Ionic Foot Baths: Facts To Know About Foot Soaking Spa Machines

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Ionic foot baths can come off as gross for the uninitiated but it works as an aid to detoxify the body. In this article, I will let you in on all the information you need to know about ionic foot baths so you can come to a decision of giving it a go.

What is an ionic foot bath? An ionic foot bath is a machine used to make the body more alkaline by detoxifying it. The body’s alkaline pH level should be 7.35 to 7.45, anything lower is acidic and increases the chance of illness because diseases thrive in acidic environments. By using an ionic foot bath, these toxins and impurities will be drawn out from the feet. The process is similar to osmosis – positive hydrogens in the water will attract and draw out negatively charged toxins. The detox can be done daily for 30 minutes and the device can be bought on online marketplaces or from the manufacturer’s website.


Ionic Foot Bath Color Chart

A marketing angle of point of ionic foot baths are the color changes that happen to the water as you soak your feet in them.

Apparently, the color change is presented as proof of the toxins pulled from the body during the detoxification process.

The truth is the water changes color naturally whether there are feet soaking in the foot spa tub or not.

The change is caused by the chemical reaction between the electricity and the salt in the water.

Aside from the electrolysis and salt reaction, there is also the corrosion of the metals in the ionic foot bath which happens every time you use it.

Oils coming from the sebaceous glands on the skin also causes a reaction and adds to the water discoloration.

If the color of the water does not have anything to do with the detoxification process, where does the detoxification come from?

There is detoxification, but the results can be more accurately measured with a urine test for levels of heavy metals.

A urine test is a more reliable way to check for detoxification as it is the body’s natural detox system along with sweat and passing stool.

Some metals may pass through the skin but the soles of the feet are mostly impermeable (waterproof and does not allow fluid to be drawn out).

Another reason for urine test reliability is the body will still exhibit effects of the ionic foot bath session up to 2 days after a session.

So does this mean ionic foot baths are a sham?

No, the color is not the toxins per se but the debris that forms in the water are the toxins.

Here is a chart to help you decode the toxins from your body and the health conditions it may be pointing to.

Color or Particle Material Or Area Of The Body It Came From
Yellow-greenFiltering the kidney, bladder, urinary tract, female/prostate area
Orange Purifying the Joints
Dark greenPurifying the Gallbladder
BrownPurifying the Liver; Fat Wastes
BlackPurifying the Liver; Tobacco, Cellular debris
Black FlecksHeavy Metals
Red FlecksBlood Clots, Cellular Debris
White Curd-like Yeast, Fungal Infections
White FoamMucus & Lymphatic System


Ionic Foot Bath Benefits

Balances the body’s pH levels. This is the main benefit of the ionic foot bath. The pH scale is from 0 – very acidic, to 14 – very alkaline.

An acidic pH is a conducive environment for diseases so a balanced pH at 7.35 to 7.45 helps the body to stabilize the immune system making it harder for diseases and illness to develop.

Cleanses the body of heavy metals. Exposure to various toxic materials in the food and drink we take, the air we breathe, the cosmetics and products we use, and the environment we live in has led to heavy metals accumulating and poisoning our bodies.

Use of the ionic foot bath lowers and continuously removes the heavy metals in the body which only leads to improved health.

Boosts the mood, relieves stress. A body that is optimized to function at full capacity will lessen worry and anxiety. This, in turn, improves the outlook and mood of a person which in turn helps you to cope with stress.

A body in a relaxed state does not need to release too much cortisol (the stress hormone). Cortisol isn’t bad in small doses but prolonged elevated cortisol levels suppress the immune system, raises blood sugar levels, and increases the risk for hypertension and depression.

Reduction in inflammation. Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. It is a signal your body is sending that it is fighting an illness or infection.

Reduced inflammation means your body does not have many infections to protect you from and that your immunity is not compromised.

Enhancing the body’s internal detoxifying system. Your body has a built-in detox system, cleaning it of wastes and byproducts through the liver, the kidneys, and the sweat glands.

When your pH levels are not balanced, your natural detox may not be working at its peak level or is working overtime.

By using the ionic foot bath you boost the body’s detoxification system. This is not a one-time session but a complement to other modalities of healing the body if you are battling an illness or trying to live healthier.


What The Research Says About The Ionic Foot Soakers

Research in this area is limited, but here are some of the findings.

A urine pH test was done pre- and post- ionic foot bath session and the results revealed a more alkaline reading after one treatment.

This trial was done on one person but facilitated by Dr. Christine Adamo, a board certified Oriental medical physician in the state of California.

