Be sure your sins will find you out, my mother always told me. But I never expected to find them swirling, horribly and embarrassingly, around my ankles. That is what happened, though, when I tried an Aqua Detox. This is the sloth's way to detoxification: no starvation diet, no exhausting exercise programme, no guzzling gallons of water. Simply sit in a comfortable chair, stick your feet in a special footbath, which contains ordinary organic sea salt, and relax for half an hour while the toxins -- probably, in my case due to an over-indulgence in left-over Easter eggs - drain from your body through the 4,000-odd pores in your feet.

   Aqua Detox's magic secret is an "array" -- a central unit that is placed in the footbath and produces bubbles. A flow of elections creates a bio-energetic field that, it is claimed, corresponds to the user's own body. A "bio-energetic resonance" then travels through your system, and is said to boost the microcirculation and correct imbalance and dysfunction. The supply of oxygen and nutrients are regulated, and toxins are released.

That's all very well, but, be warned, the downside to the detox is horrendous. Almost as soon as the machine is switched on, the water begins to take on the appearance of weak tea and then it transforms into the most revolting brown and green, scum topped swamp you have ever seen.

"Oooh," I murmur, as my feet and legs begin to tingle, not unpleasantly.

"Uggh" I gasp, as the first

A detox to make your toes curl

Greer Harris finds the world at her feet after a treatment to clean out her system

brownish stains appear.

"Oh no, yuck, help, come quick"' I scream to therapist Heidi Winskell, who has left the room, as the water grows murkier and muckier.

"That's nothing," she says, when she returns. "I've seen much worse than that." I feel quite reassured, until she points out cheerily that the water is now turning green. I turn a similar colour.

At the end of treatment, the water has a metallic smell, evidence of the harmful

substances in my body.

Although I have a relatively healthy, mainly vegetarian diet, I do have a sedentary job and spend hours each week commuting, often stuck in traffic and surrounded by exhaust fumes. Heidi explains that my lymph system probably suffers as a result and the gunge extracted by the Aqua Detox is as much due to these factors as to my occasional guilty consumption of chocolate and cakes.

Heidi, a homoeopath and

reflexologist who practises in East Sussex, has been using the system for three months. It is proving hugely popular with clients and showing some diverse results. She finds it improves her own energy levels so much that she is "bouncing round all over the place". But it has helped her clients with joint pain, viruses such as flu, stress and headaches. As it helps to detoxify the liver, it can be a boon to drinkers and works well on hangovers.

The therapy is based on research by Dr Royal Rife in the Thirties. Dr Mary Staggs, a naturopath, developed the Aqua Detox and is conducting further research with Dr Franciso Javier Manubens, based in Barcelona, who is studying the benefits of using the unit on dialysis patients.

The makers claim that many people have had positive results in relation to illnesses. The unit doesn't remove medication or excrete vitamins or nutrients from the body. The array can be used in the bath -- with care -- to treat children and babies. Six to eight treatments are recommended initially.

I arrived for my treatment feeling fairly hassled. Halfway through it, despite my horror at what was emerging from my feet, I began to feel good-humoured, positive and calm. The glow of wellbeing lasted all day and I woke the next morning feeling equally sunny, relaxed and benign. Two days later, I cycled 12 miles with hardly a groan.

Bilious green water, brown sludge, horrendous embarrassment -- that won't put me off. I'm going back for more.

Heidi Winskell prepares Greer Harris for a shot of bio-energy

Picture: ROGER TAYLOR

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Below is an extract from an article in the Daily Telegraph on 6th June 2003