Ionic foot spas are supposed to neutralize and remove charged toxins from the body through pores in the feet. Here's how the process is supposed to work: A bath of water, sea salt and a chemical array are charged with AC/DC current to separate the neutral water molecules into charged positive and negative (hydrogen and hydroxide) particles. The particles collect acidic, charged toxins from the body and pull them out of the body by osmosis (through a membrane from a low concentration to a high one). Each type of toxin produces different colors in the water after it is removed and is associated with the areas of the body that the toxin was pulled from.
Yellows and Greens
Toxins removed from the urinary tract and kidney--and from the prostate or vaginal areas--turn the bath water yellow or yellowish green. Dark green water indicates the presence of gallbladder toxins. After these toxins are completely removed, the water becomes clear again or changes to a different colored toxin removal.
Orange, Brown and Black
Orange, brown and black detoxify the liver area (from alcohol use or liver disease), joints (as with arthritis) and cellular waste products. In addition, brown water indicates tobacco removal from the body overall. Dark black flecks indicate iron and metal removal.
White Coloring and Particles
White coloring indicates clearance of problems in the lymphatic system, which is the system of passages that help the immune system distribute cells throughout the body. White particles that appear cheese-like indicate problems with yeast that are being removed.
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Red coloring in the water, including red flecks, indicate removal of toxins associated with blood clotting and blood disorders, such as anemia. Similarly to other toxin removal, clearing of the water after red discoloration indicates that problems associated with that body area have been resolved.
Although discolorations are associated with the above-listed colors, the colors vary based on body composition, metal contents of the water in the area in which the person lives and diet. Repeated treatments may be necessary to ensure removal of all types of toxins. People with electrical implants, such as defibrillators, pregnant women and patients taking medication for organ transplantation or seizures should not use the ion foot bath. Also, according to SpaIndex.com: "The benefits of an Ionic foot bath are hotly contested by many organizations within the scientific, medical, aesthetic and alternative health care communities." The site also warns against any spa or wellness facility that guarantees results.
Nicole Van Hoey is a pharmacist and medical writer/editor in Washington, D.C. She has worked extensively on National Institutes of Health and trade pharmacy publications and is a contributing textbook writer on topics in infectious disease, nutrition and more. Van Hoey currently enjoys applying her drug information expertise to writings on women's health, complementary medicine and pediatrics.