But what about all of those toxins that were supposedly pulled out of their feet? The ad promised, "Just like a tree draws energy in and toxins down its trunk,Kinoki foot pads work the same way."
Dr. George Friedman-Jimenez, the director of the Bellevue / New York University Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic in New York City, said "I don't think that they act by removing toxins from the body."
A specialist in environmental medicine, Friedman-Jiminez fears that sick people will put off getting real treatment because they think detox pads will work.
I asked Friedman-Jiminez if it's possible that the placebo effect caused people to think that they felt better after wearing the pads overnight.
"I think what we're seeing with treatments like Kinoki footpads is that people are expecting them to help, and expecting to feel better, and some people feel better just by chance, and some people feel better because of the expectation," he said. "The placebo effect contributes to the improvement in the symptoms."
Avon doesn't make the same extreme claims as Kinoki, but it does call its product "detoxifying patches," containing "ingredients known for their detoxifying properties."
"The idea that they're drawing toxins through the skin out of the body in any significant amount, I think is just wrong," said Friedman-Jimenez.
He said you cannot pull toxins out of the body through the feet -- "not in any significant amount."
Our volunteers also found that their pads didn't get lighter with repeated use like the ads promised. "They just stayed dark every day," said James.
And one feature of the pads that the ads don't tell you about but that our testers complained about was the smell.
"It smelled like a barbecue pit when I woke up," said Dye.
Grad school student Sara Mascola said, "It smells like bacon and then it leaves this film on your foot."
J Vanburen, a voiceover artist, said the pad smelled even worse than that. "Eeew. No, it didn't smell like any bacon I've ever smelled. … I want to know what they found in the pad."
The Kinoki ads' claim that we're brimming with things like heavy metals, toxins and parasites scares people. "20/20" asked NMS Labs, a national laboratory in Willow Grove, Pa., that performs toxicology testing, to analyze the used Kinoki and Avon pads from eight of our group to see what we could find on the pads.
The lab tested for a lot of things, including heavy metals like arsenic and mercury and 23 solvents, including benzene, tolulene and styrene and found none of these on the used pads.
"I feel like it's a scam," said Sweeney. "It's just the moisture in your feet that are darkening the pad."
Bingo. There's no evidence that it's toxins. When I dropped distilled water on the pad, it turns dark in seconds.
I wish TV and radio stations would be more responsible about running these kinds of ads. Alan Handleman, a North Carolina radio host, says that when Kinoki proposed advertising on his program, he asked for samples of the pads. He eventually decided the company seemed "sleazy" and he turned the money down. But that's unusual, I fear. Many in the media just take the money.
"I think it's a scam, and I think they purposely put it on late at night for drunk, vulnerable people," said Dye. " You won't even remember you ordered it until it comes in the mail."