Saturday, September 08, 2007

Absurd Autism Treatment # 2: Foot Detox

This is probably (physically) harmless, but it has to be one of the most blatant forms of quackery in existence. It's very easy to show it's quackery. See Orac's overview for the details. A commenter there posted a link to a James Randi message which in turn contained a link to a news story that reported on the treatment. Here are some excerpts of interst from the news report.

"I think autistic children should really do this."

OK, that one is a must-have in any story about pseudo-medical nonsense. The interesting part follows.

So we asked the IonCleanse advocates to run the machine without any feet in the water. The water changed color. The women blamed it on bad distilled water which they'd purchased from a local grocer. "You have to understand we were working with some really sick people," said Bonnie. "And this (water) is what Barb had in the car. We were coming here out of innocence. But yes, we do sometimes get some bad water."

So we offered to go buy more distilled water, this time from a drug store near our station. For the second time the water changed colors.

Beth: I am getting irritated. Because we all agreed the water was not going to change colors. You told me the water only changes colors when someone is sick and needs detox - puts their feet in it. How do you explain this?

Barbara: It's probably the water.

Beth: And look, there is froth all over in the water which you're telling people is mucus.

Barbara: Well it is. It represents that.

Beth: That's not mucus. No feet have been in there. I just want to look out for our viewers. I don't want them buying something that doesn't work.

Lo and behold, parents are really doing this with their autistic kids. Check out the following video.

That mom seems quite gullible. Watch her parrot back everything she's heard from the "experts" (read: quacks) about autism and yeast, thimerosal, diets, etc.


  1. Oh, oh, oh...

    When my son was first identified as autistic, and I was exploring the hype, a physician who specialized in "alternative" medicine did a hair sample (which, btw, showed no elevated mercury!) and tried to convince me to do $60/session (or something like that) foot baths.

    Needless to say, I never went back!

  2. I am always amazed at the things people will try or are willing to believe. Even back when I was a newbie to autism I could smell the chum thrown in the water by people looking to hook some desperate parents.

  3. Wow! reverse osmosses and everything!
    PT Barnum would have loved her.

  4. I really couldn't bear to watch that video after the first 40 seconds or so.

    Good emetic. Bad advert.

  5. Phil Commander9/09/2007 7:37 AM

    I think everyone should respect the fact that whether or not you agree with that mother she is still a loving mom who is trying to help her child. You may think that she is wasting her time but belittling her, mocking her, and calling her gullible show a true lack of character. You don't need to attack and bring down others in your attempts to educate us...just give us the facts.

  6. Phil: Quackery harms the autistic community. It should be fought and exposed at every turn. I have absolutely no respect for anyone who promotes quackery, and I will refer to them in whatever way I please. If you don't like it, go somewhere else.

  7. Joe,
    Since you are so opposed to quackery, why don't you ask Amanda Baggs to stop trying to pawn herself off as autistic and admit that she scrambled her brain with LSD? You could also have David Andrews quit calling himself autistic since he was diagnosed with Asperger's as an adult.

    How about the quackery of a guy like Dr Orac trying to tell us that chelation is the proper treatment for mercury poisoning but that it won't do any good for autism? In light of cured children, how do you explain that bit of quackery?

    What about Kathleen Seidel's quackery of bashing the Geiers but never mentioning the FACT that children are getting better who they have treated?

  8. Just in case anyone was wondering about what I meant by chum in the water in my first comment Fore Sam's comment is an excellent example of what I was talking about.

  9. Sam,
    Insulting me does not answer any of the points I raised. That's OK, I don't expect anyone else can answer them either. Good try though.

  10. Should I even bother to respond to Fore Sam? Nah, what a waste of time and bandwidth.

    I let his messages stay, because as a matter of policy for this blog, I've decided to delete only messages that violate Blogger's TOS.

  11. "I let his messages stay, because as a matter of policy for this blog, I've decided to delete only messages that violate Blogger's TOS."

    So they're not here as an example of how idiotic he is,then? :(

  12. David,
    Once again, good name calling. When you can't argue with anything I said, I guess that's your only option.

  13. WOW - when you live with a sick child who suffers gastro issues many times each day - does not sleep, talk or smile anymore - then you can comment on the PROS of Autism. This Regressive Autism is living HELL for the child and the family. If Foot detox, diet and supplements allow children to talk, sleep and have some peace - GREAT JOB DAN! Moms!

  14. Anon: Did you not understand why Foot Detox is a useless pile of crap? It is. Regardless of what illnesses a child has, it's a scam, claptrap, hogwash.

    Furthermore, I haven't seen evidence that autism is a living hell for the child. Most descriptions of autistic children in the literature show them to be content to be who they are. If you have data to the contrary (not anecdotes) show me.

  15. It is one thing to expose "quackery". it is another thing to single out one mom who is only trying to help her child. You may believe that her attempts will proove to be fruitless, but you really don't have the right to mock her. It says a lot about a person who doesn't understand that there are persons in that video who are real and have real feelings. And if you disagree with her you should try to show her the errors you feel she is making in private and in public you should just show your evidence that this is quackery without mocking real people in the process. It is in poor taste to publicly attack individuals.
    So expose "quackery" all you want and more power to you...but respect a mother and her child and if you do need to bring them into the picture show some decency, respect, and compassion.
    It's called being polite.

