Reporter Sarah Varney and her husband bought some "detoxifying" Kinoki foot pads and wore them to bed. In the morning, they both awoke find the pads covered in the brown mess that the advertisement had promised. But when they took the foot pads to a lab and had them analyzed and compared with unused pads, the used pads were almost identical to the blank.
Further experimentation showed that the "gunk" in the pads shows up if you hold the pad over a pot of boiling water. Who knew steam had "metabolic waste"?
The Consumerist August 19, 2008
ABC News April 11, 2008
MSNBC June 19, 2008
I have received quite a number of emails from readers lately asking questions about these types of detoxifying foot pads; seems a lot of people desperately want to believe they work as advertised.
The Kinoki foot pads -- as well as other brands -- promise to draw out everything from heavy metals to metabolic wastes, toxins, parasites, cellulite and more, to restore your vitality and health.
I always questioned the value of this tool for detoxification, and, despite the lack of scientific research, the independent investigative reports above seem to agree: The likelihood that detoxifying foot pads work is slim to none.
However, certain foot pads may still offer some value – just not necessarily what they're advertising. And, you're not likely to get it from most brands.
Toxicology Lab Found No Toxins in Used Foot Pads
Like reporter Sarah Varney, 20/20's correspondent John Stossel also took used pads in for toxicology testing. And, like hers, Stossel's results came back negative.
20/20 asked NMS Labs, a national laboratory in Willow Grove, Pa., to analyze used Kinoki and Avon pads from eight volunteers. They tested for heavy metals, including arsenic and mercury, and 23 solvents such as benzene, tolulene and styrene.
None of these common toxins were found in the used pads.
So what's that brown, foul-smelling gunk?
It's just a natural reaction between the ingredients and the moisture from the bottom of your foot.
Exposing the pads to moisture, either by placing them over a steaming pot of water, or putting a few drops of water on them will make the ingredients turn a darker color and emit an unpleasant odor.
Dr. Devra Davis, director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert on toxins, also conducted a similar experiment on her own, leaving the pads out overnight without their protective packaging. In an article for MSNBC she stated the pads contain "little more than green tea and vinegar," and that the color and odor are likely the result of these ingredients "interacting with oxygen, heat or moisture."
20/20 asked Avon and Kinoki for scientific test results showing the pads do what they claim to do, but neither company fulfilled the request.
Detoxing… For Real
Your environment does indeed have a profound impact on your health. Everything from the quality of the air you breathe to what you put into, and onto, your body makes a difference. Mercury alone can mimic or cause any illness currently known, or at least contribute to it. Detoxing and cleansing your body of toxins periodically can definitely help.
But what is the best way to rid your system of toxins?
When Should You NOT Detox?
Do not start a detox regimen when you are sick.
You need to start your healthy lifestyle FIRST, before you start detoxing, so you have a reserve that your body can draw on to allow your liver to do its job properly.
If you fail to do this you can easily overwhelm your liver's ability to process these toxic substances that are being eliminated and you will become VERY sick, wishing you had never done the detox in the first place. I have seen this many times, so please use some caution.