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LIVE WELL Detoxing with a foot bath?

February 16, 2011
photo - A foot bath detox in progress Photo by
A foot bath detox in progress Photo by  

Consider me flummoxed by the detoxifying ionic-frequency foot bath.

I recently visited the Body Detox Center, 3245 W. Carefree Circle, where owner Kimberly Lowman gave my tootsies a soaking in a salty tub of vibrating tap water. As they pruned up over the course of 110 minutes, toxins were allegedly being released through the pores of my feet. I’m not exactly sure what was happening, but I do know what the water looked like afterward, and it was not pretty. Sewage-y would not be an incorrect description.

Lowman dumped 4 teaspoons of salts, including Himalayan and Mediterranean, into the tub along with an electromagnet called a probe. She then programmed the probe to vibrate.

There were to be three cycles of vibrations. The first targeted yeast, fungus and mold for 35 minutes. The second 35-minute cycle targeted the digestive cycle, and the third was a deep 40-minute cleanse acting as a “janitorial service” to open “energy highways.”

Almost immediately, the water began to look rustlike. By “reading” this water, like one reads tea leaves, she asked if my joints hurt. They do not. It’s more like “brake dust,” she said. Our joints wear, begin to get tired and release “dust.”

Lowman huddled over the basin, reading the water. Floaties on top were sugars, indicating my liver is burdened and backed up. Black specks were old toxic substances being released. Yeast was present, she said, and seemed to be an issue for me. Oily, grayish-green muck rested on top, perhaps related to high cholesterol, which I don’t have, or mold.

Within five minutes, I got the feeling I get when blood is being drawn. As in, clear the decks, I’m about to pass out. I tried to distract myself by taking notes, because how ridiculous would it be to pass out getting a foot bath? The feeling eased a bit as the treatment went on, though the process didn’t relax me as, say, a foot bath and pedicure would. That made me think that maybe there is something to the detox claim.

That and the water. The earthy, mucky, chunky, bubbly and stinky mess had to come from somewhere, though I was loath to believe it was out of my pristine white feet.

Lowman said the vast majority of people who take the foot bath do not feel the way I did, so don’t let my experience stop you. Usually, she said, clients feel lighter, they breathe better, their joints hurt less, they’re able to take less medication and their thinking is clearer.

I went in fairly open-minded, though perhaps an ounce skeptical. I left a much bigger believer, until the next day when I received a brief, over-my-head chemistry lesson from Susanna Kelland, a fellow foot-bath recipient. She tried the detox last year and found its claims a bit ludicrous and, frankly, deceitful. She talked about oxidation being the cause of the water turning a rust color.

Stephen Lower, who holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of British Columbia, agrees. He writes about the electric current between electrodes discoloring the water and beginning an electrolysis process.

Why feet? Lowman said you could place your entire naked body in a tub of water and do the same thing, but feet are easier. They’re an “elimination station,” she said. Each has 250,000 pores. That’s a lot of opportunity for toxins to exit. The frequency of vibrations pings up against the feet, causing pores to open and yucky stuff to come out. Toxins are leaving the body and oozing out through the skin in a process called osmosis. Salt creates more action, and the mineral sources from around the world in those salts helps cajole more toxins out, Lowman said.

Post-foot bath, my feet were swollen and huge. They eventually shrank and tingled pleasantly for the night. Less than a week later, I can’t say I feel different. But Lowman gave me fairly easy health and vitamin recommendations due to what she read in the water, and I’ll try them on for size. If they fit, great. If not, no sweat off my feet.

Jennifer Mulson teaches yoga at Corepower Yoga and Gold’s Gym in Colorado Springs. Read more Live Well columns and watch yoga videos at

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