Detoxification – Pathways, Methods, Cautions
What child hasn’t been told, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”? This statement applies to anything that requires resolve. When it comes to detoxification, if you have the will, there are many ways.
In our modern world, nearly every person carries a chemical burden made up of environmental toxins. As the earth becomes more and more polluted, our bodies inadvertently become a filter for those toxins. Many scientists believe environmental toxins are responsible for an entirely new group of disorders that involve multisystem symptoms. These include autoimmune and neurological diseases, food allergies, mood disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities, and a whole list of syndromes. There is no longer any doubt that environmental toxins are responsible for more than 90 percent of all cancers, and that toxins play a role in the severity of many other diseases. Each of these conditions results when a difficulty (deficiency, blockage, or overload) occurs in the body’s detoxification pathways. When the burden becomes overwhelming, disease and other symptoms appear. Removing the toxic burden can restore these pathways. Detoxification is often accompanied by a reduction or complete elimination of symptoms. Many people have regained their health by reducing the toxic burden through detoxification.
Detoxification is the body’s natural process of removing or neutralizing toxins by means of the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, and skin. However, without sufficient energy and the nutritional resources to eliminate them, toxins end up being stored—tucked away where they are least likely to affect critical bodily functions. Toxins either accumulate in body fat and joints or they pass through and end up in the urine, stool, sweat, hair, nails, semen, and breast milk. Fat-soluble toxins (most environmental pollutants and pharmaceutical chemicals) have a high affinity for fatty tissues and cell membranes. This is why most toxins are stored in fat. It also explains why these toxins are difficult for the body to remove. The fact that many of these toxins are foreign substances adds to the problem because the body does not have designated pathways for their elimination. Toxins may be stored for years—even a lifetime—unless the circumstances are presented for their release and elimination.
Subtle indications that a person may need to detoxify:
• joint aches
• swollen glands
• difficulty concentrating
Since toxic chemicals are in the air, water, food, and in thousands of consumer products, just removing the presence of many of these chemicals from your day-to-day environment can tip the scale in your favor—enough to allow your body to catch up and to be able to resume normal detoxification without interference. Many people have seen improvement just by removing toxic agents from their homes. For others, this is not enough.
Methods for helping the body to detoxify are based on providing the nutrients or the energy to release toxins and to eliminate them. Detoxification requires numerous vitamins and minerals, many that are missing from the modern diet. It also requires abundant, clean water. Detoxification further requires clear detoxification pathways. These three components are a prerequisite for safe, effective detoxification.
Detoxification is an extremely complicated subject, which is further complicated by each individual’s personal circumstances. Whole books have been written on the subject. The intention of this postis to give you an overview of some of the basics and to provide enough information to help you get started. It is highly recommended that you work with a health professional when you decide to detoxify.
A healthy, vibrant life lies in nutrient dense, regenerative foods. The food we eat either supplies the materials we need or it doesn’t—it’s that simple. Unfortunately, the majority of the food on the planet today is deficient in some way. That’s why food supplementation is a necessity. It is also one of the first things everyone should consider before they begin any kind of detoxification program. In fact, a good supplementation program is often all that is necessary to give the body the energy and resources its needs to unburden the system.
Nutrition is the most critical factor where detoxification is concerned. Like any of the body’s functions, detoxification requires nutrients. If these nutrients are not present in sufficient quantity, detoxification is hindered or stalled completely. One reason many toxins are stored is because the nutrients are not available to complete the process. The other difficulty is that the number and amount of toxins are greater today than at any other time in human history. Between having more to detoxify and having fewer resources with which to accomplish the task, detoxification often has to take a backseat to more critical life-sustaining processes.
In many cases, toxins must be broken down before they can be carried from the body. Enzymes break down compounds. But enzymes require specific minerals to do their job. A deficiency in magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, calcium, manganese, or other minerals will delay (sometimes indefinitely) the detoxification process.
Detoxification also requires antioxidants. This is because detoxification produces free radicals—unstable molecules that will tear electrons from healthy tissues if they are not stabilized. Unchecked free radicals are the cause of inflammation and pain. Free radicals are stabilized by antioxidants. Some antioxidants are produced in the body but most are meant to be supplied from the diet. Vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, glutathione, and other antioxidants are necessary for detoxification. Deficiencies in these nutrients will predispose the body to infection and free radical damage. Toxins themselves cause free radical damage.
Organic foods have 21/2 times the antioxidant power of conventionally produced produce.
B vitamins are also consumed during any kind of stress. This is especially true during detoxification. During detoxification, taking extra vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is a necessity. Whenever you can find these nutrients in whole-food supplements, you will be better off. When your body is in harmony, it cleanses itself remarkably well—even in a toxic world. This is the philosophy of Eastern medicine. Herbs and foods that nourish and cleanse your body on an ongoing basis will help you maintain that balance.
It is no secret that drinking more (and better) water can dramatically improve your health. Increasing the amount and the quality of the water you drink results in glowing skin, resistance to disease, better digestion, fewer aches and pains, weight loss, better concentration, and renewed vitality and energy. Nothing supports the body’s cleansing and elimination like water. It is the ultimate detoxification tool. Whether by drinking it or soaking in it, water has been used to expel toxins and restore health since the beginning of time.
Releasing toxins without being able to flush them from the body accomplishes little. These toxins will be redeposited in other areas. During detoxification, wastes that have been stored in fatty tissue are dumped into the bloodstream and lymph—many are then sent to the liver and kidneys for processing and elimination. Water hydrates the blood and the lymph so that toxins can move rapidly through these pathways. Water is also a major component of the processes that take place in the liver and kidneys to neutralize and break down toxic compounds. And water is obviously important during the final stage of elimination, lubricating the intestines and providing the basis of urine.
