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   How to detox safely & naturally

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Aggressive Detoxing

herbal detox

What is an Aggressive Detox?
An agressive detox program is one that is likely to cause discomfort and other side effects.

Aggressive Detox Methods
Herbal kits and fasting are two of the more common methods of aggressive detoxing.

Before You Start an Aggressive Detox

Who Should Detox
Think you need to detox? If you're wondering, you probably do.

Who Should Not Detox
Experts agree that young children, the elderly, the chronically ill, and anyone addicted to drugs or alcohol should only detox under supervised care.

Detox Master Chart
The big picture on how to detox, including detox actions that are appropriate for anyone and those that are not.

Tips for a Successful Detox

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Critical early steps
It's important to process toxins out gradually by improving your diet and supplying your body with the nutrients and supplements that your liver needs to change these toxins into new substances that can be excreted via the bowels and kidneys and skin. 

Set yourself up for success
Tips for a successful detox. Get the most out of your detox program by including the detox support you need.

Tailoring your own program
There are as many combinations of what can be done to achieve this as there are people reading these pages.  That's why we don't advocate a particular one.  You're the one who needs to decide what makes sense for you. 

Detox is a state of mind 
Detox is a state of mind because this process MUST begin in the mind and heart.  A detoxification process is not something someone else can do for you.

After detox
Family dynamics, access to good food, periodic maintainance and ongoing support are all issues you will undoubtedly face after your detox.  Here are some tips for how to manage the post-detox period.

What is an Aggressive Detox?

Whether they be found in health food stores or the arena of alternative therapies, there are a number of detoxification methods that -- though familiar by name -- we consider to be too "assertive" for most people.  This is because these detox programs are quite likely to cause unpleasant side effects to people who most need to undergo detox procedures.  (That is, people suffering the most from toxin-related conditions.)  Also, just like with "yo-yo" dieting, it's very easy to fall into a counter-productive cycle where you relapse back into an all-too-typical modern junk food diet following an aggressive detox.  Still, when used with care, aggressive detoxing can be safe and effective for people with good health and no small measure of stoicism.

Aggressive Detox Methods

The most popular aggressive detox method these days appears to be in the form of herb-based detox kits sold at health food stores.  Several well-known and thoroughly reputable herb and supplement companies offer these kits. The difficulty, from our perspective, is that most of them use "cathartic" herbs, i.e. laxatives, that can cause you to be running frequently to the bathroom, therefore making them inappropriate for persons who work outside their home. 

The kits can also cause other symptoms you may not recognize as such, which you may not be prepared to handle.  For example, when I tried one popular kit, I became so incredibly blue, moody and weepy, that I really wasn't myself.  Frankly, I was ready to throw myself in front of a bus!  I recognize now that it was due to hormones being processed out, but while I was taking the herbs those horrible emotions felt very real.  Because of this and other negative reactions reported by people we know, we regard the effects of most herbal detox kits as inherently unpredictable and potentially hard to control.  Much depends on the specific herbal formulation, your in-going health condition, and the amount and types of toxins which will begin to "aggressively" flow into your bloodstream from your fat cells. 

If a detox reaction is severe, it can create a bad association in a person's mind with any and every form of detoxification.  It's very unfortunate when sincerely health-conscious people are burned by a detox approach they weren't warned could be too aggressive.  (This has happened to several of our friends and relatives.)  When this happens, a person may naturally presume that all detoxification processes will produce similar frightful reactions -- which isn't true. is dedicated to providing you enough insight into detoxification processes so that you can better anticipate the good and bad reactions that various detoxing alternatives may produce for you.  Our intention is to empower you to design a program for yourself through wisely choosing the methods and consequences you are prepared to handle.  As you experiment and get to know yourself better, you become your own best healer.   For more information, see Who Should Detox, Who Should Not Detox and the Detox Master Chart.

Fasting is another fairly familiar detox or cleansing procedure, and it too can be quite rough for the uninitiated.  In fairness to those who fast regularly and who understand its dynamics, it is a tremendously powerful technique for preserving health and facilitating spiritual development.  But if you've never done it, and particularly if you've been eating a typical modern diet of high fat, low fiber, and inadequate fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains -- then you're probably not ready for strenuous fasting.  For convenience sake, we'll define strenuous fasting as anything more than one or two days of fasting.  Strenuous fasting is quite likely to create side-effects (actually the direct effects of those toxins re-entering your bloodstream) that you probably won't be inclined to endure -- unless you know you're a person able to plow through discomfort without wavering.  If you do undertake a strenuous fast, by all means seek out knowledge and support, and don't neglect to take plenty of anti-oxidant nutritional supplements in the weeks leading up to your fast to help your body process the onrush of liberated toxins that shall surely flow.  (Experts generally do not recommend  taking  supplements during a fast.)  

On the other hand, millions of people around the world are familiar with day-long fasting associated with religious holidays, so this level seems to be tolerable to most persons.  For another pretty tolerable fast, see a brief description of Drs. Bennett and Barrie's two-day water fast under Moderate Detoxes.  Their program can work for a lot of people because a two-day fast can be managed within most working people's schedules.

Christopher Hobbs' Natural Liver Therapy and C. J. Poutinen's Herbs for Detoxification both contain programs that gradually taper into a fast-like, liquid-only diet.  We believe these programs can be very beneficial to persons who have already cleaned up their act considerably and who have the ability to control their work and life to the extent that they can take ten days to two weeks to concentrate on a relative lack of food.  This will not be people with high stress jobs, unless they do it while on vacation.  Likewise, people with busy family lives to coordinate wouldn't be good candidates for these programs, unless someone else agrees to take over running errands, keeping up with housework and doing the cooking for the rest of the family.  Fatigue and irritability are an expected part of aggressive detoxification programs, but you don't want to aggravate those reactions by trying to undertake an overly ambitious program.  Giving the body a period of physical and emotional rest is part of the concept. 

In his book, The Detox Diet, Eldon Haas, M.D. devotes a chapter to fasting and introduces it by saying that fasting "is the single greatest natural healing therapy I know."  He continues by describing it as "nature's ancient, universal remedy for many problems, used instinctively by animals when ill and by earlier cultures for healing and spiritual purification."  His recommendations are for juice fasting which still supplies many nutrients and which stimulates the body to clear wastes.

There are lots of books written specifically on the subject of fasting, but we have not yet been able to evaluate them.  If you're familiar with fasting and books on the subject and have an opinion about which are the best, we'd welcome your input. 

Finally, if you are pregnant or nursing, if you are obese or depressed, if you suffer from an addiction or a chronic health problem of any kind, or if you believe for any other reason that you have an unusually high concentration of toxins stored  in your body, do not attempt an aggressive detox without first consulting a licensed healthcare provider.  Quite simply, your health could be at stake.  (See Dangers of Detoxing).  Also, if you begin a strenuous detox and begin to feel really sick or just plain awful -- back off into a more gentle form of detoxing.

If this article has scared you off from attempting an aggressive detox, perhaps you should count yourself more wise than faint-hearted.  In any event, all the health benefits of either Gentle or Moderate detoxing can still be yours -- with substantially less suffering.

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