  16. Phil: You will notice that I did not mention anyone by name. There are no searchable names or anything of the sort in the post. Second, the video is public domain. Posting that video was necessary to show the connection of this woo to autism.

    Now, I cannot believe the nerve of someone who complains about mocking and who has said the following about Kev and Christschool...

    "to be honest with you all i think that somethings wrong with christschool and kevleicth. you put words in other peoples mouths and never answer my questions and refuse to show yourselves. i think you wont show yourselves becuase the truth will be revealed and we will NOT want our kids to end up like you."

    I mean, what the hell is that? You complain about calling someone gullible, when you are actually mocking people for, I don't know, your preconceptions about their appearance and mannerisms. Now, that is actually despicable and reprehensible, not to mention bigotted. Give me a break, Phil, you hypocrite.

  17. but i am clearly on record as saying that when i first got on youtube and encountered those individuals i did not understand their message and little attempt was made by that community to educate me. When a few people respectively attempted to show me the ND message (lordalfredhenry and Droopy) i opened a dialogue with this group and learnt and have changed my message. Me and Christschool are even friends now. That is what politeness brings. I still disagree with Kevin and think he is NDs version of John Best. I feel that neither of them will ever change anyones mind because there is too much hostility.
    There was also some behind the scenes events between me and christschool that nobody knows about.
    Take a look and tell me when i wrote those was well over a year ago.
    And i do believe they were comments on a video of someone elses (I could be wrong).
    Anyways, i just see no use in attacking people. I have also come to realize that the the majority of people do not think in either extreme. Most are rational people who like to have their views respected even if the person disagrees with them.
    I feel you shouldnt post her video and make comments about her being gullible. If you dont believe in that intervention by all means say so. and show evidence.
    I think you would be upset if i took some of your blog comments and did a video on them and made comments about you that were less than flattering.
    I wouldnt do that.
    The large majority of parents with autistic kids want an open discussion on what works and what doesnt and they want it done in a friendly, caring, and respectful way.
    If they are wrong show them the errors of their ways with love and patience.
    In your opinion do you feel you are doing this?

  18. First, I don't think comparing Kev to John Best holds water. John impersonates autistic children in blogs, makes threats of violence, etc. Come on. What does Kev do? He basically calls quacks on their quackery. If he's wrong, let's see a rebuttal or some debate. Saying "Kev is mean" is not an argument and is not convincing.

    Second, I called someone "gullible", which obviously they were. It probably wasn't nice to say it that way. I avoid calling people "idiot", "moron" and things like that because that's basically using cognitive disability as an insult, which is wrong. This is different, though. I don't see the big deal, considering I didn't name any names.

    I've been called much worse here, and autistic adults in general have been called things like "trailer-dwelling coo-coos" (Handley). Autistic kids have been called "train wrecks", possessors of "mad child disease", soul-less beings that "suck the soul" out of family members. And you're concerned because I used the word "gullible"? You sure have your priorities straight.

    If you read my posts, you'll notice that this is the only time I called someone "gullible" or anything of the sort. I generally question beliefs, methods, arguments.

  19. For more information on the process and correct ways to use ionic foot baths, study them! They do work and are working when they change the color of the water. If you use distilled water without salts you will not get any current so no ionization occurs. These baths do in fact draw micro particales out of the body but only after the minerals in the water have been fixed (ionized). Colors will be dramatic and pH will change if it is working.

  20. aquachi: How "ionic" foot baths "work" is not rocket science. That they are quackery has been clearly demonstrated, and I can't believe you come here trying to sell the idea that they are not. It's hogwash, claptrap; nothing more.

  21. I've been commenting on some other sites about completely unscientific "treatments" for autism and been lambasted for not understanding what it's like to have an autistic child. I don't need an autistic child to know my science and neither do the other commenters on here! I just wish that people didn't have these false hopes, didn't spend their hard-earned (or hardwon welfare) cash on things that are destined to be fruitless. Kids who get better occasionally are responding to the caring and attention or relaxing effects of some applications- they are no less autistic in the long term. I am sooo angry that naturopaths and chiropractors in Australia advertise this foot detox business in their rooms and windows- quackery is too rampant for the laws of the land to ignore. It also makes some parents more resistant to conventional treatments which have some chance of working, like social skills training. I'm sure people who blindly administer quack treatments love their children, but they WANT their children to be like "normal" children, so they subject them to idiotic remedies in order to get the child THEY REALLY WANT! Now they'll all say they wouldn't have their autistic child any other way- I bet they would!

  22. Mayo Clinic in California uses Ionic Foot detoxing to remove Chemo from Cancer patient after the Chemo has been completed. Hmmm did you know that Mayo clinic must have proof this works to use it. It was used there for my Mother this is how I know.

  23. @Anon: Let's see a Mayo Clinic page confirming your claim.

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