I’ve written about the ridiculousness of the Kinoki Detox Footpads before. While on the way home from work today, I happened to be listening to NPR, and–wonder of wonders!–I came across a skeptical story about the Kinoki Footpads. In the story, the reporter, Sarah Varney, took used footpads to a laboratory to have them tested. Surprise, surprise! There was no significant difference between the used and unused pads in chemical content, nor was there any evidence of elevated heavy metal content of the “used” pads. She then interviewed a doctor who explained just how ridiculous the concept of “detoxing” through the skin of your feet is. Of course, I said virtually the same thing nearly two years ago for a different brand of detox footpads and then again in April of this year specifically about the Kinoki Detox quack–I mean foot–pads.

Finally, Varney then exposed unused Kinoki Detox Footpads to steam, and–surprise, surprise again!–the footpads turned black, no “toxins” from a wearer’s feet needed (or even contact with a person’s feet, for that matter).

I suppose NPR actually did do a public service here, and it is truly unusual to see actual skeptical reporting about devices like the Kinoki Detox Footpads, but in this case this is some really old news. The skeptical blogosphere did many thorough explanations of this silliness seemingly eons ago. Better late than never, I suppose.


  1. #1 Coturnix
    August 19, 2008

    I was in the car earlier and heard the announcements about the show coming up, but could not listen to it at the time it aired. Nice to know it was as skeptical as I hoped.

  2. #2 Antonio
    August 19, 2008

    I always just assumed the pads turned black due to dirty feet. I guess I was wrong…

  3. #3 Bob O'H
    August 19, 2008

    Finally, Varney then exposed unused footpads to steam, and–surprise, surprise again!–the footpads turned black, no “toxins” needed.

    OMG!!!!11!! Do you realize that this means you water is POISONOUS?!!

  4. #4 Antonio
    August 19, 2008


    Quick! We must create a ‘Green Our Water’ movement!!!!!!

  5. #5 tresmal
    August 19, 2008

    Kinoki a fraud? Damn! Well at least I still have Airborne to protect me. What? What did I say? What?

  6. #6 themadlolscientist, FCD
    August 19, 2008

    Do you realize that this means you water is POISONOUS?!!

    Fight the spread of toxic waste! Ban dihydrogen monoxide!

  7. #7 Militant Agnostic
    August 19, 2008

    Maybe that reporter could take skeptical look colon cleanses. They work in a similar way – they contain an ingredient such as bentonite (a clay) that produces gross black stool that looks like “toxins” being eliminated from the body. Anybody know how to ontact her?

  8. #8 Phil
    August 19, 2008

    I thought everyone knew your kidneys excreted into your feet.

  9. #9 Rev. BigDumbChimp, KoT
    August 19, 2008

    Yes, but if you use them together with an cleansing Ion foot bath they definitely work.

  10. #10 Dr Aust
    August 19, 2008


    Quick! We must create a ‘Green Our Water’ movement!!!!!!

    I have found that I can “Green my water” quite effectively by leaving it on a sunny windowsill, having inoculated it with a small “starter culture” of pre-greened water (alias algae).

    Within a few days the water is noticeably green, and also has a load of really natural phytonutrients (alias more algae) in it. Beautifully greened… just as nature intended. Truly a treat for anyone who rejects artificial “scientific” tampering with the Natural Balance.

    My next step is to see if my local Health Food Shop would like to sell my “Naturally Green Water”. They already sell “alkaline water” by the glass or bottle, so I have high hopes…

  11. #11 Calli Arcale
    August 19, 2008

    Dr Aust, I got an ad in the mail for a product which promised to purify my drinking water — and also make it alkaline.


  12. #12 Umlud
    August 19, 2008

    Traditional definition of “Footpad”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Footpad

    Seems to be right on the money.

  13. #13 Angel
    August 19, 2008

    It is all well and good that NPR is trying to educate the masses. However, I was deeply saddened and annoyed to see that CVS Pharmacies now sells the Kinoki pads for $19.99 for 14 pads (1 weeks usage). And oh so conveniently this week’s Sunday paper had a coupon for $2 off. *Deep sigh of defeat* (pun intended).

