Monday, September 10, 2007

Wellness -- It's All in The Feet!

Wellness – It’s All in the Feet!
September 10, 2007

Wow! I feel good … tanannana …. Like I knew I would … tannanana … It is rare that I am wowed by a new therapy or holistic treatment because I have tried so many different things, but 1 session of this combo treatment has really made me feel different. My head is clearer, and colours seem brighter and it feels like I am breathing easier. It feels like my whole body is running a little bit better than it was before we started the session.

I just had an ionic footbath treatment followed by a mineral soak. Although, like the machine, I am from Canada, and I had heard about it from an ex-coworker, I had never tried it. As usual, I approach every new therapy with a healthy bit of skepticism. The treatment was administered by Gayle, a pain elimination specialist, who uses a combination of NST [neuro-structural integration technique] and Reiki, when working with her clients. As well as these modalities, Gayle assists her clients to eliminate pain using the IonSpa and mineral soak. I had met Gayle just over a week ago at a healing circle that Masauke was facilitating.

As I too work with Reiki energy, I offered to be a guinea pig for one of her students in the Reiki classes she was teaching and after the session I had the opportunity to speak with her about her practice. She mentioned the ionSpa Detox Footbath and it immediately intrigued me. The footbath is described as “a holistic way of approaching disease through saturation of the blood, tissue, cells and organs with ions.” “The ionSpa,” the flyer she gave me tells me, “produces negative hydrogen ions, which act as both an energy carrier and an antioxidant in the body.”

I read that the ionSpa “allows for a large uptake of negative ions into the coenzyme NAD (nicotinamide adenosine dinucleotide) which creates active NADH, which the flyer reminds me is the essential coenzyme of all cellular regeneration and reproduction.” I am thinking back to my undergraduate biochemistry days and remember that NADH is used in the Krebs cycle, which is supposed to allow the body to generate cellular energy – more than that I can’t remember. I make a mental note to do some more research on how this all works.

Back in Gayle’s treatment room she sits me on a comfortable chair next to the sink as she wraps a large basin in a double layer of plastic, “for sanitary reasons,” she tells me. She hooks up a small square black box – the brains of the operation, I am told – and hooks it up to an electrode that reminds me of the ones I used to use for gel electrophoresis back in the days when I worked in the lab. I placed my feet in the basin turned footbath on either side of the electrode and she filled up a large container with warm water and pours the water over my feet, almost up to my ankles. So far, so good.

She adds a couple scoops(less than a quarter of a teaspoon) of sea salt to the water, then punches in some numbers on the buttons on the little black box. I feel a light tingling in my feet when she first turns on the current. I look at my feet. Bubbles are coming up out of the electrode in between my feet. The water is clear. I remember my colleague Debby had told me about her friend who had tried it and had ended up with black water. I am sure that my water will be pure, after all, I’ve been eating a mostly organic diet for years and, after I finished working as a molecular geneticist, where I am sure I soaked up more than my fair share of noxious chemicals, I spent several years doing regular juice fasting and all manner of cleanses to help my body to detox from the chemicals I knew I had been exposed to over the years, despite all the precautions we had taken in the lab. In recent years I had started purchasing and using primarily natural, nontoxic products and had been doing a regular liver flush to help my body to reduce it’s toxic load. Surely, I thought, my footbath will be different. I will be the one person who has almost clear water at the end of the treatment.

Well, I was right for about the first 4 minutes of the session. After that this yellowish colour began to ooze from my feet. I remembered that the flyer had said “Because of poor diet and high stress, we tend to accumulate and store excessive quantities of waste products. Particles, fat and mucous residues found in the water after bathing reflect the waste that have left the body during the 30 minute session. Neutralized particles are pulled out of the body through the skin via osmosis. Colour changes in the water are only some of the indicators that toxins are removed from the body.”

