Debunking the Myth Behind Foot-Bath Detoxification

Foot detoxification is increasingly regarded as an effective way to remove toxins from your body.  Impurities in the air, chemicals in your home, and beauty products can all be classified as potential contaminants.  The procedure supposedly draws out toxins from your body through your feet, causing the tub of water to gradually alter its color based on the organ that is being cleansed.  The treatment claims to have multiple health benefits, including balancing the body’s pH, reducing swelling, improving mood, relieving stress, enhancing the immune system, aiding weight loss, improving heart health, and destroying harmful microorganisms.  It is recommended that detox occur at least once every week for 30 to 60 minutes.   During the procedure, your feet are placed into warm salt water along with an electronic device called an array, which is said to give the hydrogen atoms a positive charge, thereby drawing out the negatively charged toxins from your body.  Similar to the concept of a magnet, the ions in the water supposedly have a charge that allows them to bind to any heavy metals and toxins in your body.  As the treatment proceeds, the water becomes dark brown and filled with metal flakes.  Based on the color of the water, spa employees consult a chart to determine which organs have been detoxed.  The electrical current also stimulates the body and allows it to rid itself of toxins through sweat and urine in the coming days. In an experiment conducted by the television journalism show “Inside Edition,” an investigative reporting television program, it was revealed that the water changes color due to rust.  The array consists of two metal electrodes with a positive and negative current; electrolysis occurs when it interacts with salt water, which in turn causes the electrodes to rust at a rapid rate.  Water will turn brown regardless of whether feet were placed in it.  Additionally, the water color might change due to impurities in tap water, the interaction of special salts with water, or dirt and sweat from the feet. In conclusion, foot baths can assist in relaxation or improve circulation in the feet.  Nevertheless, it is unnecessary to buy an expensive foot detox product or register for costly spa treatments. A cost-effective alternative could be to use Epson salts to refresh and clean the feet.   Studies/links used Inside Edition Investigative, 2011, Deborah A. Kennedy, Kieran Cooley, Thomas R. Einarson, Dugald Seely, Journal of Environment and Public Health, 2012,