I am a fan of practical jokes. I love a good prank. I also am among the most sceptical people you will ever meet. The reason I am so sceptical is that I have fallen victim to many a practical joke or prank through the years. So when I heard of the amazing and I will say alleged virtues of aluminum foil I must admit I was taken aback.

Aluminium foil as we know it has been a part of our lives since the early 1900s. It was in France that a chocolatier began wrapping his delicacies in foil as a way of protecting them. It also protected the fingers of those who were eating those chocolate goodies too.

Now aluminum foil is about as commonplace in the American home as paper towels are. We use aluminum foil to seal and save leftovers for the freezer. But those are just a few of the uses of aluminum foil around the house. Some people use it as a window treatment. You know, to block out the glaring sun by covering their windows. Still, others might be using aluminum foil to fine-tune their reception of HBO from their pirated cable channels.

But, did you know that there are health uses and benefits associated with using aluminum foil? Here is where we will drop in the disclaimer that suggests you speak to a qualified medical professional before you start any treatment plan involving your health.

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So, while you're doing that, you might want to mention this to your doctor and see what he or she has to say about it.

There are some medical professionals that suggest wrapping the feet with five to seven layers of aluminum foil an alleviate symptoms of a cold or the flu. The foil should remain in place for about an hour. You will then want to peel the foil off of your feet for two hours and then repeat the process.

There is another school of thought that suggests if you are having trouble sleeping that you take three or four small strips of aluminum foil and put them in your freezer. You should then remove those frozen strips and place them on your face on your cheeks and around your eyes for two to three hours. This will leave you feeling refreshed regardless of the amount of sleep that you're getting.

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There are also some healers who believe that if you suffer from painful joints, such as your knees or ankles. That you can eliminate pain by wrapping the aching joints in aluminum foil for several hours at a time. They say if you do this several days in a row the pain in your joints will disappear.

Now, this form of foil treatment is not without its critics in fact some websites warn of the dangers of wrapping the body, especially the feet in aluminum foil. They say the contact of the foil with the chemicals in the body can create aluminum salts which can be absorbed by the skin.

There are concerns that the aluminum salts actually interfere with how the nerves in your feet feel pain. So, you're not really stopping the discomfort, you're just hiding it from your brain. There are also concerns that aluminum salts could be connected to a greater risk of Alzheimer's Disease too.

So, what have learned?

Basically, that using the Internet for health advice is risky, at best. I think that's the biggest takeaway. I am sure there is some validity to both sides of this issue. However, I would tend to listen to the people who speak of long-term effects as opposed to those who speak only in glowing phrases of short-term relief. Oh, and don't forget to ask your doctor.

Now I guess if you were going to use some aluminum foil to make a Halloween costume, that would be okay, just don't wear it for more than one night.

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