The detox foot patch made a splash a number of years ago and there are still plenty on the market. Snake oil or real results?
To keep your body functioning well and supporting its daily work of filtering out toxins I advocate above else a healthy diet of real, wholesome foods, staying hydrated with plenty of pure water, and a focus on a generally healthy overall lifestyle. That said I do appreciate some extra help now and then to kickstart a "getting clean" campaign. Using natural methods to help the body rid itself of excess crud is a fine idea now and then.
So what's up with the detox foot patch?
Most of them are made with powdered tourmaline (a mineral) along with herbs and other plant materials, bamboo vinegar, and something to absorb and retain sweat in the pad (sometimes made from chitosan, a shellfish product, while in other cases dextrin is used).
Tourmaline naturally warms the foot, inducing sweat, while the herbs and other plant materials are said to draw toxins from the body.
The foot patches are also said to work according to the principles of foot reflexology:
- the heels of the foot are sites of reflex points corresponding to points in the lower third of the body
- the arches are sites of reflex points corresponding to the main trunk organs of the body
- and the balls of the feet correspond to points in the neck, throat, and head.
You place the pads in the area of the foot corresponding to the part of the body you hope to target.
Sometimes they're called Japanese Foot Patches or Kinoki Foot Patches, but they're all marketed with the same basic sales concept:
Place a detox foot patch on the sole of your foot overnight and the stuff in the pads will draw toxins out of your body and trap them in the pads.
I tried them on a whim, with four friends, on a getaway weekend a few years ago. One friend had bought them at the health food store because she was fascinated with the idea of using a foot patch to detoxify the body, and surprised us each with a little "gift" before bed time.
We thought, well, it can't hurt, so why not?
We each stuck a patch on the sole of our foot and went to our rooms for the night. In the morning we all did a comparison. All four of us had the same basic result - the patches had all developed a brownish coloration, and had a slight odor to them.
We don't know that it was toxins which had been drawn out, but there was definitely a reaction between sweat and the contents of the pad.
The soles of the feet are a warm spot of the body, tourmaline naturally generates heat, the foot patches don't allow any breathability once you stick them on, and our body temps rise during sleep anyway, so it's pretty much guaranteed that there's going to be some sweat reacting with the pad.
Some companies offer a lab test to tell you what is in your detox foot patch after use. I don't know what labs are doing the testing or how reliable those results are.
The soles of the feet are used in numerous natural applications as a way to get beneficial things into the body; for instance rubbing fresh garlic in a carrier oil on the soles of the feet (especially for babies) as a natural antibiotic/antiviral and applying essential oil blends to the soles of the feet for rapid absorption, so maybe there is something to the idea of applying other substances to the soles of the feet to help remove unwanted elements from the body.
You're not going to harm yourself by trying a detox foot pad, but don't use them as a crutch, or let them make you lazy. Take an active role in your health instead of relying solely on "quick fix" products like these foot patches. A healthy diet and healthy lifestyle is going to do wonders. Your body is continually "detoxing" anyway, as part of its normal functions. The healthier your lifestyle the less you will feel the need to look for extra "detox" help.