Health Benefits of Gentle Detoxification
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the fall season is an excellent time of year to engage in a gentle detoxifying cleanse for greater health and wellness. According to ancient TCM philosophy, every season correlates with different elements and organ systems in the body. The fall season give emphasis to the large intestines, the lungs and emotions of sadness or grief. As such, a gentle fall detox using a cleansing diet, natural supplements and mind-body methods such as meditative breathing, offers an ideal way to lighten our systems, improve digestion and increase overall well being. By gently cleansing the physical, mental and emotional toxins (including heavy metals, pesticides, environmental toxins; toxic emotions and thought patterns, etc.) we can greatly boost our energy and vitality in preparation for the winter ahead.
Signs of Toxin Overload
Toxin overload in the body can express itself through a dizzying array of symptoms. The most common are chronic digestive complaints, joint problems, skin conditions, persistent allergies, frequent colds or flu, head and body aches, lethargy, weight gain, irritability and mental fog. (If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, however, it’s important to see your doctor to rule out other possible conditions.)
Health Benefits of Gentle Detoxification
Normally, our detoxification organs and systems — liver, kidneys, digestive, lymphatic, lungs and skin — would successfully eliminate most contaminants. In today’s world however, many of us can benefit significantly and noticeably from a gentle seasonal cleanse. The health effects are numerous and can often be experienced in just a matter of days, particularly greater energy and vitality. Other important benefits include improved digestion and immunity, reduced inflammation, stabilized blood sugar, increased circulation, healthier weight, balanced hormones, clearer skin and improved well-being on all levels. Long-term exposure to toxins has also been linked to numerous types of cancer, diabetes and other chronic, life-threatening conditions.
Getting Started: How to Avoid a “Healing Crisis”
When engaging in a seasonal cleanse, people sometimes feel worse initially. This is what’s usually referred to as a “healing crisis,” and is often mistaken for a good sign that your detox program is working. However, this thinking is flawed: Anything that makes you feel unwell is obviously going to make it very difficult to stick with your program, and may even cause further problems. I like to use the metaphor of the kitchen drawers. If your cleanse program is so potent that it causes you to “dump” everything out of your “kitchen drawers” all at once, you are going to have a huge mess that is hard to clean up. But if you go slowly with a step-by-step process, thorough detoxification is much more manageable – and can even be enjoyable!
A detox crisis is largely avoidable simply by following the right steps, and moving at a gentle and gradual pace. In my article Clean Your Body from the Inside Out — Detox Correctly, I outline the TCM principle of the “detox stations,” and the sequential order in which our organs and detox systems operate to remove toxins and waste. By gently cleansing the blood and circulatory system first with diet and the right supplements, and following the order of the “detox cycles” within our bodies, we can enjoy a much gentler and more effective cleanse.
Start with an Alkalizing Diet
An alkalizing, plant-based dietemphasizing vegetables, fruits, whole legumes and gluten-free grains forms the foundation of a successful cleanse. Vegetables such as greens, cruciferous vegetables and seaweeds are all great examples of cleansing, alkalizing foods. For an in-depth article explaining the benefits of an alkalizing diet, see my blog: The Importance of an Alkalizing Diet.
For easy reference, here’s a beautiful chart of cleansing, alkaline foods at a glance.
Lemon and Olive Oil Drink: A Simple yet Powerful Detox Therapy
One of my favorite cleansing adjuncts is the classic lemon and olive oil drink. It is simple, inexpensive and easy to prepare, and offers a dramatic boost to any cleanse program by providing support to the liver and gallbladder.
You will need:
- 1 organic lemon cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon organic olive oil
- 1 1/4 cup filtered water
Take the pieces of lemon (seeds removed) and blend with the water and the olive oil. Strain the contents and drink each night before bed on an empty stomach. As an extra bonus, many people find that that this refreshing drink improves their sleep as well.
