The complexity of mineral content in tap water iontophoresis


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After my iontophoresis was successful I wondered about messages from others, using similar iontophoresis devices, that somehow their iontophoresis was being ineffective or that they would experience pain at very low amperage, especially after having added baking soda to "increase conductivity"

Since my own tap water had worked fine, I decided to try to look at the mineral content in my tap water as opposed to the tap water used by some of the people I had been in contact with, especially 2 people who declared they had been using iontophoresis with success, untill they moved to other areas where somehow the "hardness" of the water had decreased. A confusing part of "hardness" in water is that generally speaking hardness is defined by the contents of Magnesium and Calcium, which I don´t think have any direct bearing on iontophoresis. It´s the "carbonate hardness" of the water which is interesting, as you will see some indications of below. Apparently often Magnesium and Calcium anions are accompanied by HCO3- as the cation but is it necessarily always so? No there are other cations like chlorides and sulphates which could be present in the water instead of HCO3- or adding to the general conductivity, but most likely not being relevant for the iontophoresis whatsover.

I deducted from the fact that all working anti-perspirants contains aluminium chloride, that metal ions must be the working ingredient in the anti perspirants, but I couldn´t find any explanation why, and then at the same time I noticed that the manufacturer of my Idromed 4, from one day to the other apparently had decided to change their electrodes from stainless steel (which seems to be used by most makers of iontophoresis devices) to much larger aluminium electrodes. Since the manual doesn´t suggest any detailed explanation as to why iontophoresis works, I asked a direct question about that to the manufacturer, and also queried as to why they had chosen to change from one metal (stainless steel) to aluminium. To that particular question they replied that using (larger) aluminium plates as electrodes was giving an enhanced therapy, because of a "greater density of ions" , but at the same time they denied that the metal itself was having any direct action with the skin. This answer didn´t make any sense to me, so I came to the decision, that either the factory doesn´t know why iontophoresis works, or maybe they don´t want me to know. They also added that another reason for changing to aluminium was the fact that stainless steel contains traces of nickel, at that nickel has been shown to provoke allergy in some people.

It seemed evident to me from day 11 after my purchase, that clearly the plus pole of the stainless steel electrodes I got with my device (I didn´t change polarity during therapy, due to using simultaneous hands/feet treatment with plus pole focused at my feet) was degrading (corroding) and red spots of rust were spreading on it, indicating that metal was being removed from it. (I have later acquired aluminium electrodes for my Idromed 4, and it´s evident that the aluminum is also corroding.) Since it didn´t precipitate in the bottom of the trays, then naturally the metal had to be dissolving in the water. Because of the current, electrons from the metal must be made available for a cation in the water. Since it had been established that adding baking soda to tap water would increase the efficiency of the iontophoresis, it was natural to accept for me that the cation part of baking soda = HCO3- must be the vehicle which the metal ions Fe3+ or Al3+ needs to add itself to the human skin. Apparently by associating itself to a carboniferous molecule the metal works as a competitive inhibitor at the nerve synapses in some nerve cell receptors within or in conjuction with the sweat glands in the upper skin layer. Somewhere I read that metals in general don´t interact with the human metabolism unless attached to carboniferous molecules such as in "carbonised selenium" which is used in vitamin pills. If the selenium isn´t carbonised it will pass straight through us without being absorbed in the intestines, and it struck me that maybe Fe3+ or Al3+ also needs to be carbonised in order to be incorporated in the sweat glands.

Looking at water analysis schemes from the areas of some of the people who complained about tap water no longer working, I found that HCO3- content was very low (below 100 mg/l) compared to mine = 358 mg/l, so for me there was no doubt about the HCO3- content of the tap water being central to iontophoresis. A person had been trying out a bottled mineral water from the US, but since it had no effect, he discarded the idea of using mineral water instead of tap water, but doing so without checking the actual mineral content. I looked up the declaration on the mineral water producer´s web page and sure enough, that particular mineral water had less than 100 mg/l of HCO3-. This seemed to be the rule with most other mineral waters I checked.

I discovered by accident that HCO3- content of the tap water can very likely be fluctuating, because of lowering ground level of ground water around the globe, and particularly in well populated areas, where water works will be adding surface water from remote lakes to the tap water, making up for the diminishing availability of ground water on a global scale. Studying tap water analysis schemes from Copenhagen over some years, HCO3- content was clearly diminishing gradually, at the same frequency as the water works had been blending in more surface water. In many areas of the world tap water may consist of surface water only, or be deriving from hard rock layers which doesn´t release minerals to be absorbed in the water.

So deducting from the above, baking soda needs to be added to inefficient tap water, but why does that increase pain levels to be intolerable even at low amperage? After pondering about the very different messages you find here and there about how different people´s skin will react differently to iontophoresis I decided that this information is probably useless. Human skin will be human skin, and react similarly to iontophoresis in most cases in my opinion, although the thickness of the outer skin layer naturally will be influencing pain levels tolerated. So there must be other variables in the water adding to the complexity. A consultant from my local water company pointed out to me, that sulphates and chlorides also add considerably to the general "conductivity" of the tap water, so I thought well if there´s already a very high level of chlorides and sulphates in the water, making it highly conductive, well then adding baking soda might just be making the water excessively conductive for iontophoresis i.e. raising the conductivity beyond pain levels tolerated for the particular amperage without raising the "ionic density" of the metal conveyed to the skin by HCO3- to a sufficiently effective level.

So in order to make the ionic density effective in tap water (or any water) you must keep a high level of HCO3-, but also try to exclude other anions like sulphate and chloride from the water, in order not to raise conductivity excessively. Especially in densely populated areas water works tend to mix in chloride to control biological content from surface water. In my opinion the ideal way to use iontophoresis will be to mix your own water to the exact level of HCO3- by using baking soda and de-mineralised water, or destilled water, but recently I also discovered from a mail conversation with a scottish dermatologist, that mineral waters with very high HCO3- content and quite low sulphate and chloride content had shown to be superior to local tap water in efficiency in iontophoresis.

