So far I’ve talked about cleansing from an external perspective, outside your body. The next few articles will be about cleansing your body from the inside out. There are many cleansing programs and regimes available, I will be covering just a few of these. Cleansing is not a one size fits all process and it’s important for you to know your body and recognize how you are feeling on a day to day basis. This way you can identify how you feel when detoxing and adjust accordingly. I am not a holistic doctor and cannot prescribe treatments, but I can offer you information and some firsthand experience. One of the most important factors in cleansing is “common sense”. If you don’t have any, you should start gathering some before going any further.
Natural Cleansing Our bodies were designed with several ways to eliminate toxins. Some of the obvious routes are through our breath (so keep breathing), our skin (anti-perspirants stop this process and should be avoided, most also contain heavy metals that enter right into the blood stream and lymphatic system), and our systems of elimination (keep yourself hydrated and “regular”). If any of these basic functions are not working optimaly, toxins can build up in your system.
Breathing helps eliminate toxins so it is important to breathe regularly. This may sound simple but pay attention to your breath patterns over a couple of days. In yoga classes I teach breathing exercises. Adjusting your breath can affect many body systems. Breath can calm you down (when you exhale more than you inhale) and energize you (inhaling greater than your exhale). For daily activities it is simply important to breathe regularly and not hold your breath. This often happens in points of stress or anxiety when breathing is exactly what your body needs to settle down.
What is your skin drinking in? Skin is another point where toxins should naturally be released. We have, however, created our own problem with this when we apply chemicals to our skin that introduce toxins into our bodies via the bloodstream. While some substances could be absorbed as quickly as 26 seconds into the bloodstream after being applied to the skin, the reality is that some are absorbed into the skin and then slowly continue to release into the bloodstream for hours or even days even after a product has been washed off. Check out www.safecosmetics.org for a quick view on all the chemicals we may be subject to simply from the body products we use day to day. With layers of soap, shampoo, lotions, perfumes, hairspray, make-up, etc. it doesn’t take long for us to become covered in a chemical cocktail, making it even more important to clean up your environment. If you lessen your exposure to these outside influences, you give your body a fighting chance to eliminate toxins via the skin (mostly in the form of sweating).
Help your body naturally eliminate The last area our bodies eliminate toxins is through our major organs. It is essential that the liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and digestive tract are all operating at their best to help this process along. If any of these organs becomes sluggish in function, the toxin removal will be compromised. The easiest area to maintain is the colon, through regular elimination. Constipation slows down the body’s natural method of cleansing and allows toxins to build up in the system. Staying hydrated and eating plenty of good quality fiber are two easy ways to keep things moving along. Enzymes and whole foods keep your digestive tract healthy.
Supporting your body’s natural methods of cleansing will help you feel better day to day and make any cleansing program you take on more effective. Watch for the next article on cleansing: Fire & Ice, which includes detoxing with hydrotherapy – and I promise I won’t be covering colon irrigation.