The Futzuki Reflexology Mat is sold as a simple solution for foot pain.
But can this funny-looking plastic mat really relieve heel pain, arch pain and tingling? We decided to find out.
The Futzuki claims to relieve pain by massaging the feet with more than 2,800 reflexology points. The infomercial says "once you step on, the pain is gone."
But the first person we asked to try the Futzuki had a very different reaction.
"Ow! This really hurts. This is not comfortable at all," said Local 4 intern Chloe Kiple.
Kiple spends long hours on her feet and was intrigued by the idea of the Futzuki.
"I've never tried anything like this before, so I was excited to see if it would work," said Kiple.
But the Futzuki didn't bring relief.
"These grooves are really hard," said Kiple. "It's not cushy at all. It feels like hard plastic jutting into your skin. I thought, 'Maybe if I just keep standing on this, it will start alleviating my pain over time,' but fighting pain with pain just doesn't seem to work. It just hurt."
To make the pressure less intense, I decided to give the Futzuki a try with socks on. The feeling was hard to describe, but standing on the mat wasn't painful or unpleasant, and it didn't tickle. It felt like something was pushing into my heels.
But like Kiple, I didn't notice any pain relief.
For a professional opinion, we took the Futzuki to Cheryl Beshada, an experienced reflexologist at the Valade Healing Arts Center at St. John Hospital in Detroit.
Right away, Beshada spotted a problem.
"Everyone has a different size foot. I have a very small foot, so this would be too large for my arch," said Beshada. "It's not hitting the reflex areas in my toes, I can tell you that right now."
Beshada tried the Futzuki without socks, as it's intended, and found it painful to stand on.
From a reflexology standpoint, Beshada said the Futzuki is missing some key elements.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is based on the idea that different areas of the feet and hands correspond to specific organs and body systems. Reflexologists apply pressure to those points, based on the patient's medical issues.
"We like to consider this a complementary therapy, of course you're always going to consult with your physician for any type of a medical problem, but we consider this complementary," said Beshada.
Beshada said reflexology involves the top and sides of the feet, not just the bottoms.
"A lot of our work is done on the sides of the feet, as well as the bottoms, but these are very very key points."
Beshada is also concerned that the mat could pose a risk for people with neuropathy from diabetes.
"If someone is diabetic, you really don't know if they have a sore spot, because they can't feel it," said Beshada. "What if they were standing on it too long, and it would cause an irritation?"
Above all, Beshada says the Futzuki is missing a crucial component of reflexology -- human touch.
"It's that TLC, the tender loving care, it's the human touch that you don't have with a mat."
The Futzuki costs $19.99. It states on the Futzuki website that it is "not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition. Individual results may vary."
Unfortunately, the Futzuki does not win our stamp of approval.
More product tests
We are testing "As Seen on TV" products all week on the morning show at 6:40 a.m. each day.
Here's what's coming up:
THURSDAY -- Ninja Coffee Bar
Can it replace your expensive trips to the coffee shop? Help Me Hank takes it to the experts.
FRIDAY -- The Pocket Hose
Is it really the lightest, most convenient hose you'll ever use? Is it really tangle and kink proof?
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