An example of such a mineral water is the bottled french Badoit mineral water, which contains no less than 1.300 mg/l of bicarbonate (HCO3-) and only 40 mg/l of sulphate and 40 mg/l of chloride. Using bottled water is expensive in the long run, but if anybody is experiencing pain in iontophoresis, or if you´re suspecting that your local tap water doesn´t have the right mineral content, then buying some bottles of Badoit, and using it for a series of iontophoresis treatments might just clear up the question for you, whether you should begin mixing your own.


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Thanks Sweaty. With the very frequent "complaints" of inefficient iontophoresis in this and other forums, I have been surprised that your comment is the first and only to my ionto- water post since I posted it more than a year ago. You´d think that all of those people who invested in a ionto- device, and "no longer can make it work" would be interested in making it work wouldn´t you! I for one have come to believe that maybe some of these "inefficiency" reports are planted misinformation as well as the just as frequent reports on wonder drugs that solve all your problems over night "at only fractional cost" :lol: For me it´s evident that the drug industry have great interest in misc. forums, if they´re not in fact hosting them. :wink:


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I found baking soda to be ineffective when I added it to the trays. I used table salt instead and it has worked much better.


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Thanks. If we knew what other minerals are in your tap water, and which ionto-device you´re using (basically which metal alloy your electrodes are made of), your post might be more useful. Can you please call your water works and get a declaration of which mineral contents?

Could be that your water already has plenty HCO3-, but some other ions in your water might be preventing it from connecting with the metal from your electrodes whatever they´re made of. Adding natrium chloride to your water possibly facilitates the availability of HCO3- in some way. Maybe the unknown positive ions in your water and the chloride you´re adding has greater affinity for eachother than ?+ and HCO3- thus making more HCO3- ions available for ionto- (just guessing)


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oh god I wouldn't do this I hear the side effects can do this and that which isn't a great idea blah blah

I would look at pinkers posts he has all the right solutions for HH which are the only ones that will work and that u should use blah blah

Although I have been able to reach euhidrosis with my tap water, it takes me enduring 20+ mA with my fischer md-a. If somehow I can make it work as efficient at a lower amperage, that would be ideal.

I plan on calling my water company monday to see what the mineral content of my water is and will post.

Thanks again for the great info.


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For whatever its worth, I remember reading that someone had success changing the water temperature (very hot or very cold) and someone else by adding tea leaves.
That's true. I've noticed that warm water (around 50'C) works better than normal temperature. I've got reasonable control with iontophoresis. Hands are almost dry - except when i'm in an overtly stressful condition.


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I know you probably answered this before, but I can find where it is in the thread. How often to you go in for your Iontophoresis treatment?

Daily? Every other Day?

I've heard going through the treatments for a while will thicken the soaked skin. Is this true and if so do you get less irritation with Ionto over time?

Thanks for all your advice. You're knowledge is very much appreciated on this forum.
Tap water problems across Geo's - Idrostar


Your post interests me VERY much. I cannot applaud you enough for researching the effect that tap water has on iontopherosis and sharing this with the community. I would very much like your help.

I have medium/severe palmar and plantar HH and about two years ago stumbled upon the Drionic. I bought one and modified it to include trays and for the first time experienced what it was like to not sweat.... After that I purchased an Idrostar and used it with success - however due to either my treatment schedule or other reasons, my hands were only dry about 50% or so of the time, but in general the machine worked, especially if I followed the treatment. AT the time I was living in San Jose, CA in the US. Last August I moved to NYC, and have noticed a severe drop off in the effectivity of the Idrostar unit (have since sold the Drionic on Ebay). Even during periods of conscientious treatment, I rarely go without sweating, esp under stressful conditions - my HH feels more or less the same as if untreated.

I really want to get to the bottom of this, as the sweating rules many aspects of my life. I believe that the water is almost certainly playing a part in the change in effectiveness since moving to NYC. I have not yet contacted my local water facility, but I'd like to try treatment with what you have seen as the best starting baseline. I live in the US, so I don't think I can get the French water you spoke about, but cost is not an issue, and I can buy any other brand of water that may be available. Have you tested with any other types of water? btw, I have also expirimented with using baking soda in one tray and switching the trays around, but that does not appear to have helped.

Again, I really appreciate your willingness to help the community and I hope to hear back from you at your convenience. Thanks Hyper-Hydro!! Feel free to email me separately if that is convenient for you.



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Hmm, I've tried ionto a dozen times, never have gotten it to be the least bit effective. I've tried various mineral waters, water directly collected from the ocean, water saturated with baking soda, water saturated with salt, aluminum pans, stainless steel pans, pie pans, plastic tubs with the electrodes dipped inside, warm water, cold water, drysol added into water... but all of this to no avail. Is there anyone who has tried a bottled water (I live in Canada, so something accesible in North America) that has worked, and with what kind of pans/tubs.
I'm at the point where I feel like I need to deduce the exact science behind it all, and Hyper-Hydro had some really interesting points, very detailed, although further research is required and I'll also take a stab at it to see how far we can progress as a community in terms of perhaps provide a universal cure for palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis sufferers.
So, to reiterate, anyone have success with bottled water?



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Bottled water has never worked for me.

skillzx3, I'm sorry nothing has worked for you. It's funny, well not funny but recently I collected a fresh batch of rain water that in the past caused miracles on my hands and feet. I mean it really dried them out. This time around... not so much the case. I think getting to the root of how ionto works is going to be nearly impossible. There seems to be far to many unknown variables.