 hours after the treatment, thru our body’s natural excretory processes of urination, sweat, and defecation. This is also an added benefit. One should not eat/drink acidic foods after a treatment, to help better facilitate the detox process. Sometimes, as with any detoxing method, one does not always feel the best after a treatment. Those who have any degree of toxicity can potentially expect to have some cleansing reactions. These may result in feelings of fatigue, headache and similar symptoms of the flu. These symptoms will supposedly abate with subsequent treatments.
There are many testimonials on amazon.com as to how these machines have helped people. One person says it helps with her sensitivity to mold. It helps her breath better. Another was a former smoker. She hadn’t smoked in a year and smelled tobacco in the water after her session. But for me, the most convincing was not on the amazon website, but rather from an Oncologist Specialist Doctor, who uses this to help her cancer patients with the effects of chemo and radiation. To me, that spoke very highly of this type of product because, in my opinion, you don’t see doctors using natural methods very often. Next let’s discuss other indications and contraindications. It should be noted that I contacted this doctor. I found out that she would only use this AFTER chemo and radiation was completed with her patients (not during).
Although this will benefit anyone, people who seem to really notice a difference are those who suffer from skin conditions, GI disorders, fungal or yeast infections, and cancer. The ionic detox is contraindicated for those who have a pacemaker and open sores or lesions on his/her feet. People with Diabetes Type I should use this therapy with precaution. Other contraindications are children under 10, pregnant or lactating women, those who have epilepsy, are a hemophiliac or are taking blood thinners. And as always, if there is ever any concern, one should always consult their doctor. A few Guidelines during therapy mentioned are: Remove all jewelry, include watches; Do not use any other electronic device during treatment; If taking prescription medications take 6 hours before or 6 hours after treatment; Following the treatment replenish electrolytes with supplemental minerals including vitamin C and vegetable juices. It was also mentioned to not eat or drink anything during the treatment as well.
How often should I do this?
As I have mentioned my interest in this to others, one question people ask me is, “how often should I do this treatment?” From what I have found, there really isn’t a good answer to this. The most common answer that I found was “As often as you feel like you need it.” However, I did find this list on a healthandmed.com’s blog:
Ages 10-12: 1 session every two or three weeks – It is recommended that the average healthy 10-12 year old, using the machine with adult supervision, should undergo 10-15 minute sessions one time per week for 10 weeks. Following the 10 sessions, a maintenance program of 1 session every 14 days is recommended.
Ages 13-18: 1 session a week – It is recommended that the average healthy 13-17 year old, using the machine with adult supervision, should undergo 15-20 minute sessions one time per week for 10 weeks. Following the 10 sessions, a maintenance program of 1 session every 14 days is recommended.
Ages 19-49: 1-2 sessions a week – It is recommended that the average healthy adult undergo 30 minute sessions two times per week for 5 weeks. Following the 10 sessions, a maintenance program of 1 session every 7-10 days is recommended.
Ages 50 and over: 2-3 sessions a week – It is recommended that the average healthy adult undergo 30 minute sessions two times per week for 5 weeks. Following the 10 sessions, a maintenance program of 1 session every 7-10 days is recommended.
Ionic detox is not recommended for children less than 10 years old.
It is expected that not everyone will be able to complete a series of sessions. It should be noted that we have had many great outcomes with even just one session! Feel free to contact Revive Massage with further questions!