Ionic Detoxing Footbath, What the Heck Is It?

ionic detoxing footbath
Flickr photo by borevagen
I always assumed an ionic detox footbath was one of those add-ons you pay more for when you’re getting your basic pedicure. I recently had the opportunity to experience the spa treatment, and I’m still trying to figure out what the added value is, exactly.

The idea behind the ionic detoxification footbath is to “rebalance energy meridians through the bio-charge.” Since your feet have over 2,000 pores these bad elements can just be sucked right out through your toes. I get, and appreciate, the philosophy behind the movement. We have too many toxins in our environment, in our foods, even by choice if we’re smokers and drinkers. True enough.


Rather than sitting down to a foot massage, your feet are immersed in a tub with warm water and a hunk of metal that’s plugged in somewhere (not sure why I wasn’t electrocuted -- should have paid more attention in science class) and emits some purifying waves of complex energy fields. That, in addition to the metals and salts in the water suck those toxins right out of your body and keep your internal organs and blood, balanced.

Naturally you need weekly treatments at $85 a pop until you’re non-toxic, or at the very least have changed your lifestyle to avoid all of these bad things that are junking up your cells.

The spa lady handed me a color chart after I was settled, warning me the water would start to change colors or have chunks of floaters depending on what part of my body was in need of the detox. Yellow-green was for the urinary tract, kidneys and bladder. Dark green was for the gallbladder, black or brown for liver or tobacco, black flecks showing up meant you had heavy metals in your blood and white balls of grossness meant you were being cleansed of yeast. Ick.

The water seemed to be immediately dark green, which made me wonder what my gallbladder had been up to, until I realized the clear tub was sitting on a dark green towel. Save for a tiny black fleck at the end, nothing happened. When discovering my crystal clear tub of foot water, the spa attendant chirped that I must be very pure. As pure as two glasses of wine I had the night before and living in Los Angeles must make me.

Based on this experience, I’m calling bullshit on the ionic footbath. Of course there were testimonials from people who swore it kept them healthy and solved their yeast problems (again, ick).

The practices and theories are not FDA approved, but neither are some amazing Chinese herbs that have changed my health for the better. I’m a fan of alternative medicine, but this just seems to be smoke and mirrors (or energy waves and colored water.)

Have you tried the ionic detoxification footbath? Did it make you healthier?

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