IONIC FOOT DETOX MACHINE IN TOWN: Put your legs in a tub of water and be shocked by the muck coming out of your feet! Current fad or just a relaxing foot bath? The jury is out on this one. Yet many swear by the goodness of this “ion exchange hydrolysis de-tox” as it is called. Don’t miss the infrared-ray hot belt around the chest. (left) Dr Franklin Herbert Das is a naturopath from Chennai with patients in Goa who obviously prefer alternate therapies to the drugs of Allopathy. (right) Alarming picture… Clear tap water in tub turning black and green during the half-hour treatment

By Tara Narayan

IT is no longer news that most of us are chasing alternate and non-invasive ways to reap better health parameters. As the years catch up with us and after years of faulty lifestyles the result is there for us to accept or live in denial — organic/metabolic disorders like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer! I don’t know about the young but more and more seniors of my generation are conscious of the plethora of drugs prescribed by doctors for our continuing wellbeing.
The catch is the drugs of mainstream Allopathy do not heal from scratch, but only keep symptoms of a disease under control until the law of diminishing returns sets in. I’m sure most of you are also seeking better health in your senior years like me and in this context when my friend advocate Joseph Vaz of the Panaji YMCA told me their Senior Citizens Guild has become very active in promoting alternate therapies which may do some good and no harm…I was interested.
Hey, I’m all for drinking green wheatgrass juice first thing in the morning, eating sprouts, fruit, etc, for breakfast (although oftentimes I’m too lazy to do it for myself). In Mumbai it’s become a habit with morning walkers in several suburbs uptown and downtown investing in a range of what is described as detoxing and regenerative green juices — available for a price of course at the various gardens of the distant Western suburbs of say Juhu or Vile Parle (West). Such a morning garden service has still to catch fire in Goa’s capital city Panaji or anywhere else.
TO GO on when I heard YMCA’s seniors’ guild had on its agenda a full body foot detox treatment, courtesy a Dr Franklin Herbert Das, naturopath from Chennai and head of International Naturopathy Organization in Delhi, I was intrigued and decided I could do with the foot detox. Perhaps it would ease the beginning of varicose veins on my left foot! Plus, I’m also an indifferent heart patient having done a bypass some eight years ago. Not blaming anybody, okay, only myself.
Given my more or less negative lifestyle I imagine all kinds of detoxes will do me good for whatever they are worth! I asked around about the ionic foot detox machine and was informed by more educated friends that this kind of a therapy is offered in many Thailand spas, folk chase it abroad as part of keeping body beautiful in tone. One may take it seriously or one may not take it seriously. The only detox that will happen is I will feel lighter and more positive for a few days!
From the sound of it this full body detox happens through a scientific process called ion exchange. One puts one’s feet in a tub of ordinary tap water, some salt is added and stirred in the water, an electrode called Array is placed in the water and the body is charged with negative and positive ions through a wrist band attached to an electrical machine. I asked and Dr Franklin said, no, it is not radiation, be reassured and relax.
Some kind of hydrolysis happens in the water as the body charges mildly and stimulates a detox experience…reportedly, the toxins of free radicals are encouraged to drain into the water in the tub — and hey, one may see the water turning yellow, brown, blackish, bubbles of green foam here and there. This is the fascinating and “clinching” evidence that there is so much kachrapati in the body because of inflammation and it is all coming out through the soles of your feet. Believe it or not!
Plus, the good Dr Franklin Das wrapped a sophisticated hot pad around my boobs which heated up my waist and chest so that I gradually felt hot, hotter, hottest as in shades of a sauna bath. Over half-an-hour I was de-toxed and the water at my feet turned into fearful colours, Dr Das through all his experience reads these colours and tells me, “You are a gall bladder person and have problems with your digestion!” Nonsense, I replied, my digestion is too good! Oh well then, I thought, maybe all this is part of my heart problem because I can’t quit eating and drinking too much of all the wrong things in life. Perhaps Dr Franklin Das is right about my digestion for more complex reasons.
Ping goes the machine and the de-tox is over! Someone else is waiting in the list of folk anxious to learn what good a “whole body ionic foot detox” can do for them and mind you, some are doing it twice and thrice, that’s how good they feel! Sona Nathan tells me she has done this therapy in Canada and swears by it, she has taken a second booking. The good doctor shifted me to another chair where the hot pad belt is strapped around my shoulders for some more warming up or “heart treatment.”
Dr L Franklin Herbert, naturopathy practitioner, certified diabetes educator, tells me I may do this ionic foot de-tox a couple of times for continuing benefits. I ask if he is a naturopathy how come he is using a machine for therapy? He smiled, “Such therapies are complementary to naturopathy!” Also while I was on my detox he interpreted many things by studying the steadily malevolent looking water in the tub and the strict advice was I better change my lifestyle or rather eating patterns: In fact he wrote down a whole list of things I should do, including drink a green chloryphyll rich juice for breakfast to alkalinize my acidic chemistry. There’s neem leaf juice, bitter gourd juice, I may even eat hibiscus petals. Generally speaking there’re a slew of super herbals to be in the pink of health anew!
Yes, it’s also advantageous to shun milk and milk products, industrial junk foods out of packets, fryums. Start cooking at home from scratch and eat. No more eating out, he says, and my freshly charged or detoxed heart sinks! He says, eat more fruit and veggies, drink more water. Of course l already know most of it but it’s easy to know, hard to do, my dears. That’s my problem.
I said goodbye to Dr Franklin with the promise that I would return to talk to him some more. I wasn’t able to do it though. How much did the foot detox cost me? `1,500 and it’s a discounted rate for YMCA senior citizens, the treatment is costlier in the big cities and abroad. Later, I realized the therapy did make me feel lighter and somewhat de-toxed like some of the cellular flab on my thighs had smoothened out….but what’s the verdict really? Can one really do a full body detox treatment through what is called an ionic detox foot machine? There’re several such machines in the alternate therapy market and reportedly the therapies do bring about a feeling of wellbeing.
It works in so much as the principle of placebo works and even my erudite friend and alternate medicine practioner in Margao, Dr Lenny da Costa of Rafael Medicare Centre, tells me the mind is a very important place where neuro-transmitters can perform magic, “all diseases begin in the mind and if the mind tells you, you are feeling better, you will feel better!”. He has a couple of these of these foot detox machines in his clinic but he used them only “to woo patients for his IV detox therapy which is more effective detox!” The so called whole body ionic foot detox massage I’ve had is then just short-term euphoria and beauty parlours are offering it abroad.
In naturopathy the real detoxification of body beautiful is through regular fasting (which of course most of us have forgotten to do). Come to think of it our grandparents and parents’ generation not only used to work hard physically, they also used to fast religiously once or twice a week or a month, and it makes sense that when the body is granted a holiday it will cleanse it will “house-clean” itself so that one feels rejuvenated and happier afterwards.
MUCH googling homework later I learned the spa market is flooded with detox machines of various gradations, many made in China! For example, the Huakai detox spa chi ion ionic detox spa devices whole body detox machine comes with a main machine, two arrays (electrodes), two FIR belts (far infrared toning function), two wristbands and other accessories. All claim that ionic detox foot spa system produces positive and negative ions that resonate through the body and stimulate the cells to excrete toxins through the feet! Twenty to 35 minutes of usage every second or third day brings maximum benefits. There are also portable air pressure therapy machines and suits to wear, vibration massage belts, etc, all with the aim of keeping the body toned and alive and kicking.
Funny, some fans of this therapy swear by its efficacy while others say there’s no real scientific evidence to support claims of full body detox through feet. Put an electrode in a tub of water — without feet — and water will still turn rusty and terrifying through chemical reaction! No foot detox method can flush toxins from your feet, but soaking them in warm water with some Epsom or sea salt will relieve stress and make you feel good. The machine foot bath detox more or less does the same thing — reenergize body and the feeling may last over a few days.
Say it’s a kind of addiction and fad for those with money to burn! Helen Chin Lui who is a certified reflexologist and energy medicine practitioner says one must take responsibility for one’s own health! For more reading log in to I learn that ionic therapy is loosely linked to the work of Royal Raymond Rife, American inventor who discovered bioelectric medicine. His theory has it that viruses self-destroy if introduced to the right balance of resonating frequency, similar to glass shattering by the high pitch of a soprano!
Fast forward to 21st century and a Dr Mary Staggs applied this theory which resulted in the first commercial ionic footbath in 2001. Pacific College Alumna and Oncology Specialist Christine Adamo, is a supporter of “true” ionic detoxes and uses them in her practice, particularly with cancer patients to help with the side effects of chemotherapy. So something in it or nothing in it, do more reading up and make up your own mind about ionic foot detox therapy. Join the YMCA Senior Citizens Guild and find out more by exchanging notes with all those who have benefited or not benefited by their foot detox!

