Using the anchor of critical thought to examine our world

One of the goals of KSRI is to provide the public with information to help you make better consumer decisions. I’d like to provide some useful advice: health products sold via infomercials that sound too good to be true probably are.

Doubtless you’ve seen the commercials for Kinoki Foot Pads. The makers claimed that if consumers applied the Kinoki Foot Pads to the soles of their feet at night, they could remove heavy metals, metabolic wastes, toxins, parasites, chemicals, and cellulite from their bodies. In addition, the advertisements claimed that use of the foot pads could treat depression, fatigue, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.

In January 28, 2009, the FTC charged the marketers of the Kinoki Foot Pads with deceptive advertising.

Just out this month, the FTC took further action.“At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge has banned marketers of Kinoki “Detox” Foot Pads […] from selling a wide variety of products.”  The FTC charged that “the marketers falsely claimed the pads could treat numerous illnesses and medical conditions”.

This product is one of thousands marketed to consumers as useful but have not been shown to be so. They all make outrageous claims of their benefits, tout testimonials by seemingly sincere people and celebrities, and provide dramatic images of before and after. Detoxifying foot pads is another example of how easily we are fooled by such tactics.

Have you been intrigued by products that promise the following: boost your immune system, shorten the duration of a cold, enhance your sex life, boost your metabolism, enhance your memory, and improve athetic performance? Be skeptical. It’s hard not to be swayed by anecdotes of those who say “This worked for me! It can work for you too.” That kind of communication is natural to human societies. But, fixing a health problem is rarely as simple as applying one treatment you bought over the Internet. If that did work, wouldn’t it be a bit more obvious? Wouldn’t we all be fixed up by now? Everyday health situations are mostly not life threatening and frequently cycle through good and bad periods or clear up by themselves. Sometimes, the best cure is a good rest and better life habits. Let’s face it – these businesses are out there to sell you things and take your money. Keep these things in mind when they ask you to pay up $19.95 (plus shipping and handling) for a month’s supply.

For more info, see Quackwatch: Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work

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