  14. #14 dan edal
    August 19, 2008

    Are you sure you are using the right detox foot patch?

    You may be using a cheap and possibly dangerous pad made in KOREA or CHINA.

    For more info on the original patch made in JAPAN, please visit:


  15. #15 paul a'barge
    August 19, 2008

    What is your position on acupuncture?

  16. #16 edh
    August 19, 2008

    My Sea Monkeys are going to be pissed about this one!

  17. #17 Porkov
    August 19, 2008

    So you’re saying that it’s DHMO that turns them black? You’re full of it! Now I understand.

  18. #18 Brian X
    August 19, 2008

    dan edal:

    Remember, all the best alt-health products come from the Far East, where everyone is eternally healthy and lives in an episode of Sagwa: the Chinese Siamese Cat, but all the good consumer electronics products are from Europe, where everyone sweeps their floors with a little robot ball in a hat.

    Billy Mays told me so.

  19. #19 Avonelle Lovhaug
    August 19, 2008

    When my dad got sick two years ago, he tried to go once a week to a place where he put his feet in some kind of bath that supposedly removed the toxins from his feet. At the time I thought it was silly, but he had terminal cancer, and whatever he wanted to do to feel better was fine with me.

    Of course, I knew the foot pads were just as ridiculous, but every time I see the ad I think “gee – it is too bad dad missed out on those, because when he was really sick those would have been much, much easier for him to use than to try to sit up for a while with his feet in water!”

  20. #20 BlogDog
    August 19, 2008

    Rather than use KiNoKi footpads, I’ve used the PlahSiBoh footpads for years. They really work!

  21. #21 Jason
    August 19, 2008

    There’s no need for these footpads. Through years of careful experimentation, I’ve discovered that my socks turn black after use as well; obviously, then, they are performing exactly the same function as these pads. Furthermore, they are reusable!

  22. #22 Ann Emic
    August 19, 2008

    You should try the Konichi Wa Kitty Detox Maxi Pads. They pull the Fe right out of your body and give you that little tingle that tells you that they’re working.

  23. #23 Ranson
    August 20, 2008

    Re: dan edal

    Wow. I’ve seen salesmen pitching to the wrong audience before, but that’s probably the biggest example I’ve ever come across. Spam, to be sure, but assuming it was an actual human being cutting and pasting, that’s probably worse than someone hawking bibles over at PZ’s. At least a lot of the people over there read religious texts.

  24. #24 Joe
    August 20, 2008

    My buddy says they also work really well on his bald-spot.

  25. #25 Harrison
    August 20, 2008

    I saw these “Foot Detox” thingies in a catalog, and they’re charging $16.99 for a pack of 10, or $39.99 for a 30 pack. Wow. What a bargain–almost $40 for 30 bags of herbs that don’t do s—. Well, they have peppermint in them, so they may smell nice–at least until you put them on your feet overnight…

  26. #26 Daniel Kim
    August 23, 2008

    I’ve always wondered why people find credence in the “traditional [insert Asian culture reference here] treatment” claim. I am guessing that the Japanese never used foot-extractive traditional treatments, and there is no historical or ethnological evidence of such.

    When I am in health-food stores, I find all kinds of quackery next to my fair-trade coffee. Oxygen-enhanced water in PETE-plastic bottles, anti-herpes sprays whose active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite (bleach), etc.

    While a half-century ago one may have been excused for finding the Orient to be the source of new and mysterious practices, modern communications and travel should have done away with that image.

    When I find people talking about the enlightened Japanese, I usually interject that they are ascribing too much to a people who have a “Whale meat eating day” on the 9th of every month.

    [Notice: I will make a duplicate post to the excellent “Dispatches from the Culture Wars” blog that references this thread]

  27. #27 Joe
    August 23, 2008

    Does anyone recall that “footpad” is an old word meaning “thief”?

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