To detoxify your body simply means to cleanse your body of any toxins it may be harboring. We know, for instance, that some chemicals and pesticides, or certain fumes we breathe, can be toxic to us. In addition, many of our modern day food choices can create a toxic environment that slowly lowers our overall immunity. The phrase Toxic Load refers to the condition of our cells and tissues – the inner terrain – that develops when we consume, year after year, highly processed foods. While the liver and the kidneys are natural detoxifiers, organs whose job is to filter out impurities, there are several other ways to help your body detoxify itself. While some of these ways may be viewed as extreme, such as dialysis or a lengthy juice fast, there are several every day things that can be done to detoxify your body with subtlety and consistency.
No amount of great nutrition in the world will work very well until our body stops receiving the massive amounts of processed and fake foods that create a toxic inner terrain. Fortunately, it’s easy to learn what is hard on your body; there are no complex charts to memorize. Rule One: the more processed a substance, the larger the toxic load. Simply examine your weekly intake. Eat less of them. Find healthier substitutes. Or, better yet, drop them altogether.
Select organic, whole, unprocessed foods, whenever possible. Stop eating foods with additives and preservatives. Get your oil needs from olive oil, nuts, seeds, such as flax, psyllium, etc. Slow down or eliminate: processed meat (highly processed beef, chicken, lamb, sausages, pate, luncheon meats, bologna), most seafood (bottom feeders, such as mussels, clams, lobster, highly processed anchovies and sardines), pasteurized dairy (milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, yogurt), processed oil(hydrogenated, lard, canola), flour products (bread, pastries, cookies, cakes, pies, donuts, crackers), caffeine (coffee, black teas), tap water ( use filtered or bottled spring water), alcohol (beer, wine, sake, scotch, gin, vodka), processed sugar (candy, sweets, chocolate), sodas (diet coke, sugared drinks), and fake foods (artificial anything!).
Our bodies and our world are both largely composed of water, making water a vitally important element to the human race. Thus, it’s no surprise that water is a huge factor in overall health, as well as detoxification. Re-hydrating helps detoxification in several ways. First of all, water is a natural appetite suppressant, keeping people from ingesting things, such as fast food meals, that may add toxins to the body. Secondly, water stimulates the kidneys, helping them to do their job of filtering. Water also aids in digestion; without water, digestion can not occur, leaving the intestines without the ability to remove waste.
One of the most important reasons for re-hydrating is the lymph system. The lymph system is the often overlooked set of vessels used to transport metabolic waste out of the body. Drinking water to re-hydrate helps prevent the lymph system from becoming overwhelmed with old, necrotic material.
While it is recommended that the average person drink at least eight glasses of water a day, people often forget to do this, compromising their body’s natural health driven abilities. Some suggest taking your weight in pounds and dividing it in half. This is the number of ounces of water you should drink a day. Buy a bottle, somewhere around the size of a gallon. Fill it each day, and drink it empty each day. It is a great way to measurably know how much water you are using. If you don’t have access to spring water, then filter your tap water with a carbon filter.
Brush Your Skin
Brushing your skin may seem like an odd concept, an act that is typically reserved for a head of hair. But, the pores in our skin are often an open doorway to innumerable toxins we may encounter. Because our skin absorbs what’s on it, it will absorb any toxins present. Brushing these toxins away, however, can minimize the amount of toxins that enter the body through the pores. Our skin can be considered our largest elimination organ, especially during a change in nutrition. To help this process along, purchase a long handled skin brush and dry-brush your entire body for two or three minutes before bathing or showering each day. It may sting a bit the first few times, but you are conditioning your skin to breathe more. This also improves circulation, releases toxins and stimulates new skin production. For some, wet-brushing while bathing can be just as effective.
Take Alkalinizing Baths
Another good idea is Alkalinizing Baths. For these, toss a cup of sea salt or a cup of baking soda into a bath. Get in and slowly increase the heat until you are sweating. The object is to make the outside water more alkaline than the body and blood itself. It is relaxing, and very powerful when combined with skin brushing.
Do Yoga, Be Yoga
Yoga is one of the best detoxifying exercises you can practice. Because one of the foundations of yoga is breathing, and one of the ways to detoxify yourself is to simply breathe, yoga can teach you correct ways to breathe, giving you the ability to make the most out of every breathe you take. The poses, or Asanas, practiced in yoga also aid in detoxification. Freeing the body of restrictions, these Asanas stretch muscles and limbs, loosening them and letting the muscles and limbs become more relaxed and nimble, freeing the toxins that muscle knots may harbor. These Asanas aid in circulation – the circulation of blood is greatly enhanced through flexibility – and these poses make you physically and mentally flow better. When things flow correctly, the body rids itself of toxins much more easily.
Yoga also circulates positive thinking, which removes toxins from the body in more ways than one. A person bent on negative thinking will not only perpetuate thoughts laden in toxicity, but they are also more likely to engage in an overall unhealthy lifestyle, a lifestyle that invites impurities rather than fights them. Yoga, however, because it helps people feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually better, allows a positive life force to circulate within, a life force bent on removing toxins. It also arms people with a mindset that allows people to embrace and embody health and wholeness, adopting an internal environment where toxins don’t want to remain, packing up and leaving instead.
TWISTED is a medical yoga studio at the Center for Osteopathic Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. Twisted integrates osteopathic medicine, hatha yoga and mindfulness practices to teach optimal balance between physical, mental, and emotional health. It aims to educate and help people to live a healthy life from the inside out. Rehabilitation programs offer a comprehensive treatment regime for the whole being, empowering each person one breath at a time to stimulate the body’s natural healing potential.
Jennifer Jordan is senior editor of http://www.yogatwisted.com. Specializing in articles that not only teach yoga techniques, but also teach techniques on fulfillment and enrichment, she aims to educate students proudly enrolled in the school of life.