Foot pad nonsense

DetoxThis craziness is recommended by a variety of “alternative” practitioners. Detox patches! What amazing devices they are. Not only can they draw poisons out of the body, they can also infuse various healing agents into thebody. What sort of agents? Like those found in the Japanese Loquat leaf, which we are told contains various vitamins, including “vitamin B17.” Actually, there is no vitamin called B17, but the term is commonly used to describe a discredit cancer “cure” also known as “laetrile.” The patch also has added vitamin C, which according to the label reduces cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of blood clot formation. No evidence for these claims exists, and even if it did, there would be better ways of introducing vitamin C into the body than through the bottom of the foot. There are also other gems in the formulation. Literally. There is powdered tourmaline, which “exerts a cleansing and liberating energy upon our entire nervous system, promoting a clearing and stabilizing effect.” We are told that tourmaline is “one of the only minerals to emit far infrared heat and negative ions.” Then there is amethyst, a “stone of psychic power” which “promotes tranquility and helps embrace your own intuitive wisdom.” Doesn’t seem to promote too much wisdom among the people who endorse this gobbledygook.

The main ingredient that is supposedly responsible for detoxication is “wood vinegar.” This reddish-brown liquid is obtained by heating wood and condensing the vapours that form. It is a complex mixture of oils, tar, methanol, acetone and acetic acid. Volatile components can be driven off by drying, leaving behind a grey powder, the “essence” of the detoxifying patch. This is the stuff that appears to magically draw toxins out of the body. And those unnamed toxins really do appear! At least in the pictures that accompany the product. The patch, which originally was white, becomes brown and sticky after being worn for a few hours. According to the literature provided, the brown sludge is formed by the poisons removed from the body. Nonsense. The stickiness is due to moisture combining with dextrin, a starch filler used in the patch. Remember mixing flour and water to make glue? That’s just what is happening here. As far as the color goes, it is due to sweat reconstituting the wood vinegar.

Joe Schwarcz

One response to “Foot pad nonsense”

  1. JS says:

    What about the foot bath detoxes that use electricity or magnetism to supposedly remove toxins? What is that actually doing? I had a “doctor” do that to me once before I realized she was caught up in all sorts of alternative woo. It did cause the water to turn black and foul smelling. What was going on here, and was it bad?

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