The holidays are over, and if one of your New Year's resolutions is to lose weight, there is a clinic in Holt that says you can do it with a foot bath. Some people think this ionic detox foot bath is actually the cure to many medical problems. Thousands in Mid-Michigan swear by it. Practitioners say it can help you lose weight, sleep better, even boost your immune system.
WILX's Amanda Malkowski put her feet in a bucket filled with water and salts. Health and wellness coach Laura Peiffer placed electrodes into the bath and an electric current began to flow. 30 minutes later the water was dirty with what Peiffer says are bodily toxins released through the feet.
"We have negative and positive charges on the machine. So, the negative takes the toxins, and swishes it around kind of in your body and prepares your body for the positive charge," said Laura Peiffer, Health and Wellness Coach.
A positive charge she says encourages the release of colored toxins that reveal different health issues.
"Brown is cleaning from your liver, orange is joints," said Peiffer.
And the treatment is a big hit. Clients pay 35 dollars for a 30 minute session. Peiffer's business has thousands of like on Facebook. The practice is popping up at wellness clinics, in spas, and you can even buy detox baths online. Customer Jaime Williams believes it's so effective, she takes her 6 year old daughter for regular treatments.
"She was diagnosed with five food allergies and now she's down to 3. And we've just seen huge improvements with her, not just her tonsils, but her behavior, her attitude, her sleep-all of that's improved," Jamie Williams, a client.
But doctors say they're skeptical.
"The kidney does a pretty good job getting rid of whatever toxins need to be gone, or the after-effects of metabolism, and I don't know of anything else that's that effective," said Dr. Linda Fisher- Williams.
The Journal of Environmental and Public Health measured the effectiveness of the treatment and found that it didn't decrease toxin levels. And the brownish color? It's likely the result of rusting salts. Doctors say there are simple ways to rid your body of toxins that don't involve visits to a wellness clinic.
"You drink the water, you exercise, you get your metabolism revved up, and I think that's probably the simplest, easiest way to cleanse," said Fisher-Williams.
Despite the evidence, Peiffier and her clients stand by the treatment, saying it's a life-changer.
"Come in and try it. I'm not going to have a debate with you. There's nothing to tell you, unless you come in and try it," said Peiffier.
WILX's Amanda Malkowski had a treatment done. She says she could feel some tingling on my feet from the electricity, and when the practitioner analyzed my water, she did recognize a few health issues Amanda has. Whether or not those were just good guesses, or come from true medical analysis, is up for debate. She says she didn't feel any changes in her body.