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Do They Work?

In the morning, you'll peel off a detox foot patch only to be greeted with a frighteningly dark sludge on the pad's surface–purportedly proof positive that "toxins" have been leeched from your system. Devicewatch.org, a site maintained by the National Council Against Health Fraud, considers detox foot patches consumer scams, citing the most popular brand, Kinoki, which was whisked off the shelves after the FTC filed suit against the marketer for making false claims. Stephen M. Barrett, M.D., states, "All such products should be regarded as fakes, and the proposed mechanisms should be regarded as nonsensical."

What Science Says

Detox foot patches are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and therefore, cannot make claims to treat or cure your medical condition. Barrett points out that marketers of detox foot patches have no clinical studies to prove that their products work. This leaves it up to the media to expose detox food pads; an April 2008 segment of ABC's 20/20 looked into two detox foot pad brands, Kinoki and Avon. The foot patches did indeed turn dark after use, but dropping water on the pad had the same effect. Furthermore, a laboratory analysis of foot patches used by volunteers revealed that no heavy metals, poisons or solvents were secreted into the used pads. The sole benefit of detox foot patches appears to be the placebo effect experienced by consumers who believe they work.

How You "Detox"

Sense About Science, a charitable trust based in the United Kingdom, makes it a mission to inform consumers of fraudulent health claims. Detox products are huge moneymakers–even though the word "detox" has no practical application outside of a clinical setting. In its attempt to create a "detox dossier," Sense About Science discovered that marketers of detox foot patches were "unable to provide reliable evidence or consistent explanations of what the ‘detox’ process is supposed to be." Your body is continually purifying itself without the need for foot patches or any other detox products. As Sense About Science explains, your intestines prevent harmful bacteria and other toxins from getting into your body, and those that do find a way in are processed by your liver and kidneys and exit your body through your urine.

Other Scams to Avoid

A close cousin to detox foot patches are detox footbaths (ionic footbaths), which also purport to remove "toxins" from the body through the soles of the feet. However, the word "detox" attached to any consumer product should send up a red flag. Sense About Science points to "detox" supplements, socks, body wraps, herbal extracts and infusions and special diets, all of which promote a specific product, service or ritual. All of these are a waste of your time and money, and according to Sense About Science, "sow confusion about how our bodies, nutrition and chemistry actually work."

kinoki detox foot patch review

Various adhesive pads and patches are claimed to detoxify the body when applied to the feet. The best known is the Kinoki Detox Foot Pad, which is claimed to remove toxins, restore "balance" within the body, and boost energy. Various other products are claimed to strengthen the immune system, reduce stress, improve circulation, improve sleep, enhance mental focus, relieve headaches and arthritis pain. The alleged explanation for their working include reflexology, unblocking of lymphatic passages, and negative ions that release far infrared rays. All such products should be regarded as fakes, and the proposed mechanisms should be regarded as nonsensical.Users are instructed to apply the products to the soles of the feet and leave them on overnight. In the morning, they claim, the pads will absorb toxins and turn muddy brown or black."Detox" product marketers have done no studies that identify what they claim to remove, measure its level in the body, and see whether such substances accumulate in the pads and have their level reduced in the body. It is unlikely they will ever try, because the basic idea that toxins will be excreted through the skin clashes with what is known about human anatomy and physiology.

 

Real detoxification of foreign substances takes place in the liver, which modifies their chemical structure so they can be excreted by the kidneys which filter them from the blood into the urine. Sweat glands in the feet can excrete water and some dissolved substances. However, its minor role in ridding the body of unwanted substances is not changed by applying foot pads.In April 2008. ABC's "20/20" investigated Kinoki ad Avon pads and reported:When used overnight, the pads darkened, but dropping distilled water on the pads produced the same dark color. Laboratory analysis of pads used by eight volunteers showed no significant evidence of heavy metals or commonly used solvents. When asked for tests that would show that their products really work the companies offered no valid scientific studies.A few months later, a radio reporter in California conducted a similar investigation. First she had her husband wear pads overnight and then too them to a laboratory for testing. The lab found that the heavy metal content of the used pads were the same as that of an unused pad, which meant that the pads don't "suck out any toxins."

Then she held an unused pad over a pot of boiling water. The steam caused the pad to turn black, indicating that the dark color that results from wearing a Kinoki pad is caused by a chemical in the pad that reacts to moisture .The Better Business Bureau has given the Kinoki Detox Foot Pads Company an "unsatisfactory" rating .Detox foot baths should also be regarded as fakes .In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission charged Yehuda (“Juda”) Levin, Baruch Levin, and their company (Xacta 3000 Inc.) with deceptive advertising. According to the complaint, the defendants claimed that applying Kinoki Foot Pads to the soles of the feet at night would remove heavy metals, metabolic wastes, toxins, parasites, chemicals, and cellulite from their bodies. The ads also claimed that use of the foot pads could treat depression, fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system [5]. The case was settled with a stipulated agreement under which Yehuda Levin and the company were barred from promoting or selling any dietary supplement, food, drug, or medical device, and from helping others do the same. The defendants agreed to a judgment of $14.5 million, which represented the total revenues from the sale of the pads. However, based on their inability to pay, the entire judgment was suspended but will become due if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.


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