Thursday, April 26, 2012

The toxins in my feet?

A new gym opened up down the street from my house.  It's AWESOME!  It has tons of cardio equipment, including those really cool treadmills that go both uphill and downhill!  It has a whole section devoted to TRX, and it has towel service (you have no idea how much I LOVE towel service at a gym!). It also has a nice, open swimming pool. The swimming pool area includes a hot tub, a steam room, and a sauna. My adventure took place in the sauna.

I don't know how familiar any of you are with this toxin-in-your-feet theory, and I couldn't really find a site to direct you to to explain this theory. (Although I did find this link discussing how it's basically a bunch of hooey.) As best as I can reconstruct it, the theory is basically that, because your feet are the lowest point in you body, all of the toxins pool there. Therefore, you want to detox from your feet.

So, the other day, at the gym, I was sitting in the sauna, minding my own business, reading my magazine, when the woman sitting next to me (wearing a bathing suit and a beanie) started to ask me what my goals were of sitting in the sauna.  I told her I was trying to lose weight (we're not going to get into the water weight debate here...I really like how much I sweat in the sauna, even if it is just water weight). She told me I should take off my shoes and get a pair of flip-flops for the sauna.

She kindly pointed out that I was doing this sauna thing all wrong.  Because I was sweating into my sneakers, all of the toxins that I sweat out today, I would reabsorb the next time I put on my shoes.  Moreover, what I needed to be doing was split my sauna experience: I should take a warm shower in the middle of my sauna time and then come back into the sauna, and then I would sweat even more.  The shower serves two purposes: it washes off all of the toxins that I already sweated out, and it opens my pores.

So let's discuss some of the problems with this theory.  I am aware that your body does absorb stuff through your skin.  Right, wasn't that the problem with PABA in sunscreen, and the basis of the argument that the aluminum in antiperspirants increases the chance of breast cancer? Nonetheless, I'm not sure I should be concerned with reabsorbing toxins through my feet that have settled into my shoes because...

Aren't we really just concerned with the fat-soluble toxins here? I mean, aren't toxins either fat-soluble or water-soluble? This is why you don't worry about overdosing on vitamin is possible, but you have to consume A LOT of it because it's water-soluble and you pee it out (I'm not actually suggesting that vitamin C is a toxin, but you could argue that anything in excess is a toxin, but really, it was just an example).

I'm not concerned at all with the water-soluble toxins because I drink a crazy amount of water.  But the fat-soluble me crazy here, but they're probably all sitting in the fat in my midsection...not in my feet. Even if you subscribe to the "gravity is pulling the toxins down" notion, my feet, quite simply, aren't fat.  I'm not sure where the toxins could be hanging out.

So how did my bizarre conversation with the beanie-clad woman conclude? I decided to take the high road and let her prattle on. I've never met a crazy person, who, when you poke holes in their theory, say, ah, yes, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I didn't feel like getting into a debate. In fact, I didn't feel like getting into a conversation (remember, I had a magazine). So I politely let her speak and nodded and smiled as if she was making complete sense and wasn't a total lunatic.

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