The understanding that harmful toxins accumulate in the body over time, disrupting the body's natural processes and leading to a wide variety of diseases and disorders, has existed for thousands of years. With the advent and proliferation of modern chemistry, the number of harmful toxins we're exposed to on a daily basis has risen significantly.
We absorb toxins through the food we eat, the water we drink, directly through our skin, and through the air we breath. The products we use are literally filled with many different chemicals that are known to be highly toxic, but nonetheless have been deemed useful by industry for the production, transport or packaging of the products they make. In most cases the amounts we are exposed to are tiny and the body can process the substance out with no problem.
Unfortunately, some of the toxins we're exposed to are what scientists call "durable" or "persistent", meaning they tend to accumulate in tissues rather than being eliminated through normal means, and that can they remain toxic in the environment for long periods of time, so that even small amounts can build up in the food chain.
This is why holistic health professionals now say that detoxing and cleansing your body is just as essential as addressing nutrient inadequacies when thinking about your overall health. Your body has seven systems for the removal of harmful toxins: your skin, lung, colon, liver, kidney, bloodstream and the lymphatic system. To ensure that complete detoxing happens, all these systems must be supported. Because they are so heavily involved in the body's natural filtering processes, the liver, kidneys and colon are particularly susceptible to the build up of toxins.
Detox & Cleansing TreatmentsColon cleansing: An unhealthy diet low in fiber can cause a build up of toxic waste materials on the wall of the colon. In colon hydrotherapy water is used to therapeutically induce elimination. This is accomplished by repeated infusions of warm water into the colon. A mixture of herbs is also used to help removes the feces, along with any unwanted parasites and their eggs via a normal bowel movement. As opposed to chemical laxatives, colon cleansing doesn't promote dependency, and it helps tone the bowel allowing it to operate normally.
This method is extremely good at freeing your body of harmful toxins and dangerous bacteria. Following the colon cleanse it's important to restore the healthy intestinal flora the body needs for proper digestion and to increase optimal health and wellness. A protocol that incorporates hydrotherapy for colon cleansing starts with two to three treatments over a period of several days to a week. The treatment is then repeated as necessary every three to six months.
Saunas and steam baths: Bodily wastes are removed through the skin (the body's largest organ) whenever we sweat. During these treatments, steam is used to open the pores. Heat also increases circulation so that harmful toxins are removed from the cells by the lymphatic fluid, which is then released by the lymph system as you perspire.
Nutritional changes and dietary supplements: Some foods, spices and herbs promote the elimination of harmful toxins and should therefore be integrated into the diet regularly. Minerals and vitamins, particularly those with antioxidant qualities (vitamins A, C, E for example) can assist the body in the elimination of harmful toxins. Cilantro is an example of an herb that helps to chelate heavy metals out of the body.
Almost all detox and cleansing protocols require adherence to particular nutritional recommendations in order to be effective. Many also involve a few days of fasting and/or juicing. It's important to always drink lots of water during a cleanse, because the kidneys require it in order to operate effectively. Eating a diet high in fiber is another fundamental requirement. The fiber in fruits, veggies, beans, whole grain products, and nuts can help absorb and take away many harmful toxins.
Chelation therapy: This is used specifically to remove heavy metals like mercury and arsenic from the body. Chelating agents like DMSA and EDTA, are administered either orally or intravenously. These agents function by making chemical bonds with metal ions, rendering them much less chemically reactive, The resulting complex is also water-soluble, which allows it enter the bloodstream and be excreted.
Herbal cleansing programs: Many ancient cultures used herbal treatments for medicine. Among the many medicinal herbs used worldwide, roughly 25 are for cleansing and detoxing. These herbal treatments fall into two groups: those employed for purification and those employed for revitalization. Herbal treatments eliminate the harmful toxins in the organs, while stimulating herbal treatments soothe and strengthen the organs. The most widely used herbal detox formulas involves lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, ginger and turmeric.
Exercise and breathing: Your body is so amazing that the most fundamental thing we do every day -- breathing -- also helps you to remove toxic matter in the cells. Movement is literally the pump for the lymphatic system, which is directly involved in the removal of toxins, and we've already noted above the importance of breaking a sweat now and then!
Alkaline water: The intake of alkaline water has been shown to offer major health advantages over plain tap water or many brands of bottled water. Alkaline water consists of negatively charged ions that form small molecules, which enables it to move minerals, nutrition and food through cell membranes more easily. It also helps get rid of waste materials, toxins and chemicals. Alkaline water also functions as an antioxidant, reducing cellular damage caused by free radicals. Alkaline water should be consumed every day.
It's important to understand that detoxing the body is a serious undertaking, especially when the techniques being used are those that draw toxins out of organs and tissues into the bloodstream. If the toxins are drawn out into the bloodstream and not quickly eliminated, then they are likely to simply relocate, which is why a healing crisis can actually be triggered by the detox process. The side effects of doing a detox-cleanse can include fatigue, headache, nausea, and diarrhea.
Always use trained professionals when undertaking a detox/cleanse, and consult with a medical doctor before beginning any course of treatment. Holistic health and wellness retreats like SpiritQuest Sedona, usually offer any a mix of the detox options referred to above, and can consult with you to determine which combination of treatments will work best.