Did you know that your body may be crawling with poisons and toxins? Heavy metals like arsenic and mercury? Parasites, metabolic wastes, even cellulite? Maybe that's why you're tired or stressed out or your back hurts. Well, someone has a cure for you.
"Kinoki foot pads, the incredible detox system that naturally captures toxins from your body while you sleep!" That's what the TV ads blare, and they're persuasive. After all, we've been told that poisons are everywhere.
"Are you poisoning yourself with unavoidable toxins from the food, water and air we breathe?" the spokeswoman asks. The foot pads, they say, will drain toxins right out of you. "Kinoki foot pads collect heavy metals, metabolic wastes, toxins, parasites, cellulite and more, giving you back your vitality and health."
How do they work? The pad is an adhesive patch with a small bag of ingredients that include things like wood vinegar. You apply this to your foot like a Band-Aid. Supposedly, the pad then drains the toxins out while you sleep.
The "after" pad shown in the ad is covered with what you'd expect toxins to look like -- brown, muddy, kind of a mini-Superfund site. But don't despair.
"Use a fresh pad each night until the pad becomes lighter and lighter," the ads claim. It's supposed to get lighter because after several days' use, you have fewer toxins in your body.
The ads boast that an "independent study proves Kinoki foot pads absorb toxic materials from your body. Isn't that amazing?"
Yes, and maybe that's why the Internet is buzzing about Kinoki, with bloggers wondering if they really work. At TheMockDock.com (their motto: "Unloading a fresh load of scoff, daily!") a blogger videotaped her test of Kinoki pads.
On the first night, she applied a pad to her foot, "and went to bed hoping for the best, wanting to see what happens in the morning and whether or not the pad was going to be as disgusting as the commercial promised and sure enough when I turned on the light and took this pad off… it was every bit as heinous as the commercials promised."
We were curious too, so we ordered some Kinoki pads and similar ones made by Avon called "detoxifying patches," and ran an ad asking for people who wanted to try them. We put together a group of people who had heard of detox foot pads -- some had even tried them -- and were willing to participate.
Lou Gregory had a professional interest in the pads. "I'm a chiropractor, and I have patients that ask me all the time about them," he said. "So I wanted to know, do they work or don't they?"
Veronica James is an actress who'd tried Kinoki pads before and hoped they would boost her immune system. Veronica thought the pads might have prevented a cold.
"I have not had a cold in a few months now, which is good, but I don't know if it's because I'm taking better vitamins or because of this."
After trying the Avon pads, Kelly Dye, an administrative assistant, thought maybe she had more energy.
"I actually woke up and I have energy 'cause usually I wake up and I snooze like 10 times and I thought, OK, maybe this will be good for me," she said. "I can get to work earlier … but no."
Most of our volunteers, like boxing trainer Ricky Ray Taylor, observed no benefits.
"I'm on a relentless pursuit for more energy," he said. "I got nothin'."
Katie Sweeney, who used Avon pads on both feet for three days, said, "I had a headache and I felt dehydrated."