Drinking more water during detoxification is a must. In fact, just as eliminating toxic exposure in your home or adding a quality food supplement to your diet, simply drinking more and better water may provide the energy you need to support normal detoxification. Certainly all three of these (elimination of toxins, nutritional supplementation, and enhanced water intake) should precede and accompany any program of detoxification.
The next factor to consider before embarking on a detoxification program is whether or not your detoxification pathways are clear and functioning. If you release toxins but cannot eliminate them, you may create a bigger problem. Many people have intensified their symptoms by attempting to detoxify before clearing and supporting the detoxification pathways. Sluggish bowels, kidney infections, blocked bile ducts, and poor lymphatic drainage will stall the process and could be the source of the problem in the first place.
Although the toxicity of a chemical may vary, it is the responsibility of the liver to reduce toxins into compounds that the body can safely handle and eliminate. Some toxins must first pass through the liver to be broken down. Others may pass directly through the kidneys, the skin, the lungs, or the bowel. Maintaining these eliminative organs in good working order is essential. The following is a brief discussion of the detoxification pathways.
One of the liver’s primary functions is to filter the blood. When working properly, the liver clears 99 percent of the bacteria and other toxins from the blood. However, when the liver is overworked, toxins may end up anywhere in the body. The liver also manufactures bile. Fat-soluble toxins removed from the blood are dissolved in bile—then moved into the intestines for excretion through the colon. In the intestines, the bile and its toxic load are absorbed by fiber and excreted. For most people, cleansing the colon—then the liver—is an important step prior to a more thorough detoxification program.
If the diet is low in fiber, toxins can actually be reabsorbed in the colon—another reason to eat whole foods. Eating fiber-rich, whole foods provides the necessary fiber so that toxins can be drawn from the body. There are two types of fiber necessary for detoxification: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs moisture. It becomes gel-like and entraps bile, toxins, and fats for removal. Insoluble fiber creates bulk, spacing food so that microbes can work to break down food more efficiently. Insoluble fiber also acts to dislodge materials adhering to the intestinal wall. It acts like a broom to sweep the walls of the intestine and colon. Make sure there is plenty of fiber in your diet during any detoxification program.
Fiber is the part of a plant that is not digested or broken down during normal digestion. A slice of whole wheat bread has four times the fiber of a slice of white bread. Fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, and whole grains are the best sources of fiber.
Colonic irrigation is one way to cleanse the large intestine of accumulated toxins and waste products. However, this method only reaches the lower colon and does not cleanse the entire intestinal tract. There are a variety of colon cleansing products on the market that will help to cleanse the entire tract. Recent oxygen-based products are gentler than herbal products and are easy to use. Oxygen-based colon cleanses soften and release the compacted mucoid plaque that builds up over time. They also oxidize harmful bacteria in the colon (see sources).
Following a colon cleanse, it is a good idea to replenish the natural flora of the intestinal tract with probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria (flora) that inhabit the intestinal tract and aid in digestion and other functions. The modern diet, laden with sugar and refined carbohydrates, depletes the normal healthy flora in the intestinal tract. Anytime you take an antibiotic, you should replenish these organisms. It is also a good idea after a cleansing regimen. Most individuals benefit from regular use. A variety of probiotic products can be found in health food stores. Look for those with a blend of microorganisms—not simply acidophilus.
The most widely known liver cleanses are adaptations of Hulda Clark’s work. Her liver flush has been used by thousands of individuals to remove liver stones that can block bile ducts and hinder normal detoxification. Most people—even seemingly healthy individuals—will flush hundreds of stones with a liver flush. The protocol is simple, costs little, takes only two days, and can be accomplished by almost anyone who has done the necessary preliminary preparation. The liver flush can be found online:
Liver cleansing should be preceded and followed by nutritional support. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E protect the liver from free radical damage. B vitamins and minerals are also necessary. Whole foods with plenty of fiber also support the liver-colon detoxification pathway.
There are a number of herbs that support the liver. Milk thistle is the most impressive. It prevents damage to the liver through several mechanisms: by acting as an antioxidant, by increasing the synthesis of glutathione (a necessary antioxidant), and by increasing the rate of liver tissue regeneration. The protective effects of milk thistle against liver damage have been demonstrated in numerous studies. Ann Louise Gittleman’s book The Fast Track Detox Diet identifies many herbs and foods that support the liver.
The main job of the kidneys is to remove wastes from the blood and to keep mineral salts and water in balance. The kidneys also maintain the pH of the blood. Wastes from the kidneys are passed to the bladder and eventually excreted in the urine. The kidneys can be overworked when excessive sugar is consumed. This is why diabetics often experience kidney failure. Excessive phosphates (from soft drinks, meat, and white bread) can cause kidney stones.
If you are not diabetic and have never had kidney stones, you can support your kidneys prior to further detoxification by drinking extra water and by taking one or more of the following herbs, available in most health food stores: cranberry, parsley, dandelion, and juniper berries. If you have ever had kidney stones, consider Hulda Clark’s kidney flush, available online: http://www.drclark.net/en/cleanses_clean-ups/kidney_cleanses.php.
CAUTION: Sometimes people with serious kidney trouble may not have any symptoms. Under these circumstances, proceeding with a detoxification protocol may place too much strain on the kidneys and cause further damage. This is why it is a good idea to support the kidneys prior to detoxification.
Common Signs of Kidney Trouble:
• Rise in blood pressure
• Puffiness of the eyes, hands, and feet
• Passage of cloudy urine
• Presence of protein in the urine
• Foaming of the urine
• More frequent passing of urine during the night
• Difficulty passing urine
• Persistent, generalized itching
Improving the condition of your skin supports all the other detoxification pathways. The skin is the largest eliminative organ. When combined, your skin’s sweat glands can perform as much detoxification as both kidneys. Even heavy metals and other toxins can be released through the skin when you sweat. If the other detoxification organs are damaged, then helping the skin can “pick up the slack” and support other compromised organs. Selecting a method for detoxification that focuses on sweating may be a good option.
