Feet first into a detox...


Sheffield Telegraph, Friday 22 August 2003

Aqua Detox is a new form of therapy which encourages the body to eliminate toxins through the feet. Carolyn Waudby gave it a go with Sheffield therapist Heather Hull, pictured right.
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WHEN therapist Heather Hull first tried Aqua Detox she says the results were so dramatic it looked as if she was "standing in beef stew". The unsightly brown sludge was toxins, eliminated by her body through her feet into a water-filled footbath.

Heather has had health problems in the past (ME, which led to her losing her job as an A-level teacher) and admits her system doesn't work as efficiently as it could. But she says clients using the detox have also ended up with discoloured water, indicating the fact that it works.

After a standard 30-minute session I witnessed the effects for myself. As soon as the detox machine was set, tiny bubbles could be seen escaping from a cylindrical device in the middle of the bath called an 'array' and within minutes the water had begun to turn rust-brown.

By the end of the half hour my feet looked as if they were immersed in curry paste. The sludge was so thick it left me with a ring around my ankles. It was alarming to think that had all come from inside...

For the detox the feet are placed in a foot­bath filled with warm tap water to which a mild saline solution is added. Through this a mild electric current (between 1.7 and 1.9 amps) passes from the array. To use the technical terms, a bio-energetic resonance travels through the body, boosting the micro-circulation and correcting imbal­ances. The supply of oxygen and nutrients are regulated and toxins are released through the pores in the feet. The aim is to restore the function of the liver, kidneys, bowels, lungs, skin and lymphatic system.

This detox method was devised by Dr Mary Staggs, an English doctor and naturopath working in Spain, who extended research conducted by a doctor in the 1930s. Dr Staggs is now investigating the benefits of using it on kidney dialysis patients, whose bodies are not eliminating waste in the way they should, and is writing a book giving an analysis of the different colours of toxin-filled water.

"The benefit of Aqua Detox is that it's a very gentle detox. I've got clients with ME that have tried other methods, even colonic irrigation, but they're too severe: their organs can't withstand it," says Heather.

She bought the Aqua Detox equipment for her husband Mike, 41, who has Crohn's Disease. "He doesn't want to spend the rest of his life on medication. It might not cure the Crohn's but if it at least gives the bowel a rest it might normalise it a bit," she says.

They both sit and use it while watching the telly. Heather says the water has become clearer the more she has used it but says it did go "very dark" after a weekend when she'd drunk more than she usually would. "I thought that was interesting," she says.

"My energy levels have definitely gone up since I started using it, quite dramatically. There's been a definite surge."

A qualified therapist in Reiki, reflexology and flower remedies, Heather now uses the Aqua Detox in conjunction with other treat­ments. She cites the case of one client who was suffering from very severe daytime sweating due to the strong medication she was on and found it stopped after Aqua Detox and reflexology.

"I've found combinations of therapies are very valuable but the same combinations may not work for other people. It's about treating the person, not the ailment."

Heather became a therapist through her own extreme illness. It started with flu from which she didn't recover, then she contracted viral meningitis. The chronic condition ME kicked in at the age of 34 and, as if that wasn't enough, she went on to contract double pneumonia. "I really thought I was on the way out," she says.

A former teaching colleague in Bristol who had trained in Reiki happened to phone as she was getting over the pneumonia. "My chest sounded shocking," says Heather.

"Instead of being sympathetic she said 'for God's sake. Heather, when are you going to do something to get yourself better?' That gave me the kick up the backside."

The friend invited Heather to Bristol for a Reiki session. "I got tremendous relaxation from it. I could tell it wasn't just working at the physical level. I just felt compelled to learn it."

Heather first trained in Reiki to heal herself, took it to the next level and started practising on family and friends. "I wanted to share it. I thought, why keep it to myself?"

She then started up a practice at home in a "very low-key way" but went on to train in reflexology - and flower remedies, which treat the emotions.

"I noticed many of my clients needed balance in the emotional side of their lives and from the year dot there has always been someone in a village that has had knowledge of plants and their properties.

"It's the fact it's not chemical I like - it's completely natural but it's very powerful. I've had people ring and say, wow, what did you put in that remedy? It's the power of the flower."

Heather is now also qualified in Reiki at Master level, training others and has clients travelling to her from Switzerland, Kuwait and Egypt as well as the UK.

"It's like a natural extension of what I was doing before becoming a therapist," she says.

•Footnote: Heather Hull can be contacted on 289 1342 or by logging on to heather@houseofhull.demon.co.uk

Copyright Carolyn Waudby Sheffield Telegraph