Cleansing Herbs and Nutrients
Phase I and Phase II Detox Formulas
As mentioned, it’s important to begin slowly by first cleansing the blood and digestion of circulating toxins. One of the safest and most effective ways to achieve this is with a clinically proven blend of Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) and modified alginates. This marks the first phase of detoxification, which can last anywhere from one to three months, accompanied by an alkalizing diet and other gentle cleansing supplements such as medicinal mushrooms and digestive aids (see below).
After this initial phase 1 period, you will have given your body sufficient time to clear out circulating toxins, making way for a deeper phase 2 detox process. For this more in-depth detoxification phase, I recommend a formula containing a blend of powerful detoxifying herbs and nutraceuticals, which bind and remove heavy metals and toxins from deep within our organs and tissues. Published clinical studies show that the combination of the phase 1 and phase 2 detox formulas reduced overall heavy metal and environmental toxin levels within the body by up to 74%. The phase 2 detox formula contains a number of natural sulfur-containing compounds which support and enhance vital energy and assist the organs of elimination. Both phase 1 and phase 2 detox formulas simultaneously remove harmful toxins and heavy metals without effecting essential mineral levels within the body, as demonstrated in published clinical trials.
In addition, ongoing research on Modified Citrus Pectin, the main ingredient within the phase 1 formula, shows that this unique ingredient offers powerful anti-cancer and immune boosting benefits.
Medicinal mushrooms demonstrate unique intelligence in the body: They are drawn to specific areas within the body that have been damaged from toxins, injury or illness. They are great allies during all phases of a cleanse because they can help to gently remove toxins from organs and tissues, where they may have been stored for years. Additionally, mushrooms help prime the immune system, support digestion and cardiovascular health, and much more. A comprehensive medicinal mushroom formula that contains a synergistic blend of 10 organic mushroom species is a highly recommended choice for removing toxins from stagnant areas of the body. These mushrooms also provide a significant and noticeable boost to overall vitality.
Another critical part of any detox program is to ensure that your digestive system has the support it needs. With a comprehensive digestive supplement, you can enhance the processes of nutrient breakdown and elimination, as well as support immune function and aid detoxification. This poly-botanical and nutritional formula gently yet effectively boosts sluggish digestion, reduces harmful bacteria from the GI tract, and relieves symptoms of bloating, nausea, flatulence, fluid retention and indigestion. This is critical during a cleanse, where digestive capacity needs to function at its best in order to ensure efficient elimination and removal of toxins.
Pre and Probiotics
High quality prebiotic and probiotic supplements are also very important during a cleanse. One of the goals of cleansing and detoxifying is to rid the intestines of harmful bacteria, fungus and parasites. Replanting and nourishing beneficial bacteria in the GI tract with pre and probiotics significantly helps to reduce the presence of harmful invaders and improve the overall environment in your gut, leading to increased digestive capacity and vitality.
Treatments and Exercises
It is critical to keep things moving during a cleanse so that toxins (and afflictive mental/emotional states) that are in the process of being eliminated do not get stuck and create further areas of stagnation. Try your best to engage in mild to moderate exercise, even just 15 minutes of walking, every day of your cleanse. In addition, specific treatments that promote the movement of vital energy within the body can be very helpful in deepening and enhancing the clearing process. Acupuncture, lymphatic drainage massage, microcurrent therapy, homeopathic treatments, infrared saunas, yoga and Qi Gong, and breathing exercises are some of my top recommended modalities for ensuring the movement of vital energy within the body to support natural detoxification processes.
Dehydration can lead to inflammation and oxidative stress, which increases toxicity in the body. Drink plenty of pure water and herbal tea to help assist the flushing of toxins from your body and keep your natural detox functions running smoothly. Good hydration is essential to overall health.
What about Colonics?
Many people recommend colonics and enemas during a cleanse, as a way to assist the large intestines in its job of elimination. While these therapies may be beneficial for some people (many certainly swear by them), it is important to understand that this method of detoxification represents one small aspect of a total body cleanse, and not the most important one.
A successful cleanse uses herbs and nutrients along with proper diet and exercises, to help re-balance the body’s innate detoxification processes safely and naturally. The results are greater vitality and overall health, naturally.
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