Understandably, it is important to support the skin during detoxification. Eliminate the use of any personal care products that may hinder the skin from breathing or that may contribute to toxic absorption through the skin. High-quality fats in the diet (olive oil, coconut oil, and others) and oils (including vitamin E) from natural sources in personal care products will nourish the skin.
The lungs remove volatile gases as we breathe. There is a tendency for most people to take short breaths of air—just enough to keep them alive. However, for effective cleansing of the lungs, you need to take long, deep breaths and to allow the air to be pulled in by your diaphragm rather than by your lungs. This simple process provides a more intense cleansing breath. Practice this consistently throughout the day to cleanse your lungs.
Exercise in the fresh air and sunshine is also a powerful detoxifying treatment for the lungs. It allows “dead air” normally trapped in the small alveoli of the lungs to be expelled. Brisk walking or rebounding on a trampoline is a wonderful way to cleanse the lungs and to stimulate the lymphatic system. Remember to inhale deeply and to move your arms and legs. You may also want to support your lungs with as many of the following antimucus foods as possible: onions and garlic, cayenne pepper, fresh ginger, and horseradish.
The lymphatic system
The lymphatic system has a dual purpose. It is a primary part of the immune system, manufacturing lymphocytes which break down bacteria and other invaders. It also acts as a garbage collection system, clearing the fluids that bathe every cell of your body. (There is more fluid in the lymphatic system than in the blood.) The lymphatic system is technically not an elimination pathway. It is more of a collection system that channels wastes to the elimination organs. However, when the lymphatic channels become sluggish, none of the detoxification pathways are able to function as they should.
Each day, water and solutes continually filter from capillary blood into the spaces between cells. Wastes collect in this fluid and are carried by tiny vessels to lymph nodes—filtering stations where bacteria, viruses, dead cells, and metabolic wastes are broken down. The filtered fluid is then returned to the bloodstream.
Although there is no pumping organ connected with the lymphatic system, lymph fluid steadily moves uphill from the lower regions of the body to the upper chest, where it is dumped back into the blood near the heart. Movement of the fluid is due to breathing and to skeletal muscle contractions. X-rays show that lymphatic fluid drains into central blood veins most rapidly at the peak of the in-breath (inspiration). Lymphatic flow is proportional to the depth of inspiration and to the contraction of skeletal muscles. During exercise, lymphatic flow may increase as much as ten to fifteen times.
Stagnant lymph fluid is a breeding ground for bacteria, parasites, and viruses. The best way to keep lymphatic fluid moving is to breathe deeply and to exercise regularly. Supporting the lymphatic system in this way supports all of the detoxification pathways.
METHODS OF DETOXIFICATION
Almost everyone needs detoxification—especially people who are exposed to industrial or environmental toxins in their profession. The degree of detoxification that may be necessary varies from person to person. A doctor can test your body’s toxic burden, but these tests are expensive and not available to the general public. They are rarely performed. Tests for individual groups of toxins (like heavy metals) are less prohibitive. However, for most individuals, reducing symptoms and regaining a level of energetic vibrance is the goal. Testing may simply be validation of the results.
Many different approaches are effective, even though they address the problem in different ways or through different detoxification pathways. In many instances, more than one approach may be helpful—at different times or simultaneously. Since detoxification can reintroduce toxins into the body and bloodstream, it may be in your best interest to work with a health professional to determine which methods will best address your needs. Some of the most successful methods are discussed below.
One of the simplest methods of detoxification is fasting. Any time your body is provided with extra energy, it will use the energy to “clean house.” Fasting provides this extra energy because digestion is one of the largest energy drains on the body. This is why you often feel tired after a big meal. Eliminating food or eliminating the most difficult foods to digest provides the energy necessary for detoxification.
There are many kinds of fasts, including water and juice fasts. They all involve very little cost, and the results are usually worth the effort. There are fasting retreats and health spas in many areas that will guide you through a fast. For most people, a series of short (weekend) fasts is more convenient and much more realistic.
Water fasting uses fat (rather than food) for fuel. This releases stored toxins from body fat into the blood stream for elimination. You can begin a twenty-four to thirty-six-hour water fast on Friday with the elimination of the evening meal, or you can fast all day Saturday. During the fast, drink lots of pure water. This is one time when distilled water is recommended. Distilled water is more aggressive than water with minerals. It will attract and help to carry toxins from your body. Following a fast, be sure to replenish minerals (electrolytes) (see sources). During a water fast, it is recommended that you rest and do as little as possible.
Juice fasting is not as stringent as water fasting and provides nutrients while also providing the extra energy for the body to detoxify. It can be sustained for longer periods of time than a water fast and it may be more beneficial in the long run. During a juice fast you can often maintain a fairly normal routine, depending on your level of health. Juices are absorbed rapidly, and they contain a high vitamin, mineral, and enzyme content that can jump-start the immune system. Juices should be organic and diluted 1:1 with water because they are so concentrated. They should also be consumed immediately after juicing so that they don’t lose their antioxidant capacity by combining with oxygen in the air. Between thirty-two and sixty-four ounces (one quart to a half-gallon) of juice is taken throughout the day. Typical fruits and vegetables include celery, carrot, kale, cabbage, apple, pineapple, cranberry, spinach, beet, and many greens. Citrus fruits are usually avoided during juice fasting.
