By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
You may eat organic fruits and veg and shun junk food, but the sad fact is that we are constantly surrounded by toxins. Whether they come from car emissions, cigarette smoke, industrial plants, agricultural sprays or chemtrails, it is virtually impossible to be toxin-free. Even polar bears in the Arctic have been found to hold high levels of harmful chemicals in their body fat!
We often think of detoxification as being for drug and alcohol addicts, or for those who are on some kind of strict diet. But this can also simply be a process to eliminate all the negative effects on our body from the environment, and today, internal detoxification is a common form of body maintenance for anyone wanting to keep in perfect health. Safe removal of old mercury based fillings, intravenous vitamin and mineral injections, ozone therapy and colonics are some ways you can detox with the help of professionals, but there are easier ways to detox your body at home.
If you suffer from fatigue, headaches, hormonal disruptions, acne, rashes, trouble with digestion, inflammatory conditions, brittle hair and nails, you may need to detox urgently. But how to do it? We asked Dr Bianca Toebben, of the Longevity Wellness Resort in Portugal, for her advice.
1. Take a Spa Bath
The term ‘spa’ originated as a place where waters were ‘taken’ for therapeutic reasons, though nowadays the term is more related to wellbeing and relaxing. But different kinds of water, like hot springs and mineral waters, still have a strongly therapeutic effect on your health. Of course, if you don’t have direct access to such miracle waters, you can still create your own. For example, Epsom salts (a.k.a. magnesium sulfate) is well known for flushing toxins out of the body, reducing inflammation and joint problems, as well as improving respiratory health and skin conditions. Just add 1c of Epsom salts to a hot bath. We like Westlab salts, which you can find here.
Baking soda ( NaHCO3) also works, reducing acidity through the skin, detoxifying the body, soothing skin irritations and softening tissue and skin. Dr Toebben says you can add a cup to your bath, or you can add 1T to a cup of water and drink it to detox from the inside out. The same is true for Epsom salts, which Dr Toebben says has a slight laxative effect that “helps clean out the intestines and activates a lot of enzymes, helping muscle and nerve function and preventing the arteries from hardening.” She recommends not exceeding 1T to a cup once a day for no more than 5 days because “too much of anything creates an imbalance by decreasing or increasing essential electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium.”
The doctor also recommends drinking plenty of mineral water after a long, relaxing detoxifying bath.
2. Brush Your Bod
Before you undergo any other detoxing steps, be sure that you’re as clean as possible inside and out. Take off all makeup with an all-natural product like Subtle Energies’ milky, gentle Juhi Cleanser, which uses a rare species of jasmine known as juhi blended beautifully with kewda, sandalwood and other purifying and hydrating oils. Then, exfoliate your face and entire body to help stimulate the lymphatic system and scrub off dead cells, allowing new, fresher ones to emerge, with a simple exfoliating body brush. We recommend the Voya Organic Exfoliating Body Brush, which allows you to exfoliate every part of your body gently yet effectively. The brush, which you can use again and again, works to eliminate dead skin cells and stimulate the blood flow, leaving skin looking renewed, radiant and velvety soft, preparing it for the bathing to come.
3. Draw Out The Bad
Pure mineral clay or mud has been used since the times of the ancient Egyptians to draw out impurities, which cling to mud like a magnet. Today, we are bombarded by heavy metals that do great harm to our bodies, and Dr Toebben says one of the best things you can use to get rid of these is simply food grade Bentonite Clay. It has negatively charged molecules, which seems to enhance its adsorptive properties. It’s able to pass through the intestinal tract and attract the toxins which are positively charged. When they are in contact with each other, they swap ions and are bound together and the toxic molecule is absorbed by the clay molecule. Once your heavy metal burden is relieved, detoxing from parasitic, yeast or organic problems is easier.
Bentonite clay’s absorptive abilities come from the low number of minerals–17, to be exact–that comprise the bulk of the product. This low number indicates a higher potential to absorb other molecules. The toxin molecules that bonded with the clay molecules are internalized in the clay molecule. In this state, your body supposedly expels the toxin-filled clay through normal bowel movements.
To soak up heavy metals and chemicals in your system, Dr Toebben recommends drinking Bentonite clay water. Just mix 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of clay in water and consume. You can gradually work your way up to 2 or 3 teaspoons, but be sure to speak with your doctor while increasing your intake. Don’t take 2 hours before or after medications, and wait an hour after taking bentonite clay to eat. You can also add 1/4 cup of Bentonite clay to bathwater along with 1/4 cup of baking soda for detoxing and for softening the skin.
