Switch on the TV, and you're bombarded with ads and infomercials about fad diets and clear-skin potions. It all seems cooky, so it was with a fair amount of scepticism that I agreed to "test-walk" a detox foot pad.
Ingredients and claims
These detox food pads are supposedly composed of “all-natural ingredients” such as eucalyptus, agaricus and tourmaline. The manufacturer claims the patches improve the flow of blood, lymph and chi. They also claim that the patches are effective for people who bruise easily, are easily fatigued, are drinkers/smokers, or who suffer from insomnia.
According to the manufacturer, the patches follow the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, and aim to draw toxins out of the “second heart”, said to be located in the soles of the feet.
Alarm bells started going off for me at the mention of "traditional" (such a useful catch-all term: it suggests authority, but it could just mean old-fashioned).
The day before I applied the patches, I didn’t feel particularly sick or fatigued. I felt, for lack of a better term, "normal".
Using the patches
Applying the patches to my feet was rather like attaching a pair of teabags with sticky tape. But with them on, I became aware of the blood flow in my feet, something I didn’t expect. Was there something in this after all?
According to the pamphlet, the detox effect would take seven hours to kick in, removing the toxins through the process of "hygroscopy" (a fancy name for "water absorption"). In the morning, I found the patches to be a dark brown/murky green colour, but in all honesty, I didn’t feel any different.
From my experience, I didn’t believe the foot patches to have been of much help. Prolonged use may have had a greater effect, but somehow I doubt it. I wouldn’t recommend these patches to anyone wishing to try a detox regimen (a concept that is, anyway, suspect, according to Health24's experts). A cup of green tea would probably take you further.
(André van Wyk, Health24, March 2008)
DISCLAIMER: Please note that Health24 does not approve of quick detox solutions in the form of diets or products. Instead, we recommend a change in eating and drinking habits to ensure a balanced diet and lifestyle all year round.