Although I'm a major advocate for improved health through natural means, I'm not naive enough to believe that the natural health industry has fewer scams and dangers than the pharmaceutical industry. At least the natural health scams generally involve products that simply don't work - as opposed to dangerous chemicals that flat-out kill... but that's another blog post.
I developed a healthy curiosity about the Kinoki Foot Pads, a product that supposedly helps draw toxins out of the body through the soles of you feet while you sleep. I didn't discount this product at first view because I understand the cycle of toxin-in, toxin-out.
We can digest toxins via (typically bad) food choices. We inhale them from the environment. We even absorb them through the skin via environmental contaminants, cleaning products, and even daily cosmetics.
Toxins exit through similar doors. We honk them from our nose, sweat them through our glands, and flush them away with old-fashioned visits to the Porcelain Throne.
Even emotions can contribute to a toxic environment where stress and strife produce hormones that the body can't handle in large doses.
And while many laugh at us cleanse buffs because the body is already equipped to handle toxins, I still believe we need a little help because we're eating, inhaling and absorbing them at an unhealthy rate - all while producing even more in fits of road rage and Christmas shopping for the Nintendo Wii.
Back to the point...
Knowing we can eliminate toxins via the pores in our largest organ, the skin, I thought Kinoki might be on to something... Well...
According to a Consumerist writeup of an NPR feature, the Kinoki Foot Pads stink like... well... toxic feet.
Reporter Sarah Varney had a lab analyze used Kinoki pads. The scientist reported that the used pads (with all that brown gunk) didn't vary much in chemistry from a fresh new pad. And it stands to reason it's because the pad didn't actually remove any toxins. Even worse, the brown gunk that is supposed to be "toxic waste" also appears when the pad is held above a pot of boiling water.
Some members of the WikiAnswers community weighed-in on the issue. For the most part, the users screamed scam. A few said they felt a little better, some praised the possible placebo effect, and one urged that 'trying the pads was better than turning to pharmeceutical drugs. Read these excerpts for yourself (below) and follow this link for the entire list:
Happy users (with surprisingly dull responses that could use an energy drink):
- Well I used it once and I felt much better.
- I was not looking for a cure for anything, so I Im not claiming miracle. I did feel a little better. I have no explanation.
- I have never used them, nor do I think they work. I think many of the testimonials and other positive feedback about them works with the placebo effect. You believe a desired reaction will occur from a treatment, so your body reacts the way you expect it to when you use above said treatment.
- Who cares if it acts a placebo as long as you "think" it is going to work than that is the end result everyone wants. Does anyone really care how we get healed as long as we are healed? While the placebo effect may result in people feeling better, it has no bearing on the claim that the footpads remove any toxins, therefore any change in toxins cannot be explained by the placebo effect.
- Why not try? I do not believe there is any published data--proving or disproving--on the Kinoki foot pad approach, but I see no harm in one trying it. Certainly, it would be safer and cheaper than many of the commonly prescribed drugs that cause hundreds of thousands of terrible side effects and early deaths in the United States each year. [excerpt from much longer comment]