Foot Bath For Detox: Does It Really Work?

In my last post, I talked about alkaline water and concluded that it does not benefit our health.

Now, let’s look at ionized foot bath for detox. Have you seen them before?

You put your foot into a bath of water through which an electric current is passed through. The negative ion produced is supposed to pass through your body and draws out the “toxins” from the body. After 20 mins or so, you see the water turning brown, green, blue with flecks of solids and bubbles of gas.

You may feel good after soaking your tired feet in a bath of warm water and feeling a slight tingling sensation caused by the low voltage electric current.

Let’s look at the physiology of the body and see how it works:

1) Toxins produced in our body are electrically neutral. The most common waste product is creatinine that is produced from metabolic process in muscle.  Electric current passing through the body cannot distinguish between the bad molecule toxins and other good molecules in the body. Therefore, it is impossible to “draw” out toxin from the body by electric current.

2) The skin has many layers and is impermeable to most but very small molecule. Even if the negative ionic water molecule is small enough to penetrate into the skin, there is no evidence that it can go right into the blood vessel and travel round the body and come out the same way.

3) Most toxins are produced as by products of metabolic processes. The main pathways for the elimination of toxins are through the liver, kidney, lungs and the  skin through sweating.

4) Toxins are colorless. They do not give the myriads of color you see in the footpath.

What really happened in the foot bath?

When a small electric current is passed through the water, the color of the water turns brownish because of the corrosion of the metal electrodes, which are mainly made up of iron, nickel or copper. These metal decomposes into colored ions of brown, green and blue respectively.

The variation in the color of the water at the end of the procedure is a result of the salt present on the skin reacting with the water. In preparation for the foot bath, the feet may have been washed with soap, which can react with the water giving the different colors.

The bubbling of gases are hydrogen and chlorine gases produced as a result of the electrolysis reaction with the electrode. It can be hazardous when done in a confined space as chlorine gas is toxic and hydrogen gas is explosive.

Sometime sodium hydroxide is produced and it softens the skin, causing the dead skin to flake off. These flakes of dead skin can react with the metal solution to cause the variation in color as well.

Analysis of the brown stuffs that appear in the bath water is found to be iron based proving that it is a result of corrosion of the electrode. There is no sign of creatinine meaning detox did not happen.

Don’t waste your money. You are better off taking the right nutrition and drinking plenty of water to detox your body than doing this.

Have you done such foot bath detox? Share your experience in the comment box below.

If you like this, I have many more. So, go ahead to the right hand side of the page and sign up for more information coming your way!

About chongsulee

I'm a trained chemist with more than 20 years experience in the specialty chemical business. I held various senior corporate positions before quitting to be a wellness entrepreneur. My passion is nutrition, health and wellness. My mission is to help people achieve a healthy lifestyle and eating habits through sharing of knowledge and information.
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  •  Su Lee, thanks for sharing your perspective on foot bath detox. It’s important for small business owners to understand how science can support or refute their claims. 

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      Subject: [lookgoodfeelgreatalways] Re: Foot Bath For Detox: Does It Really Work?

    • Hi Tom, Thanks for your support. Many people may feel great after the treatment. This is probably a placebo effect. It is important that benefits are supported scientifically.

  • Pingback: Beware of Foot Detox Scam()

  • Ang V Qiong

    Chongsulee, you talk about you being a chemist for 20 years, big deal.

    Does that means what you said is spot on and out there are suckers a many?

    Anyway, if placebo effect bring improvement, why not?  I will take a placebo cure anytime, instead toxic medicine.

    I somehow believe that it works but perhaps the cost/price is exploitative when one can make his own with a bucket, 2 length of flexible metal rod and wires and a 24V truck battery.

    • HI Ang V Qiong,
      You are entitled to your belief. But the chemistry is real. However, if it makes you feel better, go ahead to do it! Just make sure you do not electrocute yourself with your own set up.

  • Rsd

    Thanks for this nice posting i will come again

    • Thanks! I am glad you liked it. Do visit again. Feel free to fill in your name and email in the form on the right side and get the articles in your in box.

  • Asd

    I have detox, it does not do anything but make color of salt in to bad toxins like color even if your feet is off. Dont believe detox. It can only help mentaly when you believe what you do and it happens but 
    scientifically its SCAM

    • I do agree that the foot bath is a scam.

  • Umarsimpa

    I have just been swindled! I paid a little above $6 for a detoxification session and something told me to read up about it on the internet. this led me to your comment on it. It will never happen again!

    • Hi Umarsimpa,

      I am so sorry about what happened! At least you get some good information from my article.
      Best regards, Su Lee

  • Paul

    I purchased a detox machine after 3 treatments I feel better sleep better wake up better no headaches or sore Jon pain in my wrists or ankles. I am also loosing weight. So tell me if its all BS why all the positives? Why does the foot spa have a ring of fatty greasy deposits afterwards. Is this also caused by corrosion?

    Sorry but I believe the ion foot spas work the same as ionized water being good for you. Hey that’s both fact and scientific.

    Thanks Paul Klerck

    • Hi Paul,
      Good for you that you get a positive effect from the foot spa. It could be the fact that you are soaking your tired feet in warm water and that sooth your body. Why don’t you try putting a carrot in the foot spa. It may give the same discolored water. If you do see that, do you think the carrot is getting a detox too?
      It is good you are getting positive effect on your ionized water. If you benefit, then you should continue. As mentioned in my post, the chemistry is questionable. However, if you benefit, please carry on.
      All the best to your health.
      Best regards, Su Lee

    • Glenn Santoso

      Hi Pail, I’m wondering if you can turn your detox machine WITHOUT any usage, and just try to see the resulting water / deposits on the machine. In example, just try to turn it on as usual but without actually putting you foot. Leave it as long as your usual consumption. 
      I don’t have one and really wanted to know about this.


      • Hi Glen,
        When you turn on your foot detox bath without any usage, of course, you see nothing because there is no substrate there. Try putting a carrot in it. You can also check out this Youtube post
        Regards, Su Lee