A few years ago, I was advised by a business consultant to add extra services to my practice, such as ionic foot baths — something he recommended could be “sold” to patients at a rate of $50 per session for an average of 10 sessions. After looking into this technology, it didn’t take me long to reject it, in spite of growing popularity in some natural health circles.
These foot baths consist of a small basin of water with a small electrical charge running through it. Manufacturers claim that all sorts of “toxins” — from mercury to yeast to bile sludge — can be pulled out of the body through the feet this way. This ran contrary to everything I knew about physics, biochemistry, and human physiology. It only took a few minutes on the manufacturer’s web site to confirm that the claims were not backed up by any legitimate science at all. I immediately made the decision not to offer this to my patients, because my oath as a physician requires me to offer safe and effective treatments, not the latest profit center.
A new study carried out by the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine confirmed that ionic foot baths are not only ineffective, they are potentially hazardous. As I often tell my patients, ask questions — not only about conventional treatments, but alternative treatments as well. There are many wonderful and worthwhile therapies in the field of natural medicine — I guide patients every day on time-tested treatments, tailored to each specific case. Remember, though: just because something is natural does not automatically make it safe and effective.