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What Is the Science Behind the Ionic Foot Bath?

by Dan Antony
  • Overview

    Should she have a hazardous material stamp on her ankle?
    The ionic foot bath purportedly uses electricity to detoxify the body of heavy metals and excess ions, and supposedly reduces the acidity of the blood.
  • Detoxification

    Detoxification is the idea behind such remedies as colonic irrigation, the Master Cleanse diet and induced vomiting that is common among primitive cultures.
  • Theories/Speculation

    The foot bath applies a mild electric current. This supposedly attracts heavy metals through the pores of the feet and neutralizes positive or negative ions in the blood. This imbalance of ions is what supposedly causes acidity in the blood.
  • Proof

    The water in an ionic foot bath turns darker over a period of time. Sessions typically last 15 minutes to a half hour, after which the water may resemble dark tea.
  • Debunking

    Debunkers attribute the darkening of the water to the natural corrosion of electrodes in the foot bath and have produced the same effect in a beaker with two electrodes and no feet. Whatever positive effects users feel, debunkers like Dr. Andrew Weil attribute to the soothing effect of a warm foot bath.
  • Electricity

    Electricity has long been believed to have restorative powers. In the 1800s, hoaxsters would apply electricity to dead frogs, making the frogs move, proving electricity's life-giving power.

    References & Resources