Diarrhea Foot Baths

 In 2006, I was in Chicago attending an A4M conference.  A4M Is the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. 

Yes, this was an anti-aging conference.  Might as well call it a PAA conference....People Against Aging.  This is a conference of people who don't want to get old.  I was expecting to see an angry mob of old people carrying picket signs outside the conference center.

“NO TO AGING!” 

“JUNK YOUR GERIATRISM!” 

“HELL NO!  WE WON'T GROW!...OLD” 

Like foreign countries burning posters of George Bush, they probably burn posters of themselves.  Just when you thought Beverly Hills was the only place where everyone and his mom has had plastic surgery, along comes one of these conferences.  Except in this case it's the grandmoms and the great grandmoms.

 Now, I have nothing against wanting to look and feel younger.  Hell, I'm 36 and people think I'm in my late 20's and I'd love it to stay that way.  But the priorities of these people didn't seem quite right.  I'm sitting there, looking at people who will get botox injections, or take the latest snake oil, all in the effort to look younger.  Yet, as I look at them, I can tell they don't exercise or eat healthy.  Those two things will go a lot further in making you look and feel younger than a couple shots in your cheek (which will make you look like a cross between the Joker and Joan Rivers....oh, wait, Joan Rivers does look like the Joker).  These people were like smokers who worry about pesticides on their apples.

 Speaking of snake oil, it was abundant.

 If you've ever been to any type of scientific conference, there's usually a big commercial section where companies set up booths to hawk their products.  Of course, I'm being overly kind by calling this conference scientific.  If snake oil is what you want, the commercial booths at an anti-aging conference are the premium places to get it.

 I walked by one booth where there were a couple old ladies from Covington, Washington.  This piqued my curiosity as I wanted to know what type of snake oil my home state was producing.

 At this booth, there was a lady that was soaking her feet in a bath about the size of a small duffel bag.  The water was bubbling as the bath made a slight buzzing sound.  However, this wasn't some cozy bubble bath for your feet; the water was brown.  It had a thin layer of gunk on top.  It looked like the woman was soaking her feet in bubbling diarrhea.  It looked like a shit bath for your feet.

Curious as to what this bath was supposed to do for you, I eavesdropped on the conversation.  The bath was a salt and mineral water bath with a light electrical current running through it.  This combination was supposed to draw “toxins” out of your body and into the water.  The proof, of course, that these toxins were being drawn out of your foot pores was in the shitty-looking water.  The brown stuff was supposed to be the toxins.

People were lining up to try this thing out.  I walked by another booth with a similar device called the “Aqua Detox.”  There were three lines of people waiting to use this thing.  One guy sat there reading the paper as he soaked his feet in diarrhea.

Where was Penn and Teller when you needed them?  This thing smelled of bullshit, and certainly looked like bullshit...watery, runny bullshit.

Of course, it WAS bullshit.  There are numerous reasons why.  First, your body does not eliminate toxins through your skin pores.  In fact, your skin is quite impermeable to most substances, and for good reason.  If toxins could easily pass through your skin, the human race wouldn't have survived to this day.  Well, maybe Joan Rivers would've survived because her plastic skin would be impermeable, but the rest of us would be dead.  Your body eliminates toxic substances primarily through your liver and urine; your liver modifies the chemical structure of toxins so that they can easily be filtered by your kidneys and passed out through your pee.  In other words, you piss out toxins...you don't sweat them.

In fact, whenever someone in the health and wellness industry uses the word “toxin”, it should raise red flags.  “Toxin” is usually a pseudoscientific buzzword for “I don't know what the hell I'm talking about but I want you to buy this and I'll just tell you it eliminates toxins from the body so it sounds remotely scientific.”  The next time someone tells you they have a product that gets rid of toxins from the body, ask them to identify specifically what toxins are being eliminated.  I doubt they'll be able to answer you.

What about the shitty-looking water?  Isn't this proof that toxins are being eliminated from the skin pores?  Hardly.  The brown water is nothing more than rust.  The metal electrodes in the device are sitting in salt water; when you run an electrical current through them, the iron in the electrodes starts to oxidize.  In other words, the electrodes start to corrode.  The rust finds its way into the water, turning it brown.  You can produce the same effect by taking a car battery and sending a current through two metal nails placed in salt water (don't try this at home...I don't want my ass sued because you were stupid and got electrocuted.  Don't try this at work, either.  Don't try it anywhere).

Want further proof that the brown water is not due to toxins coming out of your feet?  Run the foot bath without your feet in it, and the water will still turn brown.

Here I was, watching people soak their feet in rusty water and enjoying it.  I was so tempted to say something to these people, but since I was representing the company I worked for, I had to remain professional and I decided to hold my tongue.  And let me tell you, it looks pretty damn funny when you stand there holding your tongue.

How much do one of these units cost?  $1600.  Yes, folks, $1600 so that you can regularly soak your feet in rusty water.

I'm in the wrong business.


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Dr. Andrew Bryk, ND
Dr. Andrew Bryk, ND
7 years ago

Although I agree with your assessment of the foot baths you made several false statements. (1) Skin is a MAJOR detox pathway (your impermeable comment is destroyed by the simple act of SWEATING). The point you should have made is that if you actually pushed that much TOXIC material through the skin you would have caused serious damage to the skin. What is occurring is an oxidization reaction in the water. (2) Toxic is not a pseudoscientific buzzword though I agree that it is frequently misused. According to Title 18 of the United States Code, “…the term “toxin” means the… Read more »

Leonida Schwabauer
8 years ago

I do trust all the ideas you’ve offered in your post. They are very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are very quick for newbies. May just you please extend them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

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