Another well-known fast is often referred to as the Master Cleanse or the Lemonade fast. This fast consists of freshly squeezed organic lemons in purified water with organic maple syrup and cayenne pepper. This fast cleanses the eliminative organs, and supplies basic nutrition. It is often recommended prior to the liver flush. You can stay on the lemonade fast for several days or for longer periods of time up to ten days. The recipe below is taken throughout the day with water in between:
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (approx. half a lemon)
2 Tbsp. genuine organic maple syrup
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (enhances circulation)
10 to 14 ounces of pure water
It is important not to begin eating a normal diet after any type of fasting. Depending on the duration of your fast, it might take several days to build up to your normal diet by gradually introducing grains and animal protein.
Detoxification diets are vegetarian diets that help the body to eliminate toxins gently, over a period of time. Detoxification diets consist of fruits and vegetables (mostly vegetables), fresh sprouts, and whole seeds and grains. Detoxification diets also focus on eating in a relaxed environment and on chewing (thirty to fifty times per mouthful), both good habits to acquire. A natural, vegetarian diet includes the fiber needed for stimulating good bowel elimination. It also contains the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that nourish the body. These diets eliminate all meat, dairy, refined sugar, and processed foods.
Herbs and herbal teas have been used by cultures throughout history to stimulate and support detoxification. There are literally hundreds of herbal teas from a variety of sources that will support the detoxification process.
Bamboo leaf concentrate supports detoxification by clearing the detoxification channels of plaque, cholesterol, and other forms of build-up that hinder the waste removal process. It also works by balancing numerous systems and by improving digestion, thus providing the necessary nutrients and antioxidants required for efficient detoxification. Moso bamboo supports detoxification in other ways as well. As a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial rich in chlorophyll, moso bamboo concentrate also helps bring many chronic infections under control so that deep healing can occur. It is frequently prescribed by Japanese dentists for gingival detoxification, which is one of the most difficult places to clear of infection. Moso bamboo tea was provided for the survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to help clear radiation toxins. For more information seewww.wyntersway.com.
Chelation refers to a method of binding a substance to a chelating agent. In the case of chelation therapy, a synthetic amino acid known as EDTA is administered intravenously and binds to various toxic substances (specifically heavy metals) in the blood. The heavy metals lose their toxicity and are readily excreted by the kidneys. Though it has been used primarily to remove heavy metals, many doctors have found that chelation can remove the plaque present in the walls of arteries. It has become a widely used therapy for many patients with atherosclerosis. During chelation, the diet should be augmented with whole foods, extra vitamins, and minerals.
In 1958 a lengthy study was begun in Switzerland on more than two hundred adults who lived near a well-traveled highway. The population in that area had a higher rate of cancer and a higher incidence of nervous disorders, headaches, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, depression, and substance abuse. Researchers theorized that symptoms might be due to lead from automotive exhaust. Ten chelation treatments (to reduce lead toxicity) were administered to 59 of the participants; 172 participants received no treatment. After eighteen years, only one of the 59 treated patients died of cancer as compared to 30 deaths among the nontreated participants (a 90 percent reduction). Researchers also found that death from atherosclerosis was reduced among the treated patients. Chelation therapy was the only significant difference between the control group and the treated patients.
Dr. Gary Gordon, MD, DO, MD(H), often referred to as the father of chelation therapy, has formulated an oral chelation supplement that includes a complete complement of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. The product, called Beyond Chelation Improved, is a great way to benefit on a long-term basis from chelation. His formulation, as the name suggests, goes beyond other oral chelation products offered today. It is available online (see sources).
Another interesting form of chelation is an Ayurvedic technique referred to as Dr. Karach’s oil therapy. Because toxic chemicals are fat-soluble, they are absorbed in oil. This natural chelation method draws toxins from the mucus membranes and circulating blood vessels traveling through the mouth. The average time required for blood to circulate from head to toe is approximately one minute; this technique absorbs toxic chemicals traveling in the blood from throughout the body.
In the morning before breakfast, on an empty stomach, place one tablespoon of sesame or sunflower oil in your mouth. Move the oil slowly as if rinsing or swishing your mouth. Dr. Karach recommends sucking it back and forth through your teeth. This activates the enzymes that draw toxins from the blood. As the process continues, the oil gets thinner and white. If the oil is still yellow, it has not been pulled/swished long enough. After fifteen to twenty minutes, spit it out, rinse your mouth thoroughly, and brush your teeth. Do not swallow the oil, which has picked up numerous toxins. Dr. Karach says this method has the potential to heal the entire organism—headaches, toothaches, eczema, ulcers, intestinal diseases, heart—and other maladies caused by chemicals and drugs.
Hyperthermia (sweat therapy)
Heat gets your heart beating and your blood circulating. This helps your body to detoxify in unique ways. Physical sweating opens pores and allows the body to rid itself of heavy metals, excessive urea, toxic chemicals, and metabolic by-products. Sweating can also help to remove calcium deposits from blood vessels and to break down scar tissue. Anytime or any way you can find to increase sweating, you will enhance your body’s detoxification processes.
Saunas and steam rooms are great for helping to remove toxins through the skin. As the heat increases, enzyme activity also increases. Besides mobilizing toxins from fat cells, it also stimulates the immune system and helps the body destroy virus and bacteria. The suggested protocol that follows for using a sauna is from Bill Akpinar’s book, No Sweat, Know Sweat:
1. Schedule an appropriate amount of time—don’t rush. Focus on cleansing. Listen to healing music. Use appropriate essential oils.
2. Relax and do some simple stretching for fifteen to twenty minutes before you get in the sauna. This stimulates the circulatory system to facilitate the detoxification process.
3. Drink warm water or hot tea. (Also drink two or three eight-ounce glasses of purified water before, during, and afterward to stay hydrated.)
4. Get into the sauna or sweat bath for ten to twenty minutes. Listen to your body—it’s not a competition, it’s a healing session.
