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Detox Foot Pads Don't work

Updated on August 14, 2009

If you watch infomercials, then chances are you have seen the commercial which talk about detox foot pads.  The claim is that if you apply a patch to your foot, then it will draw out the toxins, including the heavy metals from your body.  The proof that it works is the messy looking junk on the pad after you wear it a couple hours.  But does it work?  Are detox foot patches all that they claim to be?  And if they aren't, where is the dirt coming from?  In this hub, I am going to investigate why detox foot pads may not be all that what it claims.  And I am going to use biology 101 to try to make my point.

Claims Behind Detox Foot Patches

The idea of detoxifying via the feet has been around for years....possibly decades. It gets its origin from reflexology and the foot pads are made to appeal to the mysteries of ancient oriental and eastern medicine. The ingrediants for most of these pads all enhance the mystique with bamboo and wood vinegar and an ingredient called Tourmaline, which is a precious metal that does absolutely nothing from a scientific view.

So what happens when you combine the two vinegars and the Tourmaline stone?  Does it become a magnet for toxins?  Here is how they claim the foot pad will work....

  • The Tourmaline stone supposedly releases negative ions.
  • The Wood Vinegar is supposed to draw the toxins out of the body and onto the detox foot patch.
  • The Bamboo Vinegar is also supposed to aid the wood vinegar in pulling the toxins out of your body.

According to theads, simply applying the foot patches will release all sorts of toxins from your body and it will draw these out onto the foot pads. And according to the makers of these patches, the proof is in the pudding. After all, once you pull the pad off, you will see all sorts of dark muck that was absorbed from your skin, right?

So, you take a gullible American and make them believe that without one of these foot patches, you won't be able to properly detox and combine it with the mysteriousness of eastern medicine and you have a product that many will buy and believe in.

The reality is that there is not one reputable doctor OR biologist that will agree with the claims that these detox patches make.  In fact, biology can't support it all.....

Detox foot pads and patches don't work and science can verify that.
Detox foot pads and patches don't work and science can verify that.

What Science Says about Detox Foot Pads

So, can you release toxins from your feet?  And if so, why couldn't you just place a detox patch anywhere on your body?  What is so special about the feet?  Well, according to eastern medicine and reflexology, the foot is the portal to all the organs in the body.  The thinking behind this is that if you have toxins in say your liver, then if you believe in reflexology, it is normal to think that you could manipulate or improve liver function simply by using methods on your foot.  Using this a backdrop, it is only a step away to rationalizing that if that is the case, the toxins could come out of your body in your feet.

But is it possible for toxins to exit through the skin cells?  The reality is that we do emit certain things from our skin (if it didn't, our sweat wouldn't be salty)  But understand our skin isn't porous enough to emit toxic substances such as heavy metals.  The reality is our systems are designed to handle toxins and to filter them from the blood and expel them via urine.

What about the color on the Detox Foot Patch?

So saying all of this, you may be wondering why a foot pad left on overnight would show any color at all.  Remember, the stuff you are seeing on the foot patch are supposed to be harmful toxins, right?

Well, there may be an explanation to this that has nothing at all to do with releasing toxins.  One of the ingredients..the wood vinegar is actually brown in its liquid state.  But on the detox foot patch, it is dried and ground up.  When you place the foot pad on your foot and leave it on overnight, your feet should sweat a little.  What this will do is liquify the wood vinegar and return it to its dull brown state...which in turn will give the pad its ugly brown color that would make people think that they are indeed detoxing....

So now you now....

Other Detox options

Now that we have debunked the myth (hopefully) about the detox foot pads, what are your other options? The good news is that there are plenty but they involve more work than simply slapping a patch on your foot.  There are plenty of detox solutions that include 3 day juice fasts, or a master cleanser among other things.  Most of these other ways are effective because you are basically giving your body a break and since you aren't eating (which digestion uses up a lot of resources), you body can focus cleaning your system out.


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    • profile image

      L obrien 3 years ago

      I slept and felt so much better after using the pads. Agree with Zofia.

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      who cares 6 years ago

      your all idiots, the pads contain dried vinegar, just open one and see or better yet just put a drop of water of the pads and see how they turn the same colour as the ones you've seen after use

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      Anne 6 years ago

      I paint houses. I use the pads after painting each project over a five day period of time. At first the pads are dark and after each night the pads gradually get lighter till they have no color. I figure the toxins are gone once the color is gone. My feet do not sweat like a guy's feet so there is no way to activate the pad to change color with sweat. I believe it detoxes the body.

