I admit, after seeing it for the sixth time the past few days, I watched the several minute long infomercial on the Ionic Foot Bath (Made in the U.S.A., apparently) out of curiosity. Now, as a person who’s had some recent diagnoses that require me to really change my numbers soon (cholesterol, sugar, weight, etc.) something like this looked interesting.
Then I remembered a few things:
- Foot pads–debunked years ago as color changing fabric.
- You can’t pull “toxins” out of your body through your skin.
(Thank you for the reminders, Adam Ruins Everything).
I can’t believe they’re still selling those stupid things (mostly on ebay)…
And with that, I saved myself some money I desperately need to save, because there was only one thought in my head: How does the water color change?
The obvious answer: the ionizer component you stick in the bath that “draws out” the toxins.
I had to do some research because of that question, and this page from LymeScience (awesome and a half, though geared mostly toward folks with Lyme disease if you’re wondering) goes into detail about how it works. One of the writers actually tested it out (probably for a helluva price) and confirmed what I thought. Short version: rust particles clinging to sloughed off skin that ends up in the foot bath.
Foot baths are nice ways to relax, but other than getting basic dirt and dead skin off your feet, how come you need a special ionizer to do the job? Do the ions go through the skin (with some water molecules) and yank out the toxins?
If all that dark, nasty gunk is supposed to be traveling down to go out through your feet, why isn’t the skin on your feet and legs darker from residual toxins that didn’t make it into the water yet?
Why does that change the color of the water to something that looks like what I found growing in a jar of part-used bean dip that expired a year ago?
And the beautiful part is (sarcasm intended), I’m sure when you run out of skin to slough off in the bath, voila–the water will be clearer, “proof” that the detox has been working because it’s not that odd color anymore!
Also, would taking a foot bath 10-30 minutes a pop every single day REALLY be all that good for you? I’m sure your skin on your feet is gonna get really sensitive after a while if you’re sloughing off all those protective calluses.
Hope nobody is planning on getting one of those ionic foot bath things for a relative this year.
- This one gives some short (easily digestible) chemistry lessons about the color trick: https://www.acsh.org/news/2020/12/07/detox-baths-do-not-remove-feces-through-your-feet-15198
- And if you are one to get pissed off at Anti-Vaxxers and quacks, this article will REALLY get you going: https://respectfulinsolence.com/2019/04/30/ioncleanse-antivax/ . Some “alternative medicine” sites I browsed seem to admit that many of these foot baths are a parlor trick more than helpful treatments (guess they got some complaints), but still swear that detox foot baths work.
I’m gonna be terribly honest here. I get it.
I lost count the number of times I’d get the rapid rise in heart rate when you see something like this and think, “finally, something I can try that might help me out with [insert issue here]!” and you want to give it a shot, no matter how new-agey or weird it might be. Hell, I used to love massages (COVID goes away, I’ll likely visit the old massage parlor I liked so much), and that’s classified as “alternative medicine.” But I didn’t go because I thought I was getting chakras realigned or blood flow corrected. I went because the nice lady with the very bony elbows would beat my trouble areas into submission so my seized muscles would loosen up and I wouldn’t be stuck wearing a brace when I needed free movement. Sore, yet limber. It was a worthwhile trade.
I’m nearly middle-age. I have crappy stamina for exercise, acne like when I was a teenager, runaway facial hair, I’m anemic, hyperlipidemic, a recovering bulimic, and been obese for decades. One quick-fix solution to improve my numbers and make my body healthier sounds great.
But it’s also damned implausible.
Even I, who have been stupid (no self-education about nutrition facts, an in-denial sugar addict) and desperate (denial again and bulimia) know that it took a helluva lot of things to get me to this point in my body’s history, NOT JUST ONE THING. You can’t have one action or product fix everything, and shelling out $130 on a comfy placebo at best (scam at worst) is not gonna make your actual body better, though maybe you’ll save a bunch on fancy pedicure treatments in the future. You may feel better, but that high wears off, and then a new desperation comes calling.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
And it sucks. I’ve fallen for some things in the past (weight loss pills, shakes, cleanses, As Seen On TV poorly-made-bullshit products, etc.) and will probably fall for others if I let my emotions take over and my guard down. Many of us do or will, especially these days, because desperation and ignorance are hungry little bitches.
I think we’re all a little nuts because 2020 itself has been a damned toxin in our minds, so to speak. But like anything else that’s supposed to revolutionize our health, let’s all be skeptical.
Not “denial” and “no way in hell will I do that,” dark-and-dismal skeptical, but rather “step back and let me research that a bit,” skeptical, in case it wasn’t clear. Rational.
…And I hope you don’t get one of these foot bath things under the Christmas tree… unless you still want to try it out. Worst comes to the worst, it can be that pricey science experiment or fun way to gross out the kids if they’ve never seen it before.
Have a scam-free holiday season and a (far more pleasant) rationally skeptical new year.