5. When you leave the sauna or sweat bath, drink another two to three glasses of water.
6. Massage at this point is great—or do some massage for yourself (legs, arms, torso, scalp, ears) for ten to twenty minutes.
7. Get back into the heat for another ten to twenty minutes.
8. Drink more fluids, but don’t over do it.
9. When you get out, don’t rush to dress. Relax for another fifteen to twenty minutes. Sweating will continue after you leave for at least another fifteen to twenty minutes.
10. Shower and enjoy your day, or take a nap—or go to bed for the evening.
Dr. Akpinar suggests that the above protocol can be used five to seven times a week for detoxification with at least several sessions back-to-back. Then, use a sauna two to four times a week for maintenance.
Far infrared sauna (FIR)
There are two kinds of heat—convection and radiant heat. Convection heat uses air to carry warmth from the heat source to your body. Radiant heat uses a wavelength of light that resonates with water molecules. This wavelength is called far infrared (FIR). Unlike convection heat which, for the most part, just warms your skin, FIR heat penetrates several centimeters below the surface of the skin. Due to this deep-heating effect, FIR heat is able to warm the body much more quickly and much more deeply—producing more sweat with less heat. FIR is the same kind of heat that warms you in sunlight. FIR saunas use this kind of heat to produce a greater amount of sweat with a lower temperature. They are great for detoxification because a person can stay in the sauna longer without overheating.
The best way to really sweat, if you don’t have access to a sauna, is to soak in a hot bath. Besides promoting profuse sweating, hot baths also stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory systems. They are another great way to open the channels that allow toxins to be eliminated through the skin. Sitting in water can actually help to pull the toxins through the skin.
By running a bath while sitting in the tub, most people can tolerate hotter water. The deeper you can immerse yourself, the better, so you may want to use duct tape to seal off the overflow in the tub and add more water. Additionally, if you can bring a portable heater into the bathroom to keep the whole room warm while you soak, you will have better results. Each of the following kinds of baths produces unique results.
Saltwater detox bath
Salt, especially sea salt or natural salt, draws toxins from the body. Epsom salts and baking soda also have therapeutic qualities and are known to draw (and hold) toxins so that they are not re-introduced back into the body. A gentle, detoxing bath recipe that you can use almost anytime includes the following: half a cup sea salt, one-quarter cup Epsom salts, and one-quarter cup of baking soda.
Essential oils detox bath
Essential oils have a powerful ability to draw toxins from the body. They also have the ability to soothe and relax—perfect for the bath. When using oils in your bath, wait until the bathtub is full before adding ten to thirty drops of your chosen oils. (Oils evaporate quickly—especially in hot water.) Avoid immersing yourself completely; oils should not come into contact with your eyes. Also avoid the use of soap in an essential oil bath. The soap may neutralize the action of the oils. Oils of rose, black pepper, cypress, juniper berry, fennel, coriander, parsley, sage, frankincense, carrot seed, and nutmeg are all known for their detoxifying properties. Citrus oils (grapefruit, bitter orange, and lemon) are also good for stimulating detoxification; however, they may not be good in a hot bath as they can irritate the skin. Test these sparingly before using them full strength.
Clay detox bath
Clay has been used for hundreds of years to help remove toxins from the body—both internally and externally. Its huge, charged surface area allows it to attach to toxins and pull them from the body. Soaking in a clay bath or clay foot bath can remove many toxins. LL’s Magnetic Clay detox baths use proprietary blends of clay and herbs to gently pull lead, mercury, formaldehyde, arsenic, and other environmental toxins from the body while you soak. Their formulas are used in many spas and they are perfect for home use (see sources).
There are more sweat glands on your feet than anywhere else on your body. This information gives rise to the concept of detoxification using a foot bath—everything from simply soaking your feet in hot water to the use of salts, clay, essential oils, and bioelectric field enhancement. To take a detoxing foot bath, line a foot-sized basin or other container. Fill it with very warm water and your choice of salts, oils, or clay. Soak for thirty to forty-five minutes. Use two tablespoons of salts, ten to twelve drops of essential oil, or a half to one cup of LL’s Magnetic Clay.
Detox foot spa
Detox foot spas are water ionizers. They consist of a power unit designed to place a tiny direct current into the water. The unit generates a complex waveform that interacts with the water in the body to provide a bioelectric boost to the cells. The absorption of this bioelectric charge increases the potential voltage across cell membranes and enhances cellular function. Detox foot spas recharge the cells, giving them the needed energy to perform all their functions—including the removal of wastes. Some toxins exit through sweat glands in the feet, others are taken to the blood to be carried out in the urine and stool. Because of the ability to optimize the body’s bioelectric charge, many individuals use detox foot baths in their homes to detoxify as well as to increase vitality, speed recovery, reduce inflammation, and enhance metabolic function.
There are numerous different detox foot spas on the market—everything from manually operated units to completely computerized systems. The frequencies and waveforms used are unique to each unit. Some are more biocompatible than others. One company has performed the research to show that their unit releases heavy metals during the thirty-minute foot bath. Heavy metals were found in greater abundance in the water after a session; urine analysis showed fewer heavy metals in the urine after six sessions; and dry blood analysis showed the reduction of heavy metals following several sessions. The best of these foot spas, a fully computerized and well-researched model, is made by Platinum Energy Systems in Canada (see sources).
Clay is an amazing substance formed from volcanic ash. Besides its use in baths, clay can be used in other ways to help detoxify. Taken internally, it adsorbs many toxins and food poisons from the gastrointestinal tract and carries them safely from the body. Stir one-half to one teaspoon of clay in a glass of water and drink. Some people prefer to let the clay settle and then drink the clay water from the top. Benefits seem to be similar either way. Make sure you get good-quality clay. Nature’s Body Beautiful, Terramin, and Redmond Clay are good products (see sources).