Some voices….

Joseph & Pamela Vaz: “I did this foot detox therapy first thing in the morning and I can’t say much just yet except that I feel much lighter now. I’m told this therapy is good for my diabetes. Let’s see how I feel after a few days! While my feet were in the water in the tub doctor asked me if I was feeling bitterness on my tongue? Perhaps he asked me this question because I’m a diabetic! Anyway, it is always a happy feeling to soak my feet in water and in old days we used to put them in water in which neem leaves were boiled…my wife Pam who has a bit of high blood pressure also did the therapy. Her water turned pitch black, mine not so much! May be because I have stopped eating meats!” (Joseph has a dry sense of humor while Pam indulges him quietly! He is chairperson of YMCA Panaji and to a query said that their Senior Citizens Guild has about 170 seniors on roll register. From the sound of it they’re a lively lot and game for experiencing or doing anything for a good cause — be it personal or impersonal.)
Errol Pires from St Inez: “I did the therapy for half an hour in the morning too and what I saw was unbelievable. He put about a teaspoon and half of salt in the water….and the toxins coming out looked like phlegm, very acidic looking, bubbles and all! You have to see it to believe it! Afterwards the treatment I felt much better, lighter…see I am in my mid-60s and I believe in everything which makes feel good. What we believe is important. Possibly it’s the placebo effect! Don’t ask me about the technological explanation of ion hydrolysis or any such thing, all that I haven’t understood fully yet. I’ve been told to drink wheatgrass juice in the morning and eat more veggies including ash gourd, bottle gourd, drink veggies juices, but eat very little rice. A decoction of ginger, lemon, jaggery, black pepper….drink! Who doesn’t want to keep in good health? It’s all God’s grace that I’m not any medication yet…” (A most forthcoming and disarming fellow is Errol Pires, when I asked him if I could quote him he replied, “No problem, use my name!”)
Sujit Ghorai who was with wife Chaya, from Porvorim: “I’ve had hepatitis twice and think this therapy may help me to detox and get some energy…I haven’t done it yet but you may call me later and I’ll tell you! I’ve heard good things about the magical benefits of detoxing the body, although one may do that in many other ways too. This is just one way I suppose with the help of a machine…let’s see what happens.”

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