Sarah Varney of NPR's "All Things Considered" tested out the Kinoki body-detoxifying footpads currently making the rounds of late-night infomercials, to see if they really eliminate "heavy metals and metabolic waste." She and her husband used them for a night, and by the next morning the pads were covered in disgusting black gunk, as advertised. But then she took them to a lab for chemical analysis to learn exactly what was going on. The results? The Kinoki footpads are a dirty scam.
The adhesive footpads use bamboo vinegar and an unspecified combination of herbs and minerals to draw out toxins through your feet while you sleep, supposedly resulting in the gross-looking muddle you see when you peel them off. But when John Goyette at the Curtis and Tompkins Lab used nitric acid to measure the metallic levels in the two used pads and one fresh pad, he found that they "look like three of the same sample, basically." No heavy metals, no lighter metals: There was no significant difference, chemically speaking, between the samples. The US$30-per-month pads are, definitively, just another shifty case of new-age snake oil, like the master cleanse or "recycling."
It turns out the Kinoki product is activated by either heat or moisture—the pads turned into the dirty "used" state even when held over a steaming pot of harmless water! Our bodies have a pretty efficient ways to get rid of metabolic waste; usually, you can even read the paper while it happens. Either way, waste definitely doesn't emanate through the skin of your feet while you slumber, or my Mighty Morphin Power Rangers footie PJs would've been tossed out long ago. [NPR via Consumerist]