Clay can also be used to draw toxins from specific areas of the body. To do this, a clay pack or poultice is used. To make a poultice, mix clay with enough filtered or purified water to form a gel, about the consistency of mustard. Apply it generously in a half-inch to three-quarters-inch layer directly on your skin; cover with cheese cloth and then with warm, moist towels. You can replace the warm towels every few minutes to keep the heat in. After twenty minutes, remove and discard the clay. This technique has been known to detoxify specific organs as well as to pull infection from swollen lymph glands and many other areas.
Homeopathic remedies are unique. Unlike vitamins, foods, or herbs, they do not contain therapeutic components of a botanical nature. Homeopathy has proven useful for detoxification and can even remove the toxins caused by stress, mental imbalance, and hormonal changes. Homeopathy works not chemically, but vibrationally, to correct imbalances in the body. When it is combined with other energetic modalities, it can be extremely powerful, helping to eliminate food allergies and many other underlying causes of toxin build up. One company has created a whole line of detoxification formulas to address specific toxins and detoxification pathways. A homeopathic professional, trained in the use of these innovative formulas can be located by contacting Deseret Biologicals: email@example.com
Individuals can do a number of things to support the natural cleansing of the body. Methods of support include everything from body movement to cleansing foods, massage, and the use of technological advances that recharge cells and provide energetic nourishment.
Exercise and stretching
Brisk walking, jogging, dancing, rebounding, yoga, tai chi, pilates, and so on, all support detoxification. Exercise and stretching strengthen the respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic, and immune systems; they increase the circulation of nutrients throughout the body. By themselves, exercise and stretching will stimulate detoxification and should accompany any detoxification program.
Research has led some scientists to conclude that jumping on a mini-trampoline (rebounding) is possibly the most effective exercise yet devised—because of the effect rebounding has on the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is totally dependent on physical exercise. Lymphatic channels have one-way valves so the lymph always moves in the same direction. The main lymph vessels run up the legs, up the arms, and up the torso. This is why the vertical up and down movement of rebounding is so effective. A mini-trampoline subjects the body to gravitational forces two to three times the force of gravity, depending on how high a person jumps. Unlike jogging and many other forms of exercise which put extreme stress on certain joints, rebounding affects every joint and every cell in the body equally. It is an ideal exercise for the home environment.
Pilates is another form of exercise that is well suited for almost everyone, including the elderly. It is a nonaerobic form of exercise and physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. The pilates exercise system is gentle while giving your body a challenging workout. Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing. Pilates movements unlock stagnant energy, yielding numerous benefits. The following Web site offers a series of free videos on pilates exercises for beginners:http://www.expertvillage.com/video-series/102_pilates.htm
Benefits of Pilates Exercise
1. Provides a refreshing mind-body workout: Pilates emphasizes proper breathing, correct spinal, and pelvic alignment, as well as complete concentration on smooth, flowing movement. A person becomes aware of his/her body and how to control its movement.
2. Builds strength and flexibility: Conventional workouts tend to build short, bulky muscles—the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility.
3. Develops a strong core: Pilates exercises develop a strong “core,” which consists of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine.
4. Creates an evenly conditioned body: Pilates conditions the whole body. No muscle group is neglected. Your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you to enjoy daily activities with greater ease and less chance of injury.
5. Teaches efficient patterns of motion: Pilates exercises train several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. You can retrain your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion.
Skin brushing is a simple way to promote the elimination of wastes through your skin and to stimulate the lymphatic system. It is a perfect compliment to a detoxification program. Before your shower or bath, take a couple of minutes and, starting at your feet, work your way upward toward your heart, brushing in little circles over your entire body. Brush from your extremities inward toward your torso. The best dry skin brushes are made of vegetable bristles that are neither too stiff nor too soft. They shouldn’t scratch, but you should feel friction against your skin. These are available at many natural foods stores.
If your muscles are relaxed, then your body is likely to detoxify much better. But massage is not just about relaxation, although it is great for that purpose. Special detoxification massages can greatly support any cleansing program. This involves gentle compression and stretching of muscle tissues to mobilize toxins, to stimulate lymphatic flow, to improve circulation, and to improve the function of all the detoxification pathways. A massage therapist can focus on these systems and organs during your detoxification program. A massage two or three times a week is ideal.
Manual lymphatic drainage
Lymphatic massage, otherwise known as manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), is a highly specialized form of massage, which uses light, rhythmical, very precise hand movements, pressures, and sequences. The massage works at a skin level to influence the direction and speed of lymphatic flow to facilitate waste removal at a cellular level and to assist in the transportation of nutrients and oxygen. The aim of MLD is to restore equilibrium in the tissues. A treatment begins at the neck to make space for lymph to be brought there. Since lymph follows predetermined pathways and is continuous, if space is made at the top of the chain, fluid from lower down can move up. This is a very effective way to improve lymphatic flow and to support the detoxification process.
Many people can benefit from increasing the amount of fiber in their diet, especially during detoxification. Psyllium husks (purchased at any natural food store) are a source of fiber that can easily (and inexpensively) be incorporated in your diet. One tablespoon in a glass of water at the end of the day will absorb toxins and participate in the sweeping of the entire digestive system. Apple pectin, guar gum, oat bran, and rice bran are also good sources of fiber.
Essential oils can assist the body in detoxification, especially when used in conjunction with other natural cleansing processes. During detoxification, essential oils can be used in massage oil or in the bath.
Detoxifying Massage Oil
4 drops grapefruit oil
4 drops juniper oil
3 drops cypress oil
5 drops laurel oil
Mix the above essential oils with 2 Tbsp. of a carrier oil (sunflower,
almond, or jojoba).
