Inkfish the shambulance ionic foot detox baths electricity vancouver wa

Regular water is so lazy. You put your feet in a warm tub and sure, it’s relaxing. Maybe afterward you scrape some dead skin off your heels and put on lotion and feel a little more presentable in sandals. But don’t you wish that water was doing some real work? Why isn’t it, say, sucking poisons out of your whole body through the soles of your feet while curing your every ache, pain, and allergy?

If this is how you feel, you’re in luck: Certain spas will happily take 50 or 75 of your dollars in exchange for half an hour of "foot detox." This warm water tub is no ordinary foot bath, but one that contains " positive and negative ions from a special generator" (an electrical current, in layman’s terms).

What exactly does that current do? One Chicago spa claims that "your body will undergo a life-changing cleanse, releasing…toxins, oils, acids, fats, heavy metals, cellular debris, and waste that have accumulated over your lifetime." Removing all that bad stuff (which your body, for some reason, stubbornly clings to unless aided by electric foot baths) leads to a host of benefits. Possible health effects name-dropped by foot detox purveyors include pain relief, improvement of eczema and psoriasis, better organ functioning, increased energy, and greater muscle strength. And—because why not?—weight loss.

Just in case any skeptics are tempted to scoff, the foot bath people have proof their product is working. "It is an amazing process to watch," another Chicago spa declares, "as the presense of these cleansed toxins and waste are deposited back into the water around your feet in a murky display of residue."

"We definitely have organs to rid ourselves of compounds that are not useful. You can call them toxins, but that word is so often used incorrectly that I try to avoid it," says physiologist Steven Swoap. "Those organs are the liver and kidney."

Our livers filter unwanted materials out of our blood and chemically modify them. Our kidneys send those materials into the toilet bowl. The soles of the feet are, if you can believe it, not part of the equation. "I imagine that in some alternate universe, organisms evolved an excretory organ on the bottom of their feet," Swoap says. "But not in our world."

In response to a long list of health claims from one spa’s website, Swoap says, "If I report that I got sick from reading this, would that be a good scientific study?" He calls the wide-ranging promises "simply ridiculous." Increased energy? Cells get their energy from molecules such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), not from some sort of internal housecleaning. More muscle strength? "It is not clear to me how running a small electric current in a bath can improve muscle strength," Swoap says. "Wouldn’t body builders just lie around in the stuff?"

The murky water doesn’t prove much, either. "The residue is most certainly corrosion of the electrodes once you put in some salt water and a little current," Swoap says. "This is just like a corroded battery—all nasty and brown." Instead of removing metals from their bodies, users are soaking their feet in a bath of iron, nickel, or other metal from the machine’s electrodes. ("Yum," Swoap says.) He points out that someone could easily demonstrate this by running the machine without any feet in it and producing the same residue.