Due to today's environmental contaminants and artificial foods, unhealthy fats and sugars, our bodies are in serious need of regular cleansing to reduce damage to our immune systems and metabolism. Detoxification techniques maximize the body's energy and prevent chronic illness. It is also a time-honored way to keep digestive elimination regular, circulation under control and stress to a minimum. Incorporate the following detoxifying techniques into your life, add regular exercise and sustain a nutrient rich organic diet to enjoy optimal health and well-being.
Massage is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment. First recorded in China in the second century B.C., massage is an excellent method to improve lymph movement and blood flow. This in turn, aids in getting cellular waste products and accumulated toxins out of tissues, into the bloodstream and to the kidneys where they are eliminated in urine. Aromatic essential oils, such as lemon and grapefruit, enhance the detoxification process as does regularity of treatments. Massage should be enjoyed on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis to ensure the treatments reach the body’s deepest layers, where unwanted substances can build up over time.
Used by ancient Greek physicians, in the ornate bath complexes of the Romans, in the sweat lodges of North American Natives and in the steam baths of the Scandinavians, hyperthermia techniques heat body temperature to above normal. The heat gets your heart beating and your blood circulating. Steam helps clear the sinuses, relieves respiratory congestion, and causes sweating which, in turn, aids in elimination of toxins through pores. Be sure to drink adequate amounts of water before, during, and after heat treatments to replace lost fluid.
Dry skin brushing is a European technique that has been used to remove the top layer of old skin, aiding in the elimination of mucous residues and uric acid crystals. Dry skin brushing increases cell renewal, cleans the lymph system and stimulates circulation. It also opens pores for better assimilation of nutrients. Use an all-natural vegetable fiber brush with a long handle to reach out-of-the-way places. Brush from the outermost points—the feet and hands—toward the center of your body. Brush bottoms of the feet, as nerve endings here effect the entire body. Brush across your upper back and down the front and back of your torso. Use lighter strokes over breasts and do not brush the nipples. Wash your brush every few weeks in water and let it dry.
Chlorophyll-rich foods, such as spirulina, chlorella and leafy greens help clear the skin, cleanse the kidneys and clean and build the blood. Eating chlorophyll-rich food will help boost immunity and rid the body of unwanted substances. Purchase these green super foods in powder form at your local health food store and add them to your fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies to sustain well-being.
Said to be first enjoyed by a Chinese emperor in 2,700 BC, green tea is rich in flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-allergen properties. Green tea combats free radical damage to protect against degenerative disease and boosts enzyme production in the body. It also has antibiotic, antiviral, and antibacterial properties and is highly valued as a cancer preventative. Sip two to three cups daily for the greatest benefit.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is one of the best liver-cleansing tonic herbs. The Romans mixed the herb with honey as a remedy for excess bile. Milk thistle is rich in nutrients and antioxidants to prevent free radical damage. Burdock, known as the plant of longevity, is one of the best blood purifiers of the herbal world. Its use dates back to ancient Greece. The leaves make a delightful medicinal addition to soups and salads. You may also chop the root in vinegar to drizzle over green salads.
India’s ayurvedic system of health utilizes breathing techniques, or pranayama, to settle, balance and detoxify the body. Certain breathing techniques enhance the body’s ability to eliminate toxins because detoxification is directly related to the delivery of oxygen to cells and removal of carbon dioxide. Try a technique called calm belly breathing (breathing into the gravitational center of the body to ease stress and anxiety). Start by lying down in a relaxation pose: on your back with arms relaxed to the side and palms up, feet naturally splayed open and eyes closed. (If you need to modify this pose due to pain in the lower back, simply bend the knees, leaning them against one another, or if the legs are extended place a towel underneath the head and/or knees.) Now exhale without force while observing the navel fall. Breathe in and out through the nose for five minutes. Focus on the navel rising and falling during this period.