Detoxifying Bath Oil Blend
6-8 drops grapefruit oil
6-8 drops juniper oil
6 drops helichrysum oil
Mix essential oils with 1 cup natural salt and add to bath water.
A variety of herbs have been used for centuries to assist in cleansing and detoxification. They can be taken as capsules or as teas to support your process. Below are some of the most widely used:
• Black cohosh loosens and expels mucous in the respiratory tract, and stimulates lymphatic, liver, and kidney function.
• Burdock root purifies the blood and improves liver function.
• Cayenne pepper purifies blood and increases fluid elimination and sweat.
• Cascara sagrada promotes peristaltic action in the colon but may be too harsh for some individuals.
• Dandelion stimulates liver detoxification and promotes healthy circulation.
• Echinacea improves lymphatic drainage and immune function.
• Garlic is a blood cleanser and natural antibiotic.
• Ginger root stimulates circulation and sweating and aids in cleansing of the bowels, kidney, and skin.
• Goldenseal cleanses blood, liver, kidney, and skin and stimulates detoxification. Never use for longer than two weeks.
• Horsetail tones the urinary tract and soothes the bladder, supports the skin.
• Licorice Root is a general detoxifier and mild laxative.
• Marshmallow root helps remove hardened mucous in the intestinal tract and lungs.
• Milk Thistle enhances liver function and helps rebuild the liver.
• Parsley flushes the kidneys.
• Peppermint brings oxygen to the blood and strengthens the bowels.
• Yellow dock root cleanses skin, blood, and liver.
Light Beam Generator
The Light Beam Generator (LBG), made by the same company that makes the Teslar watch, stimulates lymphatic drainage and the movement of waste material to the organs responsible for their disposal. The LBG emits photons (units of light) and utilizes scalar wave technology to correct the electromagnetic charge on cells. This often breaks up hardened lymphatic deposits and releases wastes that have built up over long periods of time. The energy also helps to restore the natural cellular electromagnetic signature. It can be a powerful tool, not just to support detoxification but to maintain overall cellular health. LBG light sources are placed on the body for forty-five minutes to an hour at a time several times a week. This method is used by many practitioners but can also be used in the home (see sources).
Quantron Resonance System (QRS)
The Quantron Resonance System (QRS) was developed by a team of international scientists in conjunction with the Russian space program. It has been used in many clinics, practitioner’s offices, and private homes. The QRS supports detoxification and all the functions of the body. It helps normalize cellular metabolism by recharging every cell and by helping the body to regenerate healthy cells. Once charged, cells are able to take in more oxygen and nutrients to purge more wastes. Besides being a complement to detoxification, the QRS is something that many people can use in their homes to support ongoing cellular regeneration and improved health. The QRS takes only eight minutes every day. Treatment is received by lying on a mat that sends a variety of biocompatible frequencies that are utilized by the body to energize and regenerate (see sources).
Energy Enhancement System (EES)
The Energy Enhancement System (EES) is a computerized system that sets up an enhanced energetic environment. When the body is exposed to the energy, multiple bioactive fields generated by the device raise the cell membrane potential and return cells to their original healthy energy levels. This encourages cellular cleansing. It also improves immune function, provides relief from pain, elevates moods, assists in balancing right and left hemispheres of the brain, and promotes cellular regeneration.Clinical trials and a variety of case studies have demonstrated remarkable cleansing and healing benefits.
The EES creates an array of beneficial wave forms, which include scalar waves. The resulting energy field cancels out the detrimental effects of sixty-cycle current and provides a virtual cocoon of biologically supportive wave forms in which regeneration can occur. The technology may also amplify intention and manifestation because it balances the entire electromagnetic field that surrounds the body. Exposure to the EES energy field can vary from twenty minutes to all night. Although most systems are available in aprofessional setting, many individuals have purchased their own system for private use (see sources).
CAUTIONS WITH DETOXIFICATION:
• Before you begin a detoxification program, make sure you are well enough to undertake the protocol. It is important to choose cleansing techniques that are not too extreme for your circumstances. Begin slowly and first focus on nourishment, water, and on the elimination of toxins in your living environment. Next, incorporate breathing, stretching, and exercise. Be comfortable at each level of preparation before you move on to more vigorous action. Detoxification is not a contest; neither is it something you do once and think you’re done.
• Sometimes when you begin to detoxify, you may experience what is known as a “Herxheimer reaction” or healing crisis. This occurs when toxins are released faster than your body can eliminate them. When this occurs, you may experience headaches, nausea, fatigue, and malaise—headaches are the most common. If this occurs, it is an indication to either slow the process or stop and begin again later, more slowly.
• It is not advisable for pregnant or nursing mothers to embark on a detoxification program. Detoxification releases toxins that can end up being transferred to your baby if they are not efficiently eliminated. If you are nursing, toxins will end up in your breast milk. It is better to wait until after you have finished nursing before you contemplate a vigorous detoxification protocol. In the meantime, nourishment and a healthy lifestyle are important. Ideally, detoxification a year before becoming pregnant is recommended.
DETOXIFICATION FOR SPECIFIC PROBLEMS
According to Hulda Clark, parasites are a cofactor in almost every illness, including cancer. Parasites are so common that today, most people are likely to have one or more different types. If you have pets; if you eat out regularly; if you eat rare meat; or if you have children in daycare centers, your chances of having some form of parasite are nearly 100 percent.
Like any other type of infection, parasites are an opportunistic infection. If you are healthy and if your immune system is strong, parasites usually cannot get a foothold. But everyone goes through periods of stress when they are more vulnerable. And since parasites are so prevalent, there are few individuals in our day that are not affected. A parasite cleanse is highly recommended for everyone. Even if you have no apparent symptoms (this is often the case), you may be surprised to find that you have more energy, that you sleep better, that cravings are reduced, or that you have fewer food intolerances once you have completed a parasite cleanse.
