Detox Therapies for Detox and Cleansing Support
Whatever detox method you are using to cleanse your body, you will get the most out of your detox program by supporting the process with therapeutic baths, massage, light exercise, teas, breathing, yoga, and other adjuncts that assist the body in detoxifying and rebuilding.
Add at least a few of these therapies to your detox program:
Enemas and Colonics - During your detox program most all of the toxins being released from your cells and tissue will end up in the colon. Enemas are really an essential ingredient of a detox program, and so I don't offer this therapy as a option. You really should perform an enema or do a colonic at least once during a short detox program, and repeatedly for a longer detox program. See Enemas for more information about this.
Shower Hydrotherapy - This is a hot/cold shower practice. It's one of my favorites, and it's very simple. Take a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to heat your body. Don't use scalding water, but make it as hot as you can comfortably tolerate. After 5 minutes, shower with cold water for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, shower again in the hot water for several minutes, followed by 30 seconds of cold water. Do this a total of three times, and then rest in bed for 30 minutes.
Epsom Salt Bath - Epsom salts can draw toxins out of your body. Start with a very clean tub, take a shower first, then fill the tub with the hottest water you can stand. Begin with l/4 cup of epsom salts, work up gradually to 4 cups, and as long as l/2 hour. If you experience light-headedness, drain the tub, and wait until you feel steady to leave the tub. Otherwise, take a shower after and dry off with a clean towel. With dry skin brushing, essential oils and soothing music, this can be a luxurious, yet inexpensive detox technique.
Deep Breathing Exercises - The breath is nourishing to the body. Deep breathing is energizing and revitalizing -- it oxygenates the body, stimulates the circulatory system and lightly massages your internal organs. Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. tells us that deep breathing can help us with problems ranging from stress and anxiety to digestion and elimination. Here are two breathing exercises Andrew recommends, one is energizing, the other calming.
Exercise - Exercise is the other essential detox therapy. If you do only 2 adjunct therapies on this list during your detox program, make it enemas and exercise. Unless you are doing a very short detox program, keep the exercise light. Determine the amount and intensity of your exercise based on the length and intensity of your detox program. The longer and more intense your detox, the lighter you should go on exercise.
Stimulating Breath Exercise - This is a wonderful exercise for the morning and mid-afternoon. I recommend doing both. Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose with your mouth closed and jaw relaxed. The inbreath and outbreath should be short and equal in length. This is not a silent breath, you will hear the sound of the rapid breath entering and leaving your nostrils. Breathe in and out in this fashion 3 times and then take one deep, normal breath. Repeat this about 10 times initially. If this amount is comfortable, you can increase the repetitions. Eventually, try to work your way up to one minute of the repeated cycles of 3. This is excellent for providing an energy boost, and you should feel quite refreshed afterward.
Detox Teas - A number of commercially prepared detox teas are available. They contain detoxifying herbs that assist your body's ability to convert endotoxins and exotoxins to molecules that can be processed out via the bowel or kidneys. If you'd like to create your own with bulk herbs from the health food store, Christopher Hobbs' Natural Liver Therapy has some excellent herbal detox tea recipes.
Supplements - Happily, there seems to be a lot of agreement on the supplements one should take to make sure the body has the essentials for facilitating its natural detoxification processes. To understand why these supplements are SO important, I suggest you read either Sidney MacDonald Baker, M.D.'s Detoxification & Healing or Jeffrey Bland's The 20-Day Rejuvenation Diet Program. In the meantime, read about how the body detoxifies. Here's more information on detox supplements and herbs for detox.
Massage - Therapeutic massage, especially by a massage therapist trained in lymphatic massage, can be a tremendous boost to your detox. The lymph system carries metabolic waste products and toxins away from the cells. Stimulating the lymph system helps the body's natural detoxification processes. In their book, 7-Day Detox Miracle, Drs. Barrie and Bennett report that massage can be helpful in stimulating the extra-cellular matrix, the space around the cells where toxins collect.
Saunas - Saunas are a wonderful way to foster your body's detoxification processes, though they are not recommended for women who are pregnant. The heat from the sauna may cause neural tube defects in the fetus during the first trimester of pregnancy. Since many women do not know they are pregnant during this time, women of child-bearing age whould have a pregnancy test before beginning sauna treatment. Those with heart disease, kidney disease or anemia should also refrain from saunas. The heat of the sauna causes you to sweat, and while sweating , your body releases toxins, including heavy metals. In their book, 7-Day Detox Miracle, Drs. Barrie and Bennett state, "The body stores many toxins in fatty tissue. Sweating therapy reduces fat stores quickly, releasing these poisons for excretion through the stimulation of receptors in the fat. Tissue biochemistry and nervous system functioning undergo changes in sauna therapy, activating fat stores and facilitating fat loss." (Pg. 78) They devote almost three pages in their book to describe how best to use sauna therapy in conjunction with their seven-day detox plan. If you have been exposed to high levels of heavy metals, this therapy should be done with the help of a qualified health care practitioner. Natural Detoxification: The Complete Guide to Clearing Your Body of Toxins by Jacqueline Krohn, M.D., contains a list of qualified clinics and practitioners in its appendix.
Dry Skin Brushing - Dry skin brushing is an excellent and easy way to stimulate the lymph system, which is a central player in the body's natural detoxification processes.Skin brushing also removes old skin cells, which can help your skin excrete toxins through the pores. Here's how to do it: Immediately before showering or bathing, start with the feet and gently brush up toward the heart. Brush from the extremities toward the center. Brush gently in a circular motion around your abdomen and breasts. It only takes a minute or two...not long! The right dry skin brush is made of vegetable bristles that are neither too stiff nor too soft. It shouldn't scratch, but you should feel some friction against the skin. Learn more about dry skin brushing. Here is a step by step guide on how to dry skin brush.
Yoga - Yoga can be a very powerful tool in conjunction with your efforts to detox. Peter Bennett, N.D. says in the 7-Day Detox Miracle: "The benefits of yoga for detoxification are unequaled. In our experience, people who practice yoga regularly are by far the healthiest of all our patients. Our personal experience confirms that yoga training is ideal for attaining optimal health." (pp. 215-216). Yoga stimulates circulation of the blood and lymph fluid, improves digestion, relieves stress and nervous tension, releases salts and toxins that can accumulate in the joints, and improves concentration and mental acuity. See more information here on yoga and detox.
Hypnotherapy - I'm adding this for those who are not only pursuing a detox program, but interested in making significant changes to their diet and lifestyle. If you have had problems in the past with sticking to diets, quitting smoking or maintaining other lifestyle improvements, hypnotherapy can help reprogram your mind. During the process and with your consent, the hypnotherapist "plants" suggestions in your subconscious mind. The American Institute of Hypnotherapy's website, www.hypnosis.com, can help you find a reputable hypnotherapist.
Walking is a perfect exercise to include in your detox program. In his book, The 20-Day Rejuvenation Diet Program, Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., (one of the leading champions of body detoxification), suggests an average of 15 minutes of walking a day. According to Dr. Bland, "Regular activity helps your body detoxify and excrete toxins more rapidly, thus serving as a major contributor to an overall detoxification program." The most beneficial level of exercise is that which causes you to perspire--a point at which toxins are released naturally through the skin. Overexerting, however, becomes counterproductive, because it can induce oxidative stress.
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