Friday, January 25, 2008

Kinoki Detox Foot Pads

I have received several emails about Kinoki detoxifying foot pads.

Both Alan and I had a good laugh about the bizarre marketing tactic used by this company. Wired is calling this "the most appalling medical scam since magnetic immortality devices."

The three characters literally means "wood/tree sap". There is nothing traditionally Japanese about the product or the name. Our suspicion is that the manufacturer just picked a
Japanese-sounding name to peddle their schlock product to gullible Americans with a little bit of "Oriental mystique", and then afterward decided to slap the characters 木樹液 onto the TV ad as a sort of decoration.

Matter of fact, Kinoki is a direct rip-off from a brand of Japanese shoe inserts called 竹樹液, or "bamboo sap". They are only used to remove excess sweat from one's feet, therefore to eliminate foot odor. There is absolutely no claim of detoxifying heavy metal from one's body.

In my opinion, the people behind Kinoki detox foot pads should commit seppuku for misleading consumers.

Update: August 18, 2008 - NPR did a story today about this.

The newest craze in consumer health is adhesive pads filled with "detox" herbs that supposedly suck toxins out of the bottom of our feet while we sleep.

An analysis at a California laboratory shows no significant difference between used and unused pads.


  1. It reminds me of all the products I see in the States that say "European formula" or have "London" or "Paris" written on them randomly... but then when you actually go to Europe of course you never find any of these so-called European products.

  2. If dirty feet means that heavy metals have fled the body, then I just detoxified myself by walking around the kitchen barefoot.

  3. If it's any consolation, here in Europe you find lots of stuff branded "American" or "US", which I'm sure would be baffling to most Americans.

    On a more exotic Oriental note, how about Nippon Mouse Killer from the UK?

  4. Oh man, I've been cracking up ever since I first saw the commercials for this weeks ago.

    My first reaction was the same, "Tree-treesap? Huh?"

    The fact that the whole "detox" thing is completely ludicrous only makes the commercial that much more amusing. KF

  5. Is it 木樹 in Chinese? It's 樹木 in Japanese.

    In any case, it's nice to see Hanzi Smatter cross paths with every once in a while.

  6. eyedunno: We say 樹木 in Chinese, too. 木樹 in Chinese is rather nonsensical.

  7. Ancient Japanese...

    Snake oil.

  8. I was in Beijing the first time I saw this add. I was watching the only English channel and thought it was odd that there would be a Japanese (or at least Japanese sounding) product being advertised. The sad thing is there is someone out there sleeping with these on their feet.