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      Rajden Babayan 6 years ago

      If the pads absorb some moisture from our feet and the dried vinegar in the pad is mixed with that moisture and as a result shows the vinegar color, then if we spray water on the dry pads, they must also show the vinegar color. I tried it but did not see any change of color.

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      Zofia  7 years ago

      If the colour of the patch only changes due to reaction of water with the content of the patch why it is that every day you use it the patches will get from black through brown down to soft grey colour? And dismissing some ancient practice because modern doctors wouldn't endorse it, while being brainwashed into using drugs for everything is quite naive, to say the least.

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      doki 7 years ago

      well, I just called to think about it. there are pros and cons. but what I want to say here, the foot patches using adsorption applications. anyone who has purchased must be wondering why the smell of sour patch, and burn right? sour odor is caused by the vinegar, the burns caused by some organics like woods, bamboos or whatever this organics carbon act as the sponge or adsorpbent. Vinegar acts as the adsorbent media. adsorbent, is a magnet to attract ions from the body. in acidic (vinegar) H + ions from the acid is rich, so, he will attract the negative charges that exist in our bodies. just not much that can stand out because very little absorbent. That's all I want to share from my very little knowledge.

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      Jo 7 years ago

      I have been using the food detox pads for 3 nights and could not feel better, All my aches and pais vanished. My husband used them also for 2 nights and bingo his heel spur is not hurting any more and his knee feels a lot better. Whether experts believe they work or not, for us they work.

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      Dr. Tanz 7 years ago

      Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the writer is right. Here's proper science for ya (the link).

      An abstract can't be viewed unless you have membership but I assure you the title is proof enough. This article is published through MEDLINE, a reputable medical journal, with material used, viewed & cited by most scientific/medical researchers/companies.

      Millions of dollars have been put into the research of detoxification systems, but I assure you, all doctors & researchers will tell you the same thing... the best detox program to follow sadly doesn't come in a pill: natural foods, hydration, sufficent sleep & exercise. Which is hardly a program, its a lifestyle change, which is a big ask for some.

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      Ynyr 7 years ago

      this is my first night wearing mine, i really hope they work, i got torn skin that need to be healed :D

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      Bridget 7 years ago

      I used these for the first time last night. I woke up with joint pain in middle of night. But the next day it was all gone! I know several people who have used these and all recieved benifit from them. Also article above said Tourmoline is a metal? Its a stone, and mentions this further down in the article.

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      phil 7 years ago

      I agree with Paul above. I tested the pads on several occasions and am still convinced they do some good. I am a mechanic and I absorb all kinds of poisons everyday. I am looking to try other methods, but the pads seem like a good beginning.

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      paul 7 years ago

      what a croak... your debunking only debunked the debunker.. not one shred of actual data or proof..Try this, use the patches regularly.. until they stop changing color over night.. then explain that..

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      suzi 7 years ago

      You may be right in saying that these pads do not detoxify the body but I used them last night on both heels hoping for some relief from heel spurs that I have had for 2 years. The results were nothing short of miraculous! I stood without pain for the first time in years. How long this might last is unknown, so far 6 hours later,still no pain. I tend to agree that the discolouration is caused by heat but maybe the ingredients work on inflammation and infected cells on the body? How else can I explain this pain free day! And not a placebo either - I have lived this pain for far too long...

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      Calvin Nokes 7 years ago

      I just ordered some foot pads can't wait to give them a try.

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      Athena 7 years ago

      If our skin is not porous enough to emit toxins, how is it that our skin is porous enough to absorb toxins?

      Eg. We shouldn't touch mercury unless we wan mercury poisoning.

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      beckham 7 years ago

      detox foot pads really works, i have tried it before.. my kicking are much better aftar i put detox foot pads.. more accurate and more powerful...

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      Ajit 8 years ago

      The so called debunking of the theory of foot pads has several holes in it. If you think the gooey stuff that you see in the morning on the patch is a mix of sweat and the stuff in the pad then have you tested it before and after use to see if the pads contain any toxins. If you have not done that then you are making assumptions of the effectiveness of the pads and are insulting a science that has been around for several thousands of years while modern science is just that: modern and not yet fully tested but known to cause several potentially dreadful side effects and even kill the very people they are meant to save:Take chemotherapy for example. The number of people who would gladly give themselves up for this modern barbaric treatment is really wonderful to see compared to the non invasive treatment of the foot patch.