Article written and submitted by Anne Graham
Everyone is guilty of overdoing it sometimes: working too hard, not getting enough sleep, or overindulging with the food and drink that you are using to fuel your body. When you are run down and need to rejuvenate, your body has a range of subtle ways of letting you know. You will begin feeling tired, your body will ache, and your energy levels will begin to drop. You won’t be able to think clearly, particularly towards the end of the day, and instead of bouncing out of bed in the morning you will crave another couple of hours sleep. If you’re recognising any of these symptoms in yourself then it might be time to cleanse your body, or even consider taking part in a more intensive detox.
We are both intentionally and unintentionally exposed to a wide array of toxins on a daily basis. Large quantities of the food we consume contain pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Air and water pollution means we are regularly exposed to dangerous chemicals, such as mercury and arsenic. And if you choose to consume alcohol then the toxins it contains can not only damage your liver, they can also shrink your brain cells. That’s why many holistic medical professionals recommend that everyone undergo regular body cleanses and a detox to lessen their internal toxin level at least once a year.
Cleansing is a gentle and high level way of beginning to remove some toxins from your body that you can undertake at home independently in the short term, and whilst it is not intensive enough to fully rid your body of all the toxins it has built up over several years, it is a good way to kick start a new health regime. Detox is a much more intensive and long term way to entirely rid the body of toxins: it requires a more long term commitment, professional support, and a full analysis of your day to day life. Whilst the methods outlined here can be beneficial to most people in the short term, provided you are in good health and have no pre-existing health conditions, it is important to note that if you choose to take part in a more intensive detoxification programme then you should first seek the approval of your physician (particularly if you do have existing health concerns) and the support of a qualified natural health care professional. Detoxing can have a hugely positive effect on your body, but only when undertaken with the right support, and within the right parameters. If you prefer a more short term and gentle programme then here’s how you can begin to remove toxins from your body in a holistic way, and the benefits you can expect to experience:
Drink Plenty of Water
Water plays a significant role in both a short term cleanse and in a more intensive and long term holistic detox, and is considered the best way to reduce the toxins in your gut whilst also kick starting your immune system. Drink a glass of lukewarm or hot water as soon as you wake up every day for two weeks: this will help to rehydrate your body after a night without any fluid intake, and will also help your digestive system to function better. For a more intense effect, continue to drink a glass of hot water every two hours for the rest of the day, and continue to do so for seven days. This will open up your guts natural drainage system, and enable the toxins to flow out. Whilst you are enjoying your body cleanse, you should only drink water or other clear liquids (such as water with lemon) so that you don’t introduce any new toxins to your body.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Whilst many programmes ask that you maintain a liquid diet for a short period of time (a 24 hour fast or a 48 hour juicing cleanse, for example) this is largely unsustainable and may have a negative impact on your body. Instead a more holistic and gentler method of cleansing and revitalising your body recommends that you eat as many deep coloured vegetables as possible (such as kale, turnip, broccoli, dandelion, Swiss chard, or beet greens.) Eating these foods will help your body to begin to get rid of its toxins and waste without experiencing the digestive discomfort that often accompanies fasting. You can choose to enjoy your rich vegetables as a juice, as part of a salad, or enjoy them hot in lieu of a traditional evening meal.
Sweat it Out
Sweating is a wonderful and natural way to rid your body of toxins. You can choose to work up a sweat by either enjoying some cardio exercise (which has the added benefit of being good for your body and for your heart health) or by jumping in the sauna. Sweating enables toxins and other waste products to exit your body through the pores in your skin. When you are cleansing your body you should aim to sweat for around 15 minutes every day, in order to help your body rid itself of as many toxins as possible: follow up your sweat routine with some dry body brushing, in order to unclog your pores and ensure your skin remains in tip top condition.
Many mainstream detox programmes require that you add additional unwanted substances to your body, but with a holistic cleanse you already have to tools that you need to feel more refreshed and improve your health in your armoury. Aim to enjoy your holistic cleanse programme for at least a week, and for no more than two weeks in order to achieve optimal results. Repeat whenever you feel that your body has been re-toxified and is in need of rejuvenation.