This is a $94+ billion dollar industry!

By Junji Takano

Detox foot spa machines are sold in several common names including: Detox Foot Bath, Foot Detox Spa, Aqua Detox, Ionic Detox Foot Bath, Detoxification Foot Spa, Energizer Detox, Cell Spa Foot Detox, Chi Detox, Bio Detox, Water Detox, and Energetic Foot Bath.

Detox Foot Spa (before)Detox Foot Bath (after) You may have seen pictures similar to the above. Many manufacturers and practitioners claim that it removes toxic matter in the body by soaking your feet in an aqua tub. The treatment is normally given by soaking your feet in water with salt added to aid the conductivity of the water. Then, low electrical current is transmitted through two electrodes. They claim that water turning reddish brown is the toxic matter removed from the body. Depending on the color, they claim that yellowish color is from the kidney and bladder toxins, orange is from arthritis-related illness, dark brown is from liver-related diseases, and so on. Scientifically, these claims are 100% nonsensical!  Here’s what really happen… The color of water changes due to a process called “electrolysis”.   The brown toxins you see are from the rust generated by the corrosion of the iron electrodes! The different variations in color can be accounted by varying amount of salt added to the water and variations in the compositions of the electrodes. The color of water will change with or without soaking your feet in it. Dialysis results from several sources also show that the brown stuff that appears in the bathwater is iron-based, and that the bathwater showed no sign of urea or creatinine, supporting the fact that detoxification does not apply. In fact, some marketers admitted this and opted in emphasizing “energy balance” in their sales pitches. They also use pseudoscience of toxins, bio-energy, bio-stimulation, cellular energy, and other science jargons to mislead people.   Also, among many commercialized detox foot spa machines, they claim that their machines create negative ions in the water that revitalize the dead cells and organs in the body. There is no definite proof that water can be ionized properly. Ionized water may supposedly mean that the water is ionized, although it is unclear what this claim means precisely. It is claimed that water in an electric field will self-ionize. Pure water at room temperature and normal pressure always self-ionizes to 10–14 M, and it is impossible to force the water permanently into a higher state of ionization without adding other chemicals. However, even if it is possible to ionize the water, it is difficult to prove it. I do not believe it. Frankly, we do not believe it either. What do professionals have to say about it? Don’t get suckered into buying or paying for a session in an ionic detoxifcation foot bath! Guess what, the water turns “toxic” colors whether your feet are in there or not, because it is just the corrosion of the electrodes that causes the water to change color. The manufacturer below says that “sales pitches” are used to make people think that different colors mean different toxins were ionically removed from the body through the soles of the feet; in reality it is just the results of passing an electic current between electrodes in a conductive solution of water. Their own studies (backed by other independent fraud investigation analyses) find only what you would expect to find in water where electrolysis took place, ie, no “toxins” released from the body were found. Think about it, how likely are your feet to start “leaking toxins”, if that happened then you’d find that happening in whirlpool spas etc. It doesn’t happen. Those of you who are selling these or selling sessions in them should at a minimum stop charging for the sessions since they are worthless and you do not want to ripoff your clients do you? Hopefully you can get a refund from whomever sold it to you since they misrepresented it. Those of you who sold them should encourage your customers to return them and then return the units to the manufacturers. Don’t sell them based on anecdotal evidence alone, and don’t be part of the scam! If you’re selling them based on anecdotal evidence then try running the unit with no one in it to verify what the manufacturer says below, and stop using that sales pitch. Here’s what a manufacturer says about them: There are several ‘Detox’ systems based around Foot Spas on the market today. Some manufacturers and retailers of such products make claims of purification and Detoxification that attract a lot of people.

At beauty and health equipment exhibitions there are numerous stands that offer this kind of therapy and many visitors volunteer to give it a try.   But how effective is it really and how does it actually work? Is the fact that the water changes colour really proof that the Spa is detoxifying the body? Dr. Mary Staggs Ph.D. D.N. F.B.I.H., of the Mary Staggs clinic in Estepona, Southern Spain, is interviewed by R. B. Research.

