Two weeks after vowing to treat myself to some complementary therapies with Annie Day, I arrive back at Heaven Scent Bliss eagerly anticipating my Ionic Detox Foot Spa.
My treatment happens to coincide with Annie’s 60th birthday.
“But surely you shouldn’t be working on your special day?” I say.
“Why not?” Annie giggles.
And why not indeed?! I’ve never met anyone who enjoys their job as much as Annie.

So, after sharing a delicious lunch of baked sweet potato, houmous and salad to mark the happy occasion, I continue to sit at the kitchen table while Annie sets about preparing my treatment.
Ionic DetoxAs she places a plastic liner in the foot bath and fills it with water, I read through the information leaflet about this simple detoxification therapy. A mild electrical current is passed through saline solution to produce an electromagnetic field, which penetrates the skin and draws soluble toxins and lipids (fats) out of the body and into the water. I ponder the before and after photos of someone’s feet in the foot spa. ‘Before’, the water is clear, whereas ‘after’, the water is the colour of mud. Part of me wants my water to remain clean to prove that I am a relatively toxin-free zone (I have always considered my diet to be fairly healthy). But as I slip my bare feet into the warm, salty foot bath that Annie has put on the floor in front of me, I remember the Chinese take-away and wine I had the night before and suspect that I am, after all, going to be putting this machine through its paces. Oh well, at least I will be getting my money’s worth!

I position my feet either side of a power unit in the middle of the foot spa. I expect the electrical current to make the water ripple, but it remains completely still. Then before long, the water starts to go yellow – the first signs of toxins leaving my system. I sip the glass of water that Annie has given me to keep me hydrated during the process, and I am reassured by the leaflet that removing toxins from the body will reduce stress on the organs and improve general health.

There is a knock at the back door, and a couple of Annie’s friends arrive bearing birthday gifts. I assure Annie that it is absolutely fine by me to let them in while I am having a treatment. If I had been lying covered in seashells (see my first guest post) I might have felt slightly awkward, I muse.
After a few minutes of laughter, kisses and presents, all attention turns to me and the foot spa, and I find myself explaining to the visitors that I am detoxifying in salt water. But Annie’s friends, a mother and her teenage daughter, seem unfazed by the sight of someone who looks like they have their feet in a puddle of urine. Annie makes the visitors a cup of tea, and then we sit around chatting, gazing down from time to time at the ever-darkening saline solution.

By my toes, a circle of lights illuminate in a sequence to indicate how many minutes are left of the treatment, and I am surprised to see that by the time the visitors leave, the foot spa is starting to resemble a murky pond. I notice too that the water has developed a thin, oily film, and there appear to be what look like coffee grounds floating on the top of the water in places. I wonder out loud how my body could have produced such substances.
“That’s the toxins coming out as fats,” Annie tells me.
She goes on to explain that some of the foods we eat are particularly bad for us, such as genetically modified rapeseed oil, monosodium glutamate (MSG) as found in Chinese food (whoops) and aspartame. These toxins build up and place a strain on our liver and kidneys in particular.
“Is this the colour you’d normally expect the water to go?” I ask, pointing at the sludge I have made.
“I’ve seen a lot worse than that,” Annie says breezily – and to my relief.

A full set of lights and a beep from the foot spa signal that I ‘am cooked’. I lift my feet out of the ‘pond’ and notice two things about them: they have a slight orange hue, and some of the sediment is clinging to my ankles. Annie passes me a towel, and it all wipes away. Then I rub some Neal’s Yard Comfrey and Mallow Foot Balm into my skin to complete the treatment.
I book my next therapy – Health Kinesiology (I’m getting more adventurous). Then, with my liver cleansed and a renewed spring in my step, I ask,
“So, how are you celebrating your birthday this evening?”
I decide from Annie’s answer that, being someone who is very knowledgeable about health and well-being, she certainly understands the value of letting her hair down now and again. Let’s just say, she could probably benefit from the detox foot spa herself afterwards…!

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