I look down at the basin watching my feet. At first there was only a hint of yellow colouring coming off my feet. Two minutes later the yellow colour is seeping from my feet and spreading throughout the entire basin. A few minutes later the water is changing from a light yellow to the colour of light corn syrup, with a slightly reddish tinge. A small mucousy plaque floats out and Gayle tells me that it could be from vitamins or supplements that are not completely natural. That’s definitely a possibility because although I am normally very careful about the types of vitamins and supplements I take, when I was younger I certainly wasn’t as aware as I am now and also since I’ve been traveling I haven’t always been able to find the type of supplements that I normally buy.

Gayle smells a little bit of a sweet smell and says that may be petrochemicals coming out. I think back to my little Smart Car sitting in the garage in Toronto and wonder how much of the diesel fuel soaks up into my body when I’m standing at the gas pump, because there aren’t a whole lot of other petrochemicals in my environment. Mental note: another thing to do some research on – Are we exposed to trace levels of petrochemicals when we breathe in exhaust fumes while sitting in heavy traffic or might they com from gasoline fumes while pumping gas at the gas station, and/or are there trace amounts that soak in through the hands from whatever might be on the pump handle. Beep goes the machine. “It is going into a new cycle.” clarifies Gayle.

A tiny blue speck floats by on the surface of the water. Gayle tells me it is a star of aluminum and it’s one of the biggest one’s she’s ever seen. Aluminum I think, where would I have been exposed to that? Well, I stopped cooking with aluminum pans about 17 years ago so it’s not there. I don’t use aluminum foil when I cook but I do sometimes buy pies in aluminum pie plates and I don’t always cook for myself and I don’t know what others use. Ah, I remember. If this footbath pulls out stuff that’s been stored for a long time then of course there were those aluminum tumblers that my brothers and I used to drink out of when I was a child. Growing up in Jamaica where bauxite is mined and sent off to be processed into Aluminium, those tumblers were very popular. Mine was red, very light and I really loved it. Could trace amounts of aluminium still be in my body 40 years later from so many breakfasts drinking fresh squeezed orange juice out of that cup? Does slightly acidic juices leach aluminium out of those cups like oily substances are supposed to leach plastic from the containers they are stored in? Mental note: more research needed here too. Yes, says Gayle, when I mention that I don't cook with Aluminum pots, and what about cans? Have you ever thought about how many people drink daily from Alumimum cans? Ah yes, those aluminum cans that I occasionally drink Ice Tea from. Good Point! I have not totally reduced my exposure to aluminum as I had thought.

She asks me if I have had any allergies recently. Yes, I reply. Actually I have had for the first time in about 20 years since I have been traveling. It is mostly in the mornings that I’ve been waking up sneezy and slightly stuffed up. I suspected it had something to do with the carpets in the places I’ve been staying. Back in Toronto I had no carpeting in my home and since I’ve been traveling many of the places I have stayed at have some sort of carpeting, usually in the bedrooms, so I have been sleeping in rooms with closed windows, because of the air conditioning, and with carpeting. I know that carpeting is one of the main sources of indoor allergens and environmental toxins from my years working in environmental health. Gayle’s next comment is “It seems like something you inhaled.” House dust and cat or dog fur from the carpets could be it I think. But Gayle says that she thinks that my allergic reactions may be to the mould, weeds and oak that have been present in the environment in Boerne at the time of my treatment. Gayle told me that she had been seeing much the same thing in many footbaths during the same period of time. "Maybe dust might have been a factor for you", she points out, "but by the look of the response, it did not look like it was dust or dander. Dust or dander would have most likely come out in the look of the water in the foot bath as lymph. I'm not sure why that happens but it does seem to" Gayle clarifies More questions I think, but there’s definitely something to this machine because Gayle is picking up stuff that I hadn’t told her.

By now the surface of the water has a reddish yellow film on it and underneath the colour is a strong yellowy red. So much for me being different. So much for my body being less toxic. Gayle says it has the look of copper. The mixture is starting to look like a newly opened can of tomato soup. She writes something else down on the cue card she has been making notes on. She asks me if I have ever smoked, something is showing up that suggests tobacco smoke. I’ve never smoked but have been exposed to second hand smoke at various periods in my life. She suggests that it not likely to be secondhand exposure but if it was it was an old exposure since recent exposures show up on the surface and this is in the underwater. She says that anything that comes out on the surface of the water is coating the body’s cells, making it more difficult for the body to operate since impulses have to get through the coating before the cells can communicate with each other.