Dr Staggs, we understand you were the first person to bring the concept of Ionic Foot Spa Detox systems into Europe?

Yes, back in 2001, I heard about Ionic Foot Spa’s from both Dr Corey in Florida and Dr Morney in Denver Colorado. They had been working on the technique for some time before I was introduced to it. I found it fitted directly in with my research so I became involved in order to develop it further and decided to bring the concept to Europe.

What does the system consist off?

It’s a Footbath into which we introduce an array. This is coupled to a power unit, which generates a low voltage electrical current – with both positive and negative polarities – which, due to the conductivity of saline water, work together to produce the desired effect.

Why did you become interested in ‘Ionic Foot Spa Detox’ systems?

Since it seemed this was a type of natural Detox process, I thought it would fit nicely alongside other therapies that I was using in the field of nutrition. The basic principle of the treatment was electrolysis and electro dialysis. But what caught my attention most early on was how the water, that the feet were submersed in, changed colour.

Some manufacturers claim that these colours correspond to specific body fluids, like cholesterol, uric acid, bile, blood, and even certain types of fats. What do you think of these claims?


Such claims are no more than a ‘sales pitch’. From the early stages of development it was suggested that certain colours corresponded to certain types of organ drainage from the kidneys, liver, intestines and so on. But when we started our investigations, within the parameters of biochemistry, we found only Iron Sulphate in the water. We could not show the presence of Albumin or any other type of liquid, any kind of increment of sodium or potassium, urea, bilirubin transaminates, sugar and so on.

So why does the water change colour?

There are many factors that come into play. But basically we are talking about electrolysis.

Please explain…

In order to produce electrolysis, we need an ionised solution to close the electric circuit between two electrodes. These electrodes, when connected to a source of continuous currents are submerged in a carrier solution – one charge is positive (anode) and the other negative (cathode).

This action produces ionisation. The positive ions within the solution will move towards the cathode and negative ones towards the anode. The word electrolysis means to rupture, separate, by means of electricity, through galvanic current. The water that is used has its own impurities that, due to the electrolysis, are drawn towards or separated from other components. The consequent ionisation in the water results in the formation of solids that are deposited on the floor of the container and that float on the surface of the water. Bubbles also appear and at the same time the water changes colour.

We must also remember that the arrays are metallic and release waste, which in turn results in an electrolytic reaction causing corrosion. Another influencing matter is what we introduce into the water, eg. our feet.

These have their own properties such as acidity or alkalinity. The skin can also contain remnants of soap, creams, nail varnish, pollutants and dyes from shoes, including shoe polish, bacteria, fungi and fibres. There might also be a release of substances from the sebaceous glands and dead cells. All these factors combined will influence the colour change.

We must consider the internal condition of the body, which will influence and manifest itself in the water. Here we need to take into account sub dermis conditions, the capillary microcirculation and other internal influences that can be emitted through the largest human organ, the skin. Last of all, temperature will also affect the chemical reactions in the water.

If we take into account all these factors we can begin to understand why the water changes colour.

Is the change in colour of water the same for every treatment and for every individual?

No. Different treatments, individuals and water sources are likely to yield different colours but in all our investigations we detected no biological substances, furthermore the colours do not correspond to any pathological state or any organ deficit or any specific bodily excretion. The reasons for the change in water are as I’ve already mentioned, but also we could add improper rinsing of detergents used in the cleaning of the array and the bowl, which might produce bubbles.

So there are many reasons why the water might change colour, which means the whole process is impossible to calibrate which in turn means that clinical interpretation is misleading.

Simply put, paying a hair salon, a wellness spa or any health related or wellness related salon or spa or anyone to soak your feet in water that changes color is absolute foolishness and a waste of your hard earned money. It’s a hoax.The fraud generally works on the elderly, the mentally ill, the poorly educated and those with little understanding of how rust works and reacts.

WHY DOES THE WATER LOOK DIFFERENT AFTER USE? (Or Pads .. why are pads looking like they “pulled” toxins out of my feet???)

