Apr 23, 2008

IonCleanse - A.K.A. The Rust Machine

Detoxification. It's the cornerstone of woo woo new-age alternative medicine. Recently two friends of mine were attempting to detox using an IonCleanse foot bath. The basic premise is that toxins are leeched out from the soles of the feet and after about 1/2 an hour the water turns various colors, with the shade of color signifying which toxin was leached out.

Here's an example:

Here's the section from the instruction manual that tells you what color (in the water) is associated with which toxin.

Too good to be true? Yes

Here's how the IonCleanse machine actually works.

Take a look at the diagram. By connecting up the machine you essentially complete an electrical circuit. Energy flows from the IonCleanse to the wrist, through the body to the feet, through the water into the "array" and back into the machine, or vice versa.

By completing the circuit you allow energy to flow through the "array." The array is actually just a coil of cheap metal. And everyone knows that if you want to make metal rust immerse it in salt water and flow electricity through it.

Here's a used array. You can clearly see the rusty coil and the rust migrating to the plastic surrounding.

To test my theory (that it's just rust) we decided to take the human element out of the equation. The human element of the equation provides a considerable amount of resistance, and we didn't want to damage the machine by removing the human element completely. So we had to scratch our heads for a minute to figure out how to keep the human in the circuit, but take it out of the water. We finally accomplished this by having someone (in this case, me) take my feet out of the water and complete the circuit my holding a coat hanger in the water with my hand.

The circuit is completed, but there are no body parts in the water. So any coloring of the water must come from the coil or the coat hanger, but not the person.

Then we fired up the machine. And guess what happened. Almost immediately rust (er... I mean toxins) began pouring out of the array. Either that, or the coat hanger was unloading some serious toxins. :-)

How ironic. In an effort to remove nonspecific toxins from your body, you actually soak your feet in a nonspecific metallic toxin... rust.

And how much must one pay for the privilege of "detoxifying" this way? Between $220 for the unit we were using, all the way up to $2895 for a Premier model.

Here's an image of the unit we were testing.

So now you have to ask yourself a few questions:
  • Do the people who build this machine really believe it's detoxifying your body?
  • Do the companies marketing this machine really believe it's detoxifying your body?
  • Did the dealer who sold this unit to my friend really believe it detoxifies your body?
Let's take the questions in order.

Do the people who build this machine really believe it's detoxifying your body?

Absolutely not. There is a certain level of engineering that is required to produce this machine. It's basically the equivalent of a small stereo amplifier. The unit creates a current and actually modulates that current somewhat, as you could feel it pulsing when attached.

The array is designed to produce different colors of "toxin water" either one of two ways. Either the coil is built upon layers of different metals, so that the rusty color changes as the coil decays. Or more likey, the metal is of a single alloy and the differences in the water are due to agitation of the water due to movement of the feet.

As a side note, one of the toxins listed in the manual was "Bad Cholesterol" and it's identified by an "Oily substance on top of water." I have a feeling that the more lotion you use on your feet the more "bad cholesterol" the unit will remove from your body. Think about it.

Do the companies marketing this machine really believe it's detoxifying your body?

Absolutely not. Same scenario as above.

Did the dealer who sold this unit to my friend really believe it detoxifies your body?

I suspect that the answer to this question is "Yes." It could be said that the dealers are unknowingly or unwittingly defrauding their customers because of a lack of scientific understanding. The fraudsters who marketed and distributed this unit will of course know a few things that will allow them to prey on their potential dealers.

They know that their dealer network will be "new agey." Meaning it's sold through yoga studios, vitamin shops, new age spiritual centers, etc. Being part of the new age sect basically precludes you from scientific thinking. That might sound harsh, but it's true. If you were thinking scientifically... you wouldn't be caught up in new age.

These people know that the dealers will buy their pseudo scientific babel hook-line-and-sinker. So it's an easy sale. Thus, the dealers unwittingly pass along the fraud to their customers.

At this juncture, I'm going to say this... If you're a new age spiritualist reading this post. Rather than taking offense, you should just realize that a dose of skepticism would probably do you a bit of good. So let the buyer beware the next time you're offered supplements, detoxifiers of any kind, healing candles, magnet therapy, or any so called therapy that can treat and cure multiple nonspecific symptoms (like increasing your liver function and removing joint toxins).

So let's return for a minute to the hucksters who designed this contraption. They're obvious fraudsters. But who are they? I've figured that out actually. And here they are in their own words:

Shenzhen Sheng Yang Kang Technical Limited Company

Shenzhen Sheng Yang Kang Technical Limited Company., a professional holdings group, has been specialized in designing, developing, manufacturing and marketing in such as the instrument of managing and health-protection. Combined with more than 10 departments, which construct the perfect production and management modes. On the basis of strict enterprise management, taking the advantage of rich economic strength, acute market awareness and the prompt action, our company has doubled and ranked on the top list and taken the great reputation in the same reputation. Now we puts the emphases on the development of the R&D and the production departments and has established the all-round developing structure of the combination of industry, commerce and trade, based on the research and development of high-tech products. We have the confident that we are the potential group in both of economic, enterprise management, market research, and in itself technology and quality, which has strongly been proved by the steady benefits and increasing capital. Meanwhile, in the development and production of medical, sports, health-protection and hi-tech electronics products, our company has a large group of excellent specialists who master on Chinese medicine, Western medicine therapies and human body's nerves and a team of superior developers and engineers who have had many years' experiences in the fields. And surely they are also skilful on computer, electron, laser and mechanisms, etc, who make the great effort to constitute the high-quality products and the perfect image of our company. We have formed the integrative production in large scale such as the frame design, mechanism exploiture, programme by computer, hand-made model, mould development and the finished product assembling. But the innovative products always meet the market demands, follow up the fashionable steps, to get the good reputation and patents. Since being put into the market, our products have been very popular and loved. Meanwhile it has aroused the consumption upsurge. Nowadays with the increasingly stinging market competition, we stand still and up-hold our principle of providing the best quality and service, and offering

Our loyalty to the society in return so to exploit more good products, to seed the health and to benefit the human society. On the world plate, we are capable, confident and responsible to finish our promise of making our own contribution to the health field.

Score another hit for traditional Chinese medicine. And another hit for Chinglish. I love Chinglish!

I think the disclaimer on their sales page says it all:

The IonCleanse Premier is not intended to treat, prevent, cure, or diagnose any disease or ailment.

For once... we're in total agreement.

For more information see The Aqua Detox Scam