“Detox” is a word that is thrown around a LOT in alternative health spheres. With it comes a lot of poppycock about what it means to “detox.” Much like the word “natural,” which means absolutely nothing when found on the label of any food product, “detox” is slapped on pretty much anything people are desperate to sell these days. “Detox celebrity diet!” “Detox cleanse!” “Detox smoothie!” “Detox workout!” Gah! How many people understand what body detoxification actually entails, though? Healing ourselves requires a close communion with our one true possession in life: our bodies. And it’s quite remarkable to witness how little most people know about their own bodies. I believe one can’t understand what detoxifying the body means without a full understanding of how the body works. So, let’s start there.
In this recent post, I mentioned that the human body has a built-in, seven-piece detoxification system. Each piece, or “channel,” of this detoxification system acts as a sewer for the body. It is crucial that these channels remain open, as our bodies use each ones to dispose of things it does not want or need. However, when we do not take good care of ourselves, sometimes these channels can become overloaded, thereby resulting in chronic illness – anything from acne to cancer. Below is a list of the seven channels of elimination and what you can do to support each channel.
- Put only on your skin that which you would eat.
- Choose herbal deodorants instead of antiperspirants. Antiperspirants inhibit sweating, which is a natural and important mechanism our body uses to detoxify itself.
- Dry brush the entire body (except the face) before bathing.
- Take salt baths once to twice weekly. Use 1-2 pounds Epsom salt per bath and/or 1 cup sea salts. Feel free to add some detoxifying essential oils (like 7-12 drops of clove oil) ONLY if your bath tub is porcelain (many essential oils will erode plastic tubs).
- Considering that your liver is the primary organ designed for filtering toxins out of your body, become conscious of your exposure to environmental toxins such as car exhaust, chemical fumes, radiation, and strong chemical household products. Limit this exposure. Also limit substances that burden the liver such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, water contaminants, preservatives, heavy metals, and dyes.
- Eat artichokes and beets often. Drink chicory regularly (a great alternative to coffee and tea!).
- Liver flushes! I recommend the protocol designed by Andreas Moritz, found in this book.
- Castor oil packs.
- Practice deep breathing twice daily. If you have a meditation or yoga practice, it is easy to incorporate this in that. If not, a convenient time would be before rising in the morning and falling asleep in the evening. How do you breathe deeply? Place one hand on your lower abdomen and the other on your chest. As you inhale, the lower hand should rise, followed by the hand on your chest. As you exhale, the upper then lower lungs should fall as they empty the air.
- Aerobic exercise. Personally, I don’t believe in going to the gym. I do believe in experiencing the magic of your body as you do something fun or meditative, be it walking, hiking, biking, swimming, dance, or yoga! All you need is 20-45 minutes a few times a week.
- If you were a smoker, or you’re recovering from an illness that compromised your lungs in some way, you may need an extra boost. I highly recommend Dr. Christopher’s Lung and Bronchial Herbal Formula. These herbs will cleanse those lungs!
- Drink at least six glasses of good quality water daily, preferably spring water or reverse osmosis. For those looking to get really serious about the water they’re drinking and bathing in, I recommend looking into “structured water.”
- Supplement with a good quality kidney supplement. I recommend this one. It features: Organic Juniper Berry‚ Parsley Root‚ Organic & Wildcrafted Marshmallow Root‚ Wildcrafted Goldenseal Root‚ Organic Uva Ursi Leaf‚ Wildcrafted Lobelia herb‚ & Organic Ginger Root. All of these herbs detox and support even the most damaged of kidneys.
- Squeeze lemon juice into your water. Lemon, though acidic, alkalizes the body and cleans out many organs, including the kidneys.
- Eat watermelon! The best kidney-cleansing food!
- Eat veggies and fruits daily to keep food moving through the gut by providing live enzymes and fiber.
- Limit intake of highly processed foods, which can cause constipation and thereby add to the body’s toxic load.
- Eat probiotics and fermented foods. The microbiology environment in your gut is the foundation of your health – affecting everything from your immune system to your brain!
- Use Colosan; A non-addictive, natural magnesium supplement to “get things moving” as necessary.
- Regularly practice colon hydrotherapy via enemas or colonics.
- Dry brush the entire body (except the face) before bathing.
- Receive regular massage therapy, preferably once weekly, to increase lymphatic and blood circulation.
- Move that body! Aerobic exercise or even simple stretching releases muscle imbalances and constrictions, which thereby increases lymphatic flow.
- Finish a hot shower with a cold water rinse. This stimulates the central nervous system, thereby increasing lymphatic flow.
- Practice regular 5 minute lymphatic massage to help pump the lymphatics and improve drainage of the entire system.
7. STRESS REDUCTION/EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Often overlooked, this avenue is one of the most important channels to keep our bodies healthy. Emotions that are buried and unacknowledged often end up manifesting as disease in the body, so it is crucial that we never sweep those emotions that feel bad under the rug. However, if you’re a member of the human race, then you probably can’t help but do this from time to time. It’s OK! There are plenty of things you can do to help release those old emotions and stressors from the body.
- Take 15 minutes to one hour daily to be still. There are plenty of meditation methods to try. Experiment until you find one that feels right to you.
- The Emotional Freedom Technique. This practice incorporates pressure points to access emotions in a way that allows you to healthfully release them. I’m a huge fan of EFT.
- Good, old-fashioned therapy. Personally, I wish everyone in the world had a therapist. Including therapists, themselves.
- Spend some time in nature. Whether you consciously enjoy being out in nature or you couldn’t care less, there is something about being with nature that automatically relaxes and resets us.
Don’t think you need to be doing ALL of these things listed above ALL the time. That would be madness. However, many of them are easily-accomplished lifestyle changes. The rest? Pick and choose. Figure out with your own naturopathic doctor what your body seems to struggle with. For me, I know that my lymph system seems to be very easily impaired, so I often focus on that. I have also become quite adept at sensing when one of these channels goes out of whack. I can tell how my liver is doing based on how I digest my food, and how my kidneys are based on occasional lower back pain. As you pay closer attention to your body, you’ll become more and more in tune with it.
You may have noticed this, but I covered a whole lot of ground in this post. Are you overwhelmed? Don’t be. I’m hoping this post will serve as a sort of index for many future posts. I could easily write an entire post on each bullet point above, and that’s exactly what I plan to do. So, stay tuned! In the meantime: Thoughts? Wishes? Dreams? Type ‘em up and post ‘em in the comment section below.