“The process is called “electrocoagulation.” Essentially the device is coagulating the colloidal minerals and organic materials (such as algae) which are normally held in electrostatic suspension, and bringing them to the surface. This process has been around for decades. It’s used to treat wastewater in 3rd world countries. This home “detox” and others such as “Alimtox” are nothing but a hoax. It’s modern snake oil!

Simple biology: human sweat glands, human skin, is not designed to eliminate toxins from the body.” Therefore they cannot be utilized to do such. The kidneys, liver, and excretory systems of the body (urinary system, colon) are designed to eliminate toxins. The only thing this machine does is coagulate the materials – organic and inorganic – that are dissolved in the water. Nothing – NOTHING – is coming out of your body when you stick your feet in this foot bath.     When you put anything in the water you’ll also see what they call mold and metal coming out. of course it’s not coming out of a person (or the carrot) it is coming out of the array. It is physiologically impossible to pass metal out of the body in a microscopic form and have it reform outside the body, please use your mind and think!”

Another opinion:
“Almost  Every doctor in the world knows this process is not valid because it is a simple scam on anecdotal evidence to guide them in a diagnosis, they always begin with “how do you feel” or tell me about the pain etc. This process is not valid because it is a simple scam that preys on the unsuspecting and believing public”.

So, are the foot baths a hoax?  Yes and no.

Obviously, anyone who claims they pull toxins out of the body is either misinformed or is intentionally trying to mislead others.  The color changes, particles, and foam are all just show – and are created by the electrical array, not by toxins leaving the body.  But since the foot baths do appear to have legitimate therapeutic effects, I don’t think it’s fair to consider them a complete hoax.That being said,

Do I recommend detox foot baths?  No.  Assuming that I am correct about the stimulation of acupuncture meridians, there are other methods of getting the same benefits, many of which are probably more cost-effective in the long run than the detox foot baths.  But for people who enjoy them and feel that the benefits are worth the cost, I see nothing wrong with using them. “From another person: “complete hoax designed to remove your money from your wallet.

It is just a chemical reaction with the metal plates, or chemicals (different versions of the “foot detox” are available” ) when a weak electric current is applied. You can prove this by doing everything EXCEPT put your feet in the water….it will still turn funny colours.

There is absolutely no scientific reason to think that toxins can be sucked out of your body through your feet…that makes no sense physiologically, biochemically or anatomically.”

Another Doctor says.. “I believe that in actuality, the electrical charge of the foot baths is producing stimulation of acupuncture points, especially relating to the kidney and liver meridians.  By stimulating these acupuncture meridians, I believe that the function of the kidneys and liver may be enhanced sufficiently to  improve the body’s own natural detoxification mechanisms.Article origin:

These devices are so profitable that some unscrupulous doctors and chiropractors have multiple foot baths that are used around the clock. Imagine that each bath is bringing in a minimum of $40.00 USD per every 15 minutes. The fees range from $40.00 to $95.00 USD per foot bath. Imagine having a salon with 20 or 30 of these foot baths.

Within a month you would not only pay off the foot baths but you would be very wealthy. It is best to set up clinics in third world countries of through out poor rural communities in the United States where the typical person has not had a college education. The less educated the client, the more money an operator makes in these fraud salons.

In the Philippines and central and southern American countries, the foot bath frauds are so profitable that U.S. and Canadian investors are investing in the salons because the cash turn over is well beyond expectation.

Pamphlets teaching service providers how to get the people in and out of the facility quickly to ensure a higher profit margin are all over the Internet. The purpose of course is profit – nothing else.

The only people promoting this fraud are always at the money making end of the procedure. When you go check on who is profiting from the foot detox salons they are always up front promoting it and telling the public that their toxins are coming out of the bottoms of their feet.

Some salons say they gladly pay the health violation fine and continue doing business because it is so profitable that they consider paying the fine just the cost of doing business.

You have to be the judge for your own health. If you truly believe that soaking your feet will bring your well being and health, it is a story you’ve either been taught to believe or someone is making considerable money from it because you choose to believe it.

It is not a coincidence that these methods as a business practice, are most successful in the third world, and in the west it is most offered to the uneducated, members of fundamentalist religious groups that believe in the ethereal (the unproven such as apparitions, ghosts, holy or unholy spirits, magic, voodoo) and in make believe.

