Today’s health programs are becoming more preventive than curative. As overall health improves in certain areas, however, it seems to be showing up in other forms. The older diseases are slowly being phased out and replaced by new ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and related illnesses.
Many of these new ailments are closely linked with the tremendous amounts of mental stress that the average human being has to go through on a daily basis. Studies have shown that there is a distinct correlation between mental stress and physiological symptoms. As such, the healing of the mind can be achieved, in part, through proper treatment of the body. One such emerging trend is the concept of detoxification; because our bodies tend to accumulate poisons and toxins over time, their cumulative effect can have an adverse impact on our health, and the only way to counter this is to detoxify the body to whatever extent possible.
There are several detox methods available today. Let’s explore each of them in brief so at the end you’ll have a general idea about how you might want to go about this process for your own benefit and good health.
Cleansing and Flushing
These techniques are becoming quite the fad these days. They include several sub-categories, some of which are periodic enemas, colon cleanses and pro colonics. Everyone’s preference is different, but all of these ways can lead to a healthier ‘inner environment’ as far as our digestive system is concerned; and, because most of the toxins in our body come from food and liquids, this is often considered to be one of the most effective methods to detoxify the gastrointestinal system – or, more specifically, the colon.
Essentially, these techniques work to flush out the toxins that hide the nooks and crannies of our digestive system, making them “squeaky clean”. Doing this will immediately improve your physical health, but most proponents of these methods also say that you gain mental clarity after such treatment. Whether or not this is true could be subjective, but there’s no denying that toxicity levels in the body do show decreased levels after a ‘cleanse’ or a ‘flush.’
Fasting with Liquids
One of the oldest ways of cleansing the system – one that is found in nearly every world religion – is fasting. Although fasting in the religious sense is seen to be a spiritual activity rather than for physical benefit, the concept of fasting in most cultures acknowledges the physiological implications of this practice.
Absolute fasting, meaning no food and no water for extended periods, may not be for everyone and is not recommended as a detoxification method. Water is an essential element in our body, comprising more than 50% of body weight even by the most conservative estimates. Therefore, water should be taken in adequate quantities during any type of fasting. Another reason is that water is the medium through which toxins can be removed from the body, so depriving ourselves of water will be counter-intuitive when our goal is to detox ourselves.
One of the best fasting methods is to be on a diet of only fresh juices extracted from fruits and vegetables. They will provide the essential nutrients that the body needs, and they will help flush out the toxins, too. Recommended vegetables to use are celery, beet, lettuce, ginger and cucumber; fruits advised for this purpose are lemons and most other citrus fruits. This will also help control the increased acidity levels in the digestive system during fasting.
Foods rich in fiber have long been recommended as cleansing agents for the body, and their effect can often be seen on mental health as well. Fiber acts to literally push out the toxins as it travels through the gastrointestinal system. It acts much like a scrubber, but in a gentle, non-abrasive way.
Fibrous foods have tremendous benefits apart from cleansing our bodies, but for the purpose of this piece, it is sufficient to know that these foods can be extremely beneficial to mind and body.
Deep green veggies are good for you, just as your mother and grandmother have been telling you for years! However, only recently have the benefits actually been studied and documented. These vegetables help increase the pH level of the blood, making it more alkaline than acidic. In this condition, the blood is able to better eliminate the toxins in it.
An additional benefit of using this method is that you can often avoid ‘healing crisis’, or another name for that flu-like feeling you get when toxins are physically wrenched from their hidey-holes in the folds of your digestive system.
Algae, parsley, alfalfa and chlorella are also effective chelators – chemical agents that help remove toxins by bonding with them and carrying them away. In Toto, this category of vegetables is an essential and convenient way to detox the body, purify the blood and give yourself an astonishing number of mental benefits as well. They can be eaten raw or slightly cooked, or even taken in the form of juices. However, never buy the pre-bottled variety – make sure that the juice is made fresh at home.
Sleep and Intense Physical Activity
These two opposing practices are both beneficial to the cleansing and detoxification process. An adequate amount of sleep ensures that the body’s own cleansing mechanisms can kick in and work in high gear without your help. This is one of the best ways to regenerate the body after all the abuse it goes through, which is why deep sleep after a prolonged period of stressful living is one of the most highly recommended restorative therapy methods known to man.
Physical activity that leads to profuse sweating is another natural way to cleanse your body of toxins. Sweat is mostly water, and as such, is an effective carrier of toxins. A “sweat schedule” of a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes per day will give your skin a healthy glow that comes from the inside out.
In addition, adequate sleep and exercise will allow your mind to operate more efficiently as well, because it gets the right amount combination of rest and activity.
You can use any of these methods to detox your mind and body, or you can use any combination of them. You can also try purely mental methods such as meditation and yoga. However, for the best results possible, find the right balance of physical and mental activities that will help keep your body toxin-free and ticking away without “modern” diseases for years to come.