Detoxing with your feet – Is it a Scam?

Foot detox is considered as one of the safest forms of detoxification. In addition to this, foot detox can also be an effective and simple way to cleanse your body and get rid of toxins that accumulate in your body over time – without having to delete certain foods from your diet.

There are multiple products that claim to detox your body by sucking out toxins through the soles of your feet. But most have no scientific basis or no scientific studies have been published that substantiate the claims made by manufacturers.

Let’s take a look at some of these.


Detox foot pads are very popular and can be purchased easily in Australia. These types of pads originate from Japanese culture and are easy to use.

The sales pitch sounds great; these pads are usually made from tree and bamboo extracts and you apply the pads at bedtime. During the night, the pads, which are impregnated with ingredients promote detoxification, draw out heavy metals and toxins while you sleep. In the morning, you remove the pads which have turned from white to brown (apparently from all the toxins they have absorbed).

But to do this, the ingredients in the foot pad would need to be extremely strong. So let’s have a look at a typical foot pad and what it contains to make it so powerful. sells a range of detox foot pads on their website. They claim their foot pads work by acting on the reflexology zones of the foot. They’re main products are two types of foot pads – Gold and Green.

The Gold Detox Foot Pad contains bamboo vinegar extract (73.5%), tourmaline, vegetable fibre (5%), chitin (3.5%), vitamin C (2%), dextrin (10.5%) and minus ion stone powder (2%).

The Green Detox Foot Pad contains all the same ingredients in the same quantity with the exception of the bamboo vinegar, which is replaced with wood vinegar extract.

While bamboo and wood vinegar can help to eliminate toxins from the liver, it’s doubtful that there would be adequate quantity in the pad that could be absorbed into the body through the feet to have any effect at all. The other ingredients have no detoxing scientific basis.

So if detox foot pads don’t work, then why do they change colour during the night?

A study done by ABC’s 20/20 found that when distilled water was dropped onto another brand’s freshly opened pad, it turned brown anyway, not having been applied to a person’s foot. As a result, it’s assumed a combination of the ingredients results in a dark stain when exposed to water and oxygen (once you open the packet).

However, there is no denying that thousands of people use these products, and claim to have substantial health benefits including reduced pain and inflammation, improved sleep, and reduction in headaches. This could be a result of the placebo effect, or that the detox pads work in a way that is not yet understood by science e.g. reflexology.

My recommendation is to save your money and use the DIY detox foot soak baths.



Another popular device is the ionic foot bath. Much more expensive compared to foot pads (around $600AUD), these foot baths claim to work by balancing the body’s energy fields, promoting and supporting its natural detoxification ability.

Similar to the detox foot pads, the water in the foot spa turns brown or dark orange depending on the toxins it rids your body of. However, this is simple science; the water changes colour due to the chemical reaction of the saltwater and electrolysis.

The ionic foot detox baths supposedly also help to bring the body’s pH into a more alkaline state. As disease thrives in an acidic environment, keeping your pH level just over the netural range of 7 into a slightly more alkaline level, will help reduce your risks of poor health (you don’t want to go too alkaline though as that can be dangerous too). However, save yourself $500 and make changes to your diet to increase your alkalinity. You can also use a superfood supplement if you are not inclined to modify your diet.


The fact is, the bottom’s of our feet are highly absorbent. So detoxing through your feet is still possible without spending money on products with no scientific backing.

We highly recommend trying our easy detox foot bath recipes for a relaxing, soothing and therapeutic detox session in the comfort of your own home.

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