She practices various forms of Eastern medicine including acupuncture and detoxification.

A 2008 study attributed to the Center for Research Strategies showed participants’ levels of aluminum to have decreased by 46% and arsenic levels to have decreased by 24% after twice-weekly ionic foot bath treatments for 12 weeks.

While this study’s researchers state “we found no evidence to suggest that ionic foot baths help promote the elimination of toxic elements from the body through the feet, urine, or hair.”

The study evaluated distilled water and tap water pre and post-treatment. They also tested hair and urine samples from the participants. (Kennedy, Cooley, Einarson, & Seely, 2011)

Though the research is limited to validate and dispute the pro-ionic foot bath camp’s claims, there is also no evidence that suggests it is harmful or shouldn’t be done.


How Does An Ionic Foot Soak Tub Work?

You soak your feet or hands in a footbath solution of water and salt and turn on the machine.

Some machines have the ionizer built into the system while for other models and brands, it is just an ionizer that you put into a basin while you soak your feet.

The ionizer emits a low-voltage electrical current to the water to separate its molecules to positive and negative ions.

The hydrogen in the water is positively charged, which will attract the negatively charged toxins in the body.

The “magnet” effect of the hydrogen pulls the toxins out and draws it from the body through osmosis. The toxins manifest as “sludge” in the water.


How Often Should You Do An Ionic Foot Bath?

The short answer to this question will be a 30 to 45-minute ionic foot bath session is recommended once a week.

A more detailed answer would include the age of the user.

For ages 12 and below: It is recommended a healthy child have a 10 to 15-minute session with the ionic foot bath once a week for 10 consecutive weeks.

For maintenance, the frequency should be once a week every 2 weeks. Remember to have an adult to supervise when using the machine on children younger than 10.

For ages 13 to 18: It is recommended a healthy teenager have a 15 to 20-minute session with the ionic foot bath once a week for 10 consecutive weeks.

It is recommended to do once a week sessions every 2 weeks as preventive maintenance. Remember to have an adult supervise when using the machine.

For ages 19 to 49: It is recommended a healthy adult have a 30-minute session with the ionic foot bath 1 to 2 times a week for 5 consecutive weeks.

After 10 sessions, it is recommended to do once a week sessions every 7 to 10 days as preventive maintenance.

For ages 50 and over: It is recommended a healthy senior adult have a 30-minute session with the ionic foot bath twice a week for 5 consecutive weeks.

Then do once a week sessions every 7 to 10 days as preventive maintenance.

The numbers and frequency stated above are just guides. Some may use the ionic foot bath 3 times a week, others less so.

As always, consult your doctor or a health professional before using any treatment that may have contraindications for any treatment you have at the moment.

Base your frequency of usage on your needs and the recommendations of your doctor.


Does Using An Foot Spa Machine Have Side Effects?

The machine uses a low-voltage electrical current to ionize the water.

You may feel nausea, vomiting, or dizziness when using it. Should you feel any of these symptoms, stop using the machine.

Consult a medical professional if the symptoms do not immediately go away.


Who Are Ideal Candidates For Foot Bath Soakers?

Anyone would make an ideal candidate to use an ionic foot bath at home or in a medical spa.

The ionic foot detox is particularly good for people suffering from gastrointestinal disorders, skin conditions, fungal or yeast infections, and arthritis and joint pain.


Who Shouldn’t Do Ionic Foot Baths?

People with the following conditions are cautioned from using the ionic detox:

  • Have a pacemaker or other electronic implant
  • Have metal implants
  • Have open wounds, lesions, and sores on their feet
  • Have diabetic neuropathy or impaired sensation in the feet and leg
  • Currently being treated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy
  • Are pregnant or nursin
  • Are taking blood thinners or anticoagulants

Do not eat or drink until at least 15 to 20 minutes after a session to avoid over-stimulating the digestive organs.

Also, make sure children under ten years of age always have adult supervision when using the ionic foot bath whether at home, in a spa or in a health clinic.


The Best Ionic Foot Bath Machine [Our Recommendation]

healcity ionic foot spa machine with manual and accessories

Our pick for the best Ionic foot bath based on overall value is Healcity Premium Holiday Gift Ionic Detox Foot Bath SPA System Machine.

The Healcity brand comes highly recommended because of the quality of their products and the price points that fit an array of budgets.

Their price range goes from premium to value-for-money.

The Premium Holiday Gift Ionic Detox Foot Bath SPA System Machine is reasonably priced at the mid-level price range.

