Detoxing through the feet is all the rage and is based on the notion that dangerous toxins tend to accumulate in the feet, so this is where any good detox regimen should be focused. This might sound rational according to the laws of gravity, but these laws don’t necessarily transfer to the path of toxins floating around in the bloodstream. Perhaps this is why the liver, which is the organ designed to most efficiently cleanse the body of impurities, is located in the midsection of the human body.
But common sense facts are not stopping the altmed community from conjuring a variety of foot detox programs, such as the popular Nuubu, which is advertised with the usual buzzwords of “traditional wisdom” and “natural ingredients” and “holistic healing” but fails to provide the consumer with any scientific evidence that this product is anything other than repackaged snake oil.
As Dr. Harriet Hall writes on this blog, the company’s claim that “the largest concentration of harmful toxins is in the feet” is simply not true. “They offer no evidence, because there isn’t any.” She states.
The foot pads contain loquat leaf, vitamin C, wood vinegar, bamboo vinegar, dextrin, houttuynia cordata, tourmaline, and negative ion powder and the company makes specific claims for each of these ingredients such as how tourmaline “improves the detoxification process and strengthens your liver and kidneys” and wood vinegar “removes foul odors…sweat and metabolic waste out of your pores.”
Is any of this true?
No. As Dr. Hall points out, there is no supporting references because it’s all “vague, unsubstantiated pseudoscientific gibberish.”
But what about how adhesive foot pads turn color overnight? How do we explain that?
Simple. “The patches contain vinegar. The color change is produced by skin debris, vinegar, and sweat. Using vinegar-soaked gauze will accomplish the same thing,” Dr. Hall explains.
As for changes in water color during foot baths, “the color in the water is created by hydrolysis,” she explains. “It is either rust from the electrodes or due to impurities on the skin or in the water. The process is well understood. Early on, skeptics observed that the water changes color if you run the foot bath without putting your feet in it.”
There is absolutely no proof that yellow-green water means the kidney, bladder and urinary tract are cleansing, or orange water means your joints are detoxifying, or the appearance of white cheese-like particles means you’re shedding yeast.
Even though these outlandish claims continue, some producers of foot detox methods such as Kinoki Foot Pads found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the marketers of Kinoki Foot Pads were charged with deceptive advertising for claiming that their foot pads could remove heavy metals, metabolic wastes, toxins, parasites, chemicals, and cellulite and could be used to treat depression, fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. In addition, “the defendants falsely claimed to have scientific proof that the foot pads removed toxic materials from the body.” As a result, “The FTC also asks the court to order the defendants to provide monetary redress to consumers or otherwise give up their ill-gotten gains.”
The truth is that we’re all exposed to hazardous chemicals and toxins in our environment but there’s a big difference between a hazard and a risk. As Dr. Hall explains, a hazard is something that could potentially cause harm; a risk is something that will cause harm.
“Our lab tests have become so good at identifying minuscule quantities that we are tempted to forget the old adage that the dose makes the poison. Even drinking too much water has been known to kill people, while tiny amounts of most toxins have never been shown to cause harm.”
So if you’re suffering from brain fog, irritability, muscles aches, body odor, insomnia, headaches, exhaustion, or any of the other maladies detoxes claim to cure, it’s not because you need a detox. Your money will be better spent on treatments that actually work.
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