There are no liver or gallbladder related colours or materials. Gayle tells me. That is common with many people though the response showing gallbladder apparently can change in a matter of days. There’s that sweet smell again. Can you smell it? It’s those petrochemicals. I get a wiff of a very, very faint sweet odour. Beep goes the machine. “Have you ever had a hair analysis done? There’s a combo of metals” Gayle says. “It looks like lead and mercury.” I look at the now quite darkish rusty coloured water but don’t have a clue what she is seeing. I notice the brownish bubbles in the centre over the electrode. “Is that it?” I ask. “No” says Gayle. “That’s yeast.” Could be I think. I first did a Candida cleanse in 1992 and then spent several years on a sugar free, yeast free, wheat free, dairy free diet to eliminate all the yeast from my body. In the last few years and more so in the past few months of my travels I have been eating more sugar and bready type goodies than I usually do so a resurgence of Candida is not out of the question. Gayle would explain later that the lead and Mercury was showing up in the under water and was a dark gray and then turning to a deep black. She knew it was heavy metals, most likely Mercury.

Beep! The machine sounds off again. The session is normally over 25 minutes after it begins but Gayle tested you and added an additional 5 mins. in the water. The basin at my feet looks like a freshly opened can of frothy tomato soup. As I take my feet out and wipe them with a paper towel I leave a brownish yellow film on the white towel. This does not look good I say to Gayle as she puts down a fresh basin with water and takes away the now brownish mixture of water with the goopy ooze that came out of my feet. I would have thought that with my years of healthy, mostly organic, eating and non –toxic living my first session would have been better than this. Gayle laughs when I tell her that I had expected that the water would be clear. She says “This is about ¼ as bad as most people on their first session, so your healthy eating and living is doing something!” I feel a bit relieved.

Now comes the mineral soak. I ask Gayle if the soak is important to rebalance the mineral content of my body after the detox treatment. She replies emphatically "NO! Not what I said. The mineral soak is not needed after a mineral soak to put back minerals that have been stripped out. I don’t want to give anyone that impression. Most people would do their entire “run” (the number of treatments that it takes for that person to remove the years of toxic buildup) before doing a Mineral Soak. That is a separate treatment. You are right that until some of the toxins are removed the minerals are not readily uptaken by the cells….which is the reason to wait until most of the toxins are removed. In your case, you are certainly “clear” enough to go ahead doing the Mineral Soak after only one Detox. Does that make sense?" Gayle brings out a large stainless steel container. She fills a large plastic container with water and pulls out a series of bottles. Which ones resonate with you? She asks. These two go into every treatment she says putting one dropper full of a clear liquid labeled Magnesium and another labeled Mineral Complex. Chose three more. I select Pancreatic Support, Circulatory Support and Balance from among the 6 bottles she offers me. Each bottle contains a proprietary mixture of various Minerals and support essences. I put my feet in the steel basin as Gayle pours the lukewarm mixture on my feet. She dims the light and leaves the room, advising me to focus on my breathing. I go into relaxation mode, beginning my meditation by slowing down my breathing and clearing my mind.

25 minutes later Gayle is back. As I come out of my meditative state I scan my body. Wow! I feel good … tanannana …. Like I knew I would … tannanana … it really feels great … my mind is clearer and the colours around me are brighter. It is easier to breathe. There is definitely something to this treatment. Gayle tells me that normally she would do a run of treatments – 5 to 7 being the most. To do the initial detox and then the individual only needs to come in periodically to maintain it, and all for the low price of $60 for the combo treatment. "When people finish a run", Gayle tells me, "They may come back for 2 or 3 mineral soaks, or they may come back in a month or 2 for the combo treatment just like you had. It seems to be a very good way to do it." Wow! Wellness in a footbath and a mineral soak bottle! What a treat! Thanks Gayle!