This unit comes with a tub basin, 2 arrays,10 plastic liners, power cord and adapter, and a control unit.

What’s great about this model is it already comes with a tub.

This is good value if you compare to other higher-end models which do not even include a basin.

This model provides 2 arrays. This is so you do not have to share ionizers if more than one person uses the machine.

If you are a solo user, it could be your replacement once the other array is all used up.

Note: an array would typically have between 30 to 50 uses. When it no longer produces bubbles in the water, it’s time to replace it.

Another great feature of this model is the tub which is made out of ABS plastic. It is easy to clean and lightweight.

The set includes 10 plastic liners which will help make clean up even easier.

Extra liners and arrays are available for purchase so you don’t need to worry about running out.

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • The whole set weighs in at just over 5 pounds
  • Array and liners are easily replaceable

Cons:

  • The set is not portable and would be too big to tote around
  • It does not come with a carrying case or bag

Here’s a short demo video of how to set up and use the Healcity Ionic Detox Foot Bath SPA System Machine.


Does An Ionic Foot Tubs Help With Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis and very painful. It is caused by an excess of uric acid.

The uric acid is detoxed from the body by passing it through urine but an abundance of uric acid leads to it crystallizing, settling in, and causing pain in the joints.

The use of an ionic foot bath will help to purify the kidneys and gallbladder.

It is recommended to use the ionic foot bath for 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day.

Along with the therapy, avoid food that causes uric acid levels to increase such as certain seafood, red meat, processed meat such as bacon, and high purine vegetables.


Does An Ionic Foot Bath Help With Autism Symptoms?

There is a need for more concrete research to test this but preliminary studies show a decrease of 35% to 55% in autism symptoms after using an ionic detox foot bath. (Study 1)

Another study showed a reduction in autism symptoms with teenagers exhibiting the most positive effects at 64%.

The ATEC (Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist) results also showed a drop of 63.5% from an ATEC base high of 120 to 45 after 120 days. (Study 2)

Some parents have reported an increase in emotional responsiveness in their children after a undergoing ionic foot bath treatments and that effects continue 2 days after the session.

These studies are based on the diagnosis that children with autism suffer from two things:  toxicity overload and impairment to their detoxification channel.


Does Ionic Foot Machines Help With Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is an infection you can get from a tick bite if the tick carries the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.

Some symptoms of Lyme disease are joint pain, arthritis, and swelling of the knees.

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics and can be supplemented with ionic foot baths to help in detoxifying the joints.

The foot bath is not going to rid your body of the bacteria, the antibiotics will do that for you.

The detoxification deals with the effects of the bacteria on your body.

Follow the recommended frequency of ionic foot bath treatments to treat Lyme Disease conditions.

Aside from helping purify the effects of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria on your body, it will also help cleanse your liver from the antibiotic dose to treat the bacteria.


Related Questions:

Where can I buy an ionic foot bath? You can buy an ionic foot bath online from many of the leading eCommerce sites – eBay, Amazon, and Walmart; or you could also get them directly from the manufacturer. It is also available on marketplace websites if you do not mind using a second-hand unit.

How much is an ionic foot bath spa? Ionic foot bath systems can cost between $100 to $300. You can also try out a session first instead of investing in a machine. Ionic foot bath spas are offered at wellness clinics and medical spas with a session going for $35 to $85 for a 45-minute treatment.

Are there any dangers to using an ionic foot bath? The machines use a low-voltage electrical current to ionize the water. There is no danger of electrocution but users should take caution to check with their doctors first if it would contraindicate any medications, treatments, or existing conditions they have.


References

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine staff. (2017). The Ionic Foot Detox: Fact or Myth?. Retrieved from https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/04/24/ionic-foot-detox-fact-or-myth

Harvard Women’s Healthwatch staff (2008). The dubious practice of detox. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-dubious-practice-of-detox

Sophia Health Institute staff. (2017, November 11). Do Ionic Footbaths Work? Retrieved from https://www.sophiahi.com/ionic-footbaths-work/

HealthandMed.com staff (n.d.). Why Does The Water Change Color? Retrieved from https://healthandmed.com/water-change-color/

Kennedy, D. A., Cooley, K., Einarson, T. R., & Seely, D. (2011). Objective assessment of an ionic foot bath (IonCleanse): testing its ability to remove potentially toxic elements from the body. Journal of environmental and public health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228292/

Editorial Staff
 

Editorial Staff at MindBodyPal is a team of experts led by Tyson Chiu. We love tacos, lattes and Funky Fridays.

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