Ion cleansing...
August 25, 2006 6:27 PM   Subscribe

Help settle an argument: Ion Cleansing... bullshit or viable holistic practice?

Personally, my bullshit-o-meter is off the chart given the junk science that is available online to explain the treatment. Unfortunately, I'm having a hard time finding any negative information about the treatment and, not to be deterred, I thought I'd ask here.

Here's a brief explanation of the process in case you're not familiar with it.
posted by purephase to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by matkline at 6:29 PM on August 25, 2006

Speaking as a biomedical scientist: this is complete and utter bullshit.
posted by chrisamiller at 6:35 PM on August 25, 2006

posted by caddis at 6:37 PM on August 25, 2006

super duper mega bullshit.
posted by Justinian at 6:37 PM on August 25, 2006

Well, the terms "ion cleanse" and "ion cleansing" appear absolutely nowhere in the searchable English-language medical literature, for whatever that's worth. Looks like this might be a new scam!

I've got to invent one of these myself. Maybe something with lasers....
posted by mr_roboto at 6:38 PM on August 25, 2006

male domesticated bovine stool
posted by riotgrrl69 at 6:39 PM on August 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

To clarify: The only thing that running an electric current through water is going to get you is hydrogen and oxygen (as any 10th grade science student can tell you).

The other crap they peddle on their site is, well... crap. Alternative medicine is alternative for a reason. It's never been proven to work in any clinical study. Homeopathy, colonic cleansing, it's all bullshit designed to get money from the stupid.

Orac over at Respectful Insolence debunks these kind of claims semi-regularly, if you're interested:
posted by chrisamiller at 6:42 PM on August 25, 2006

chrisamiller writes "The only thing that running an electric current through water is going to get you is hydrogen and oxygen (as any 10th grade science student can tell you)."

You might be doing some electrochemistry at the electrodes, which would explain why the water changes color.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:43 PM on August 25, 2006

Here's what's going on.

The water is being electrolyzed. This promotes rapid corrosion of the iron electrodes in the foot bath. Ferric oxides to the chemist, or rust to most everyone else is what turns the water yellow then brown. Insoluble iron precipitates are what form the scum on top too.

Here's a description of a similar scam played on water filtration "detoxifiers". The author of this piece, Joe Schwarcz, is a frequent commentator on the Canadian discovery channel.

A couple of year ago, the Bad Science column in the Guardian looked at one of these devices. They concluded that none of the common waste products from the human body (creatine and urea) were appear in the "toxic" water. The only change they detected was a rise in iron levels.

This appears to be a way to scare people with rusty water. Inadvertant on the part of the operator or not, it's a complete scam.
posted by bonehead at 6:54 PM on August 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

Nothing to add scientifically here, but I witnessed this process once. A friend I was meeting with was getting this done so I thought I'd stick around and watch. I thought it was complete bullshit when I was told what was going to happen but it was a very convincing process. It was very scary what was "coming out" of my friends feet.

Though I'm an optimist, I had a very hard time believing any of it. Witnessing this event made it more understandable how others could believe it. Especially the speech on how you could get sick after all of these toxins and whatnot are leaving your body and your lack of iron in the body (or something...somewhat vague, sorry) so be sure to get plenty of rest and hydrate.

Bonehead and company seem to nail it on the head.

posted by freudianslipper at 7:06 PM on August 25, 2006

Yup, bullshit. So the water turns color whether or not your feet are in it? That means your only visible indicator of anything happening ... doesn't involve you.
posted by Quietgal at 7:08 PM on August 25, 2006

Honestly, if it has the word "holistic" or (god help you) "homeopathic" in the brochure it's a scam. Or at the very least a very expensive placebo.
posted by Riemann at 7:59 PM on August 25, 2006

It is legal evidence at trial that the owner of the ion device is a moron.
posted by Kensational at 8:11 AM on August 26, 2006

(mangle english much? never try to dash one of these off before bedtime.)
posted by bonehead at 8:32 AM on August 26, 2006

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