Most of the believers have been handed these ideas and hocus pocus generation after generation.  In the United States, Canada and many places in Europe, a procedure has to be proven before it is sold to the public or the provider can face hefty fines.

So much of the beauty, quasi-health procedures and the health supplement industry rely on false marketing and make so much money for providers that these clinics and salons find it impossible to give up. For example consider the idea that placing warm stones along the spine is going to do anything for ones health. It is a crock of hot air, exaggeration and embellishment upon embellishment but the wellness and spa industry is a $94 billion dollar industry.

In most cases, these supposed “health” programs and practices are intentional misrepresentations with intent to defraud. Some countries call it fraud; other countries call them beauty and health practices.

Facebook Comments
  • Simon Jivkov

    Many people have benefit from
    the IonDetox foot bath, despite of the skeptics and mislead critics.
    Unfortunately some wrong claims (like that the rusty water is because of the
    sucked from the patient toxins!), discredit this topic and confuse many
    potential users.

    I don’t know who and how exactly has started this process, and is it possible to be revealed.
    A short explain of the history and bio-chemistry of the process and comparison with a New Device, much more effective by design, avoiding any adverse effects, cheaper to use, can be
    applied to any part of the body through compress, or to teeth in Dental mode, better
    looking, significantly smaller and lighter – ELPID (ELectro-Pulsing Ion Detox),
    can be found on

    Best wishes to all!

  • Lynn Eykamp

    In 1997 I started the Research and Development Co Q Tech Laboratories in Australia. We invented several HEALING devices based upon Tesla’s Field Science, not Einsteins particle science. I built the very first ‘footbath detox’ unit in the world. All others have been copies (and not very good ones at that) of the concept I pioneered. The usage, the time interval, the precautions were all taken from Q Techs specifications. Anyone else who claims to be the originator of this ‘footbath detox’ technology is making unprovable claims.
    The Science for this remarkable device.

    • Donna

      It is unfortunate that with the ability to spread knowledge so easily that so many people use it with such hostile intentions. If you used a quality foot detox machine on over 100 people repeatedly to see the results over time, you may have a different opinion. I do not have a degree in Science or a very high education for that matter, but I watched the improvement in so many people while tracking their progress and charting the change in the water. People had less arthritic pain, clearing of eczema, less headaches, reduction in acne and much more. This procedure does work. I wish people wouldn’t be so quick to judge things that they really don’t know anything about, just because they are in a position to share their opinions. It’s like Dr. Oz saying that ear candling does not work, he’s never tried it, and still commented that it didn’t work. I have helped many people with bad build up of ear wax, (some with hear loss, that regained it). Sure there are certain techniques that help these procedures work successfully, but just because some practitioners do not perform them correctly doesn’t mean people in media should say that they don’t work. Sure the foot detox should not be used to diagnose illness, but it can treat a lot. There are cancer clinics using these devices (for a reason) We live in a society where not too much is believable, but there are something that are, just because they may not work on everybody doesn’t mean they don’t work for some.

      • Lynn Eykamp

        Donna, the difference between
        Detox Foot Bath, Foot Detox Spa, Aqua
        Detox, Ionic Detox Foot Bath, Detoxification Foot Spa, Energizer Detox,
        Cell Spa Foot Detox, Chi Detox, Bio Detox, Water Detox, and Energetic
        Foot Bath.


        the Q2 Energy Spa and Aqua Chi footbaths devices is simple

        The 2 original devices are 10 times more effective than the (cheap) copies.

        This entire report is based on evaluating very poor copies. (and by some uneducated 20 something female?)

        We had many reports where just ONE full bath eliminated the condition known ad Golden Staph caught from a hospital. Yes the flesh eating bug. NO cheap copy sold under the names of ………….

        .”””Detox Foot Bath, Foot Detox Spa, Aqua
        Detox, Ionic Detox Foot Bath, Detoxification Foot Spa, Energizer Detox,
        Cell Spa Foot Detox, Chi Detox, Bio Detox, Water Detox, and Energetic
        Foot Bath………”””

        can do that.