Today’s world exposes us to toxic chemicals on a daily basis. To stay healthy and handle being bombarded by these foreign compounds, our bodies have a process called detoxification. Detoxification helps our bodies get rid of these harmful substances.Detoxification is also the process by which our bodies get rid of excess and used hormones and natural waste products from normal physiological processes.
Your body is built to detoxify from pollutants and has built-in mechanisms to remove toxins. When most people think of detoxification, they are thinking about the liver and the kidneys.
There are other detoxification methods (which are spectacular and relaxing) using self-care methods.
How Detoxification Works
Detoxification occurs in several places in the body, including the skin, kidneys, and intestines. The primary organ tasked with the majority of detoxification, however, is the liver. The goal of detoxification in the liver is to convert toxins into water-soluble forms so they can more easily be excreted, typically via the urine or feces. In this process, the liver functions similarly to a dishwasher that first cleans the dishes and then rinses them with hot water. These two steps of detoxification are called Phase I and Phase II. Both phases need to be working well in order for toxins to be properly eliminated from the body.
Adding the following techniques to your self-care program will do wonders for your body and mind – and help your body detoxify!
Take the time to add these suggestions to your routine and you will reap the benefits!
1. Dry Skin Brushing
Dry skin brushing is a simple, inexpensive, and effective technique for increasing circulation and aiding the lymphatic system in detoxification. Before jumping in the shower or soaking in the bath, use a skin brush on dry skin in light, upward strokes toward the heart. My favorite set is here.
Use a ‘dry brush’ to massage your entire body before getting into the shower. Use a circular motion and work towards the heart. Then shower or bathe. This facilitates circulation and toxic elimination through the skin.
2. Detox Baths
Detox baths can be especially useful if you are experiencing headaches, body aches, skin eruptions, brain fog, or exhaustion. Take a warm bath with Epsom salt added to soothe, relax and detox. Add these baths into your routine 2-3 times per week. They will help your body detoxify, soothe the nervous system, and promote better sleep. You may rub on the salt with a warm, wet washcloth in a bath or shower (very invigorating!):
- Fill your bathtub with warm water (comfortable to the touch).
- I recommend using a water filter for your bath water or purchasing a chlorine-removing bath ball because most tap water contains chlorine, fluoride, and many other toxic chemicals.
- Add 2 pounds of Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) and 2 pounds of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).
- Soak for 20-25 minutes and add more warm water as needed. Sweating helps the detoxification process.
- Keep a nourishing beverage close by during your bath (i.e. cucumber lemon water, coconut water, iced herbal tea).
- Enhance your experience with relaxing music, an enjoyable book, candles or essential oils. Enjoy the moment. Doing this just before bedtime will help you get a better night’s rest.
3. Jump on a Rebounder
Jump on a rebounder (mini trampoline) for 3-5 minutes at a time. This shakes up your entire body and is useful for stimulating your lymph drainage system, moving those toxins OUT!
4. Hot and Cold Hydrotherapy
Try your own ‘hydrotherapy’ in the shower by alternating hot and cold. This stimulates circulation and your immune system. You can also do a sauna/cold shower/sauna etc., if you belong to a gym. This is not for the squeamish, but it is very invigorating!
5. Tongue Scraping
A tongue scraper is an inexpensive, blunt-edged stainless steel utensil that removes debris from the surface of the tongue. This tool works better at cleaning deep deposits of bacteria and fungus from the tongue than a stiff toothbrush. Removing unwanted bacteria helps fight cavities and eliminate bad breath. Tongue scraping also enhances your ability to taste the true flavors of foods. Directions:
- Apply a few quick strokes, 2–3 times a day.
- Use the rounded cleaning edge to scrape gently down the tongue several times while applying slight pressure.
- Rinse the tongue scraper under running water and gently scrape again until no white residue is remaining.
- There should not be any pain or gagging. If you feel any discomfort, you are probably scraping too hard or starting too far back on the tongue.
My favorite one is this one.
6. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that helps the body to rid itself of accumulated toxins in the mouth and gums. The mouth is full of bacteria that can contribute to cavities and gum disease. If unwanted bacteria get into the bloodstream, it can cause an array of health problems throughout the body.
Oil pulling stimulates the immune system to fight toxins in the mouth and prevents them from finding their way into our bloodstream. This safe, simple practice is absolutely essential if you have ever had a root canal or are experiencing any infection in the mouth. Oil pulling not only removes bacteria and fungus, but helps make your teeth whiter, gums brighter, and breath fresher.
The most beneficial oil to use for this practice is raw coconut oil. Coconut oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties that help eliminate the buildup of toxins.
If you struggle with anxiety, try using organic sesame oil instead of coconut oil. Sesame seed oil is calming and it can also be rubbed on the feet and face at night before bed.
I recommend starting out slowly. The process can feel very foreign at first. Try oil pulling for 5 minutes at a time and then build up to 15 minutes a day for 4 weeks. Directions:
- Put 1 teaspoon of oil in your mouth (it will melt quickly) and pull it through your teeth, using a sucking and pulling action rather than a swishing motion (like mouthwash).
- You can add 2 drops of oregano essential oil before putting in your mouth for additional antibacterial support.
- When finished, spit the oil out and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water, then spit again.
- If you use sesame oil, it will turn into a thick white milky substance (full of bacteria). This does not happen with coconut oil because of the nature of the oil, but you are still extracting considerable amounts of toxins and bacteria.
7. Infrared Sauna
The infrared band in the spectrum of light is the one we perceive as heat. It makes the body sweat at lower temperatures than the ones needed for regular convection heated saunas, so people tolerate it better. Because IR penetrates deeper – up to three inches – it mobilizes and burns fat, which not only helps with weight loss but with detoxification, since many of the toxins we absorb are surrounded and trapped by fat. Infrared saunas are also smaller and easier to install than regular saunas and are more affordable. Look for Infrared saunas, which are “low EMF” rated.
8. Daily Elimination (Poop!)
Your body has built-in detoxification methods – we just need to make sure they work; that is – daily bowel movements.
Bowel movements are your body’s way of taking out the trash! Constipation promotes recycling and uptake of toxins and used hormones your body is trying hard to get rid of. Relieving constipation can be tricky. Everything from the food you eat, to how much water you drink, to stress, to movement and even to how your body has been trained affects your body’s ability to eliminate.
If you are having trouble with constipation, don’t be embarrassed? It’s incredibly important to have daily bowel movements and a sign of good health.
9.Drink a Good Amount of Water!
This is a simple tip but guess what? Lots of people have trouble drinking enough water throughout the day. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is: About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men. About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. Here is my trick to hydration:
- Take 1/2 of the suggested amount of water and divide by 3. In my case, this would be about 6 cups of water, divided by 3 is 2. 2 cups equals 16 ounces.Drink 16 ounces at once in the morning. I prefer lukewarm water with a slice of lemon or a drop of lemon essential oil.
- I do the above again an hour before lunch and an hour before dinner. I’ve now consumed 6 cups of water.
- The remaining cups of water I sip on throughout the day. This is about 5 cups of water.
I find if I sip water throughout the day, I simply don’t drink enough. I personally like the flushing that occurs when I drink a substantial amount of water a few times a day, with sips in between. I try not to have much water in my stomach immediately before a meal because I do not want my stomach acid diluted.
10.Get Sufficient Sleep
The body is a cleaning machine while it sleeps. Get 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Can’t get good sleep? Let’s talk. It’s very important!
There are nutrients which support detoxification and some supplements which can help this process.I’ll talk about those in a subsequent post!