Are There Health Benefits of Detoxifying Foot Pads

Medically Reviewed by Gabriela Pichardo, MD on July 02, 2023
4 min read

There is no scientific evidence that foot pads have detoxifying properties, yet many people say that they work. 

First, it is important to understand how your body’s natural detoxification works. Your liver is the primary filtration system. It converts toxins into waste that passes when you use the bathroom. Your liver serves to:

  • Cleanse your blood
  • Metabolize nutrients and medications
  • Provide your body with important proteins 

Improve liver function. You can protect your body’s natural filtration system by avoiding overindulgence. If you limit the number of unhealthy foods and drinks that your liver has to process, it can work more efficiently.

There are many products on the market – including detoxifying foot pads – that claim to remove toxin build-up in your body. This may sound appealing after a weekend of unhealthy foods and alcohol consumption that leaves you feeling guilty. But do you really need to cleanse your liver?

Understanding detox products. Supplements that claim to detox your body are not approved by the FDA. This means they haven’t undergone testing or clinical trials to prove or disprove results. You can take supplements and may even feel better after taking them, but that doesn’t mean you’ve successfully removed harmful toxins from your body.

Detoxifying foot pads are usually rectangular pads that you place on the bottom of your feet. After sleeping with the foot pads on, they turn a dark color from the supposed toxins removed from your body overnight. Some manufacturers claim that foot pads can:

  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Relieve headaches
  • Reduce cellulite
  • Ease symptoms of depression
  • Improve your life with diabetes
  • Help you sleep better
  • Increase weight loss 

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While foot pads are most likely safe for use, they won’t give you the dramatic results you may be looking for.

Ban on detoxifying foot pads. The Federal Trade Commission issued a ban on one foot pad brand for deceptive marketing practices. The company promoted its foot pads as having scientifically-backed results. The lawsuit ended in the company owing its entire revenue of $14.5 million in a settlement.

The truth is that there are indications of a sluggish liver. Signs that your liver may not be fully functioning include:

  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes
  • Stomach pain and swelling
  • Swollen legs and ankles
  • Itchy skin
  • Urine that is darker than normal
  • Stool appearing pale
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Feeling nauseous or vomiting
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Bruising easily

Keep in mind that if you have liver disease, a product like detoxifying foot pads will not improve or cure your condition.

Drink plenty of water. One of the best ways to boost your body’s natural detoxification is to stay hydrated. Water helps in many ways, one of which is to get rid of waste in your body through sweat, urination, and bowel movements. When you don’t get enough water, your body isn’t working at its prime.

Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. A balanced diet will best support what your internal organs already do best. For a natural detox alternative to detox foot pads, cut out processed foods and focus on eating fruits, vegetables, high-quality proteins, and whole grains.

While toxins do exist and can interact with the body, they're more likely to be found in things such as smoke or pollution. These are harmful substances that the liver and kidneys work to cleanse, so give yourself a hand with good nutrition, exercise, and hydration habits.

Protect yourself.Liver function can be impacted by hepatitis viruses like:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C

These viruses are spread through bodily fluids. You can prevent these diseases by:

  • Practicing safe sex
  • Getting vaccinated
  • Getting body piercings and tattoos at parlors that practice cleanliness and safety
  • Covering and protecting open wounds

Most people don’t need to detox. Before you decide to try detoxing your body for any reason, talk to your doctor about your concerns. Your doctor may be able to treat underlying conditions that are causing your symptoms.

Safety concerns. Detoxifying foot pads may not be dangerous, but other types of detoxes are. Some oral detoxes like pills or tea cause diarrhea. You may think you’re ridding your body of toxins, but in reality you may only be losing nutrients and water.

Supplements may cause harm. If you take the wrong supplements, they may actually harm your liver instead of healing it. Since herbs and other supplements aren’t FDA approved, talk to your doctor before taking anything new. For example, activated charcoal is sometimes used to absorb ingested poison, but it can also interfere with medication.