Objective assessment of an ionic footbath (IonCleanse): testing its ability to remove potentially toxic elements from the body

J Environ Public Health. 2012:2012:258968. doi: 10.1155/2012/258968. Epub 2011 Nov 29.


Ionic footbaths are often used in holistic health centres and spas to aid in detoxification; however, claims that these machines eliminate toxins from the body have not been rigorously evaluated. In this proof-of-principle study, we sought to measure the release of potentially toxic elements from ionic footbaths into distilled and tap water with and without feet. Water samples were collected and analyzed following 30-minute ionic footbath sessions without feet using both distilled (n = 1) and tap water (n = 6) and following four ionic footbaths using tap water (once/week for 4 weeks) in six healthy participants. Urine collection samples were analyzed at four points during the study. Hair samples were analyzed for element concentrations at baseline and study conclusion. Contrary to claims made for the machine, there does not appear to be any specific induction of toxic element release through the feet when running the machine according to specifications.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Baths / methods*
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Hair / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Ions / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Toxins, Biological / urine
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urine / chemistry
  • Water*


  • Ions
  • Toxins, Biological
  • Water