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What Do foot detox pads do?

What’s the point of a foot detox?

The Detox Foot Pad Scam

Stephen Barrett, M.D.


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 .


Key points

  1. Foot detoxes are said to work by pulling the toxins in your body out through your feet.
  2. Whether the detox works has nothing to do with the color of the water.
  3. There’s some evidence to suggest that the practice isn’t effective.

Foot detoxes are becoming more and more popular as a way to rid the body of any harmful toxins. Potential toxins can range from impurities in the air, to chemicals in your home and beauty products. Because of their surge in popularity, ionic foot detoxes are now being offered at some health and wellness spas, at alternative health offices, and even for at-home use. If you’re curious about what a foot detox is and if it can help you, here’s what you need to know.

How is an ionic foot detox supposed to work?

An ionic foot detox is said to work by pulling the toxins out of your body through your feet. Take, for example, the popular foot detox bath IonCleanse. Advertised as a safe and relaxing way to clear out the body, the ionizing machine works to ionize the foot bath water.

This process is said to give the hydrogen in the water a positive charge. The positive charge is said to attract the negatively charged toxins in your body. The ions in the foot bath water supposedly hold a charge that enables them bind to any heavy metals and toxins in your body, similar to how a magnet works. This allows the toxins to be pulled out through the bottoms of your feet.

Foot Detox

What is actually causing the water to change color?

Some foot detox advocates claim that if the water in the foot bath changes color, it means the detox is working. This is not true. Whether the detox works has nothing to do with the color of the water. The water color can change for a number of mundane reasons, namely the presence of impurities in the water. This often happens when using tap water.

The water changing color may even be due to the foot bath itself. Although foot bath manufacturers say the ionizing charge will remove metals and toxins from the body of the person using it, they don’t explain how the charge skips over the metals that are actually in the foot bath.

The electricity in the product may cause some of the metal from the foot bath to be corroded by use. This could account for some of the discoloration in the water. Most foot detoxes also use special salts in the water, which can interact and cause the water to change color.

What the research says

Although research on foot detoxes is limited, there is some evidence to suggest that the practice isn’t effective.

Researchers in a 2012 study took an in-depth look at the IonCleanse foot bath and found that the foot detox did nothing to reduce toxin levels in the body. They also concluded that the foot bath didn’t stimulate the body to remove toxins by itself, such as through the kidneys or liver.

It’s worth noting that most evidence in support of this practice is anecdotal.

Who should consider a foot detox?

Most everyone, except for those with open sores or an infection on their feet, can benefit from the relaxation that a warm foot soak can provide. That said, it isn’t necessary to purchase an expensive foot detox product.

Instead, use Epsom salts, with or without a foot detox product, in a foot bath, to refresh and clean the feet.

body relief detox foot pads

What does ionic cleansing working?

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