The clay can be used as a facial or whole body mask by mixing equal parts bentonite clay with water. Keep in mind that clay may be an irritant to the lungs for some people, so individuals should avoid inhaling it. Find food grade clay here, which is perfect for drinking, but also for making masks.
Cilantro drops are another option; apparently cilantro (a.k.a. coriander) extract is especially good at flushing out aluminium, the presence of which seems to be on the rise in drinking water and soil everywhere – not good, as this is linked directly to increasing levels of Alzheimer’s. You can find it easily here.
4. Get Super Hot
Dr Toebben is a big advocate of the sauna. Apparently, regular sauna use can even decrease your chances of heart disease. Ideally, you should spend 10-15 minutes sweating out any toxins in a sauna or hammam. But if you don’t have access to these, you have two choices: either try to sweat out toxins in the gym, but if that’s too much for you, prepare yourself a hot bath; hot enough to cause you to sweat. A bubble bath is NOT recommended as sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) is the main ingredient that creates the foam, and is an irritant. Instead, if you must use soap, we recommend Dr Bronner’s Liquid Soap that comes in a variety of luscious scents such as citrus, eucalyptus, rose and tea tree to name a few, and uses ingredients that are ethically sourced and are fair trade certified.
After your bath, you will indeed be quite sweaty, so take a cooler shower and again, drink plenty of fresh water.
5. Ensure Your Water is of Great Quality
Ensure you drink more liquids than usual when you’re detoxing. And by liquids, we don’t mean tea, coffee or alcohol; pure mineral water is best, but if you want some flavour, try infusing a jug of water with some slightly crushed organic raspberries and blueberries for flavour. Alternatively, slice up some pineapple and drop it in; some sliced cucumber or try a handful of fresh mint and a squirt of lemon. For a hardcore detox, add 1t baking soda and a squirt of lemon to 250 ml water. It doesn’t taste great, but this blend will quickly balance the acidity in your body.
But more important than just drinking water is drinking high quality water. What this means is water that doesn’t come in plastic bottles (as the plastic can leech into the water) or have a lot of chemicals in it (depending on where you live, tap water can be full of highly toxic fluoride and other nasties). Glass bottled mineral water is best, but if that’s not readily available, consider a water purification system for your home like this, or at the very least, a water filtration jug like this – just ensure the jug is glass, not plastic.
6. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!
It may sound strange, but one of the best things you can do to help your body detox is simply sleep!
Your body cleanses itself while you sleep, with the liver doing a lot of its dirty work in the early morning hours. Pulling an all nighter, or even staying up late will put you in a position to miss out on the deeper sleep cycles that occur before midnight. Be sure to get up early as well, because you don’t want to sleep through the hours when your body naturally wants to purge itself of waste.
7. Scrape Your Tongue
Dentists have been saying this for years, and it’s been a mainstay in some ancient practices like Ayurveda, but it only makes sense to scrape off your tongue as it’s pretty effective at being the central hub of germs and other nasties. It’s easy to do, too – just get yourself a tongue scraper, like one of these.
8. Get a Massage
This is maybe the most pleasurable way to detox! When rhythmic strokes and pressure is applied to muscles, tissues and organs during a massage, this stimulates the circulatory system, and when pressure is applied to the tissue and fat, toxins are literally “squeezed” out from in between the muscle fibers and cells. They’re released into the circulatory system for easier elimination.
Your lymphatic fluid system also works with your cardiovascular circulatory system to flush out toxins and carry immune cells throughout the body to help defend against infections. If your lymph fluid circulation gets sluggish, toxins can accumulate and immune cells may not get carried to the areas of the body where they’re needed.
Since the lymph system doesn’t have a big central pump like the heart to keep things moving, it has to rely on gravity, exercise, deep breathing or massage. So now you have an excuse to book yourself in for a nice, long treatment! One of our favourite spas is the Titanic Spa in the UK, in case you’re wondering.
9. Don’t Retox
If you’ve just cleaned out your system, why would you want to contaminate it again? Stay clean by eating organic food and using natural and organic makeup and skincare products. Obviously, smoking, drinking and eating junk food is the fastest way back to a toxic body. Given that we’re constantly surrounded by harmful elements, being kind to yourself with clean food, water and personal grooming products is the least you can do to stay healthy and happy.
Main image + massage image: Titanic Spa, other images Wikicommons