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I received a pack of these for Christmas and have used them a couple times now. For those unfamiliar with detox foot pads, look here:

 

Detox Foot Pads Detox Foot Pads

 

Now, as a science-minded person, I'm immediately skeptical of the claims. It seems I'm not alone as a quick google search reveals:

 

kinoki foot pads

 

As stated, I've tried these twice now and both times, the pads come off looking black/dark. I've read some people claiming that this is the result of the wood vinegar in the pads discoloring (oxidation? chemical reaction with sweat?). This does not seem probable though as many people report that the pads gradually lighten in color as you continue using them until they come off white (at which point the treatment is supposedly complete).

 

So my question to the scientifically-minded folks of this fine forum is: Do they work?

More importantly, how do they work, if they do work?

 

The closest I could find to an explanation is that it works like reflexology (of which I'm already dubious).

 

Here's an ingredient list for the Kinoki foot pads:

 

  • Bamboo vinegar 1.6g
  • Tourmaline 0.2g
  • Detox herbs 1g
  • Emolient base 1.192g
  • Lavendar essential oil 0.008g

 

Some of the google links provide more info on what exactly constitutes "detox herbs".

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I have tried them as well.The Kinoki brand touts the pads as removing heavy metals from the body.The pads appear to be the same color every time and no lessening in color with subsequent applications. I imagine that unless you knew exactly how much metal was present in your body prior to the application, and were tested thereafter, would be the only way to conclude the results.

I did not show any signs of better health as a result, although many of these herbal remedies, have positive results. Whether that be from the actual healing from the herbs, or a placebo effect, testing the body would be the only verifiable way to prove their effectiveness

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As far as the discoloration goes, I thought of a simple experiment I plan to try. I read several accounts of people saying that it is the sweat in your feet that reacts with the chemicals in the pad to cause the discoloration. I plan to set up a control where a pad is left out overnight. For the experiment, another pad will be sprayed with a saline solution (mimicing sweat). This should at least confirm or deny those specific claims.

 

I do agree that testing body chemistry before and after would provide the most satisfying results, but it's beyond my "lab in a basement" capabilities. :)

It would be great to see a formal study, but I suspect that most in the medical community regard these pads with enough suspicion to not warrant such an investigation. :evil:

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originally posted by Freeztar

Out of curiosity, how long did you use them for and with what frequency?

I believe it was for 2 weeks. Instead of alternating each foot, I used pads on both feet every other night. I also had to wear socks;), because the tape would inevitably catch on the sheet and pull off. So the normal sweat rate would have increased somewhat.

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I saw this on Myth Busters a few years ago, it is total bullshit.

 

Aha, I love Mythbusters but rarely get the chance to watch it as I don't have cable. Unfortunately I missed this episode and will have to try to find an online version.

 

I had the same suspicions myself, but if my experiment shows that saline does not cause discoloration, then something else is going on. This does not mean that it actually detoxifies, but I would like to get to the bottom of what actually *does* happen.

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According to this experiment, it looks like there's no need to do mine.

 

SciencePunk Champneys Detox Pad - Dissection

 

Nice find. I had a good laugh at these in the "impulse buy" shelves while standing in line at the local Bed, Bath, and Beyond the other day. If someone has something that does what this nonsense claims, they should definitely be advertising the biological mechanism by which it is claimed to work if they want skeptically minded consumers to make a buy.

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Not familiar with SFS as far as feet go, what is it? Stinky Feet Syndrome???:evil:

If so, I suggest soaking feet in ice tea and drinking the Vodka

 

I can't believe you guessed that, SFS, stinky feet syndrome! yes soaking your feet in vodka safely kills the fungus that causes the extreme foot oder some people have!

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Interesting to note, the same bacterium found in stinky feet is also found in stinky cheese:eek_big: I always thought wine and cheese were a perfect mix, but apparently Vodka works as well. Is your source from the old water witching wives, sitting around , eating hoop cheese, swilling rye moonshine and soaking their toes while spinning tales?:evil:

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Interesting to note, the same bacterium found in stinky feet is also found in stinky cheese:eek_big: I always thought wine and cheese were a perfect mix, but apparently Vodka works as well. Is your source from the old water witching wives, sitting around , eating hoop cheese, swilling rye moonshine and soaking their toes while spinning tales?:)

 

Nah, I saw it on myth busters, where I was from no one wore shoes enough for their feet to stink :evil:

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Feet only stink when kept in shoes or socks where the material holds the sweat and bacteria get to munchin. Seems sweat is now found to contain an anti-bacterial compound. :)

 

Antibiotic chemicals found in sweat - 05 November 2001 - New Scientist

The skin is known to release antimicrobial chemicals when wounded. Now Birgit Schittek and her team at the University of Tübingen in Germany have discovered that even intact skin exudes a small antibiotic protein called dermcidin in sweat. "This is the first antimicrobial compound in sweat ever to be described," Schittek says. ...

 

Other stuff in human sweat: :evil: Perspiration - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sweat also contains the chemicals or odorants 2-methylphenol (o-cresol) and 4-methylphenol (p-cresol), as well as a small amount of urea,and is only on mammals. ...

 

The best foot therapy is a nice foot rub.:)

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