Three herbs can rid you of more than a hundred types of parasites, including liver flukes, pinworms, threadworms, hookworms, round worms, and tapeworms. Used together, these three herbs have helped thousands of people to rid themselves of parasitic infections and a host of accompanying symptoms.
Three Herbs Used to Eliminate Parasites:
1. Black walnut hulls (from the black walnut tree)
2. Wormwood (from the Artemisia shrub)
3. Common cloves
These herbs must be used together as a single treatment to eradicate both adult and egg stages of parasites. The complete parasite protocol takes three weeks and can be found online: http://www.herbalparasitecleanse.com/. It is recommended that a family do the cleanse together to avoid reinfecting each other. Following the cleanse, regular maintenance doses are necessary to prevent reinfection.
The body is capable of eliminating small amounts of mercury—just as it is capable of removing small amounts of other toxins. The problem begins when the body becomes overwhelmed. Long-term exposure to mercury (especially when mercury amalgam fillings are present) depletes the body of the antioxidants and minerals that are required for the task. Supplying the building blocks for these antioxidants is critical for a successful program.
Glutathione is perhaps the most potent antioxidant in the body. It is used up rapidly during the detoxification of mercury. Anyone with amalgam fillings is likely depleted of glutathione—and simply taking glutathione supplements does not seem to help improve glutathione levels. Glutathione is made of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine. Cysteine is the limiting factor. Supplying cysteine in the form of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is an essential part of a mercury detoxification program. Other essential factors in a mercury detox program are:
• Alpha-lipoic acid, which binds with mercury to carry it from the body.
• Free-form amino acids. These supply the building blocks for glutathione and other antioxidants and enzymes required for mercury detoxification.
• MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) which is a form of bioavailable sulfur that acts on cell membranes to help eliminate mercury.
• Vitamin C.
• Milk thistle, which provides support for the liver.
In addition to the above supplements, there are several foods that will help to draw mercury from the body. These include sea vegetables (chlorella, spirulina, and blue green algae), cilantro, and garlic. Extra fiber during mercury detoxification is also a good idea to help move debris through the intestines.
Sea vegetables (especially chlorella) bind to mercury to pull it from the body. The Kyoto brand, available in most natural food stores, is a good brand.
CAUTION: Roughly 25 to 30 percent of people cannot tolerate chlorella. Start slow, and if you experience any kind of reaction, eliminate this product from your detoxification program.
Cilantro helps to mobilize mercury, but it may not be strong enough to actually pull the mercury from your body. It should be used only in conjunction with the other herbs and vitamins mentioned here. Cilantro is an herb that is widely available in the produce section in grocery stores. Chop it and eat it in soups, salads, and sandwiches every day. It is a delicious addition to a freshly juiced vegetable cocktail.
Garlic can be incorporated into your diet or taken as capsules. The Kyolic brand is highly reputable.
Approximately 80 to 90 percent of the mercury in our bodies is eliminated through the liver-colon pathway. In 1991, Swedish researchers placed one small mercury filling in an eleven-year-old girl with no history of cavities or fillings. They then measured her stool for the next three days. In comparison to a control group, the excretion of mercury was enormous—four hundred micrograms—on the third day. (World Health Organization maximum acceptable level of mercury intake is forty-five micrograms in a twenty-four-hour period.) This study illustrates that there is a critical time to support the detoxification of mercury after amalgam fillings are removed. The five-day period immediately after removal is critical. However, following a mercury detoxification protocol for several months is important.
Tom McGuire’s book Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury From Your Body is another excellent resource. His protocol does not require a pharmaceutical chelating agent and focuses on rebuilding and repairing the damage done by mercury; www.dentalwellness4u.com
Dr. Mercola has a detailed mercury detoxification protocol available online which you may want to read and consider. His recommendations include a pharmaceutical chelating agent:
Detoxification and autism
It is well known that there is a genetic disposition to autism. Many autistic children also show genetic evidence of a diminished ability to perform the functions of detoxification. Parents and physicians have reported extremely good results in improving the health and behavior of autistic children when the mercury was removed from children’s bodies using a variety of detoxification protocols. Many physicians who have specialized in the treatment of autistic children report that no other treatment has brought about the improvement that the removal of mercury has brought. This is further evidence that mercury is a primary factor for some children with autism. There are many routes by which children can receive toxic doses of mercury (vaccines, dental fillings, dietary fish, and from the mother while in the womb).
Diet is high on the list of important concerns for parents of autistic children. Many, if not most, autistic children suffer from some degree of intestinal permeability and nutritional deficit, each of which must be corrected prior to any attempt at detoxification. Supporting the detoxification process is also a major concern.
In 2001, the Autism Research Institute enlisted a group of scientists and physicians from around the world to seek answers. They surveyed more than twenty-three thousand parents of autistic children who rated seventy-seven biomedical interventions. Mercury detoxification received a far higher rating than any drug, supplement, or special diet. Mercury detoxification was rated helpful by 73 percent of parents. A gluten/casein-free diet was next with 63 percent. In 2005, this group convened to review a variety of mercury detoxification protocols. The paper that resulted, Treatment Options forMercury/Metal Toxicity in Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities:
Consensus Position, is available online:
http://autism.asu.edu/TreatmentOptions.pdf. The paper focuses on physician-administered chelation but addresses several other methods. Dr. Mercola’s comments are also found online and worth reading:
Beyond Chelation Plus: http://longevityplus.com/
Clay detox formulas:
LL’s Magnetic Clay Baths: http://www.magneticclay.com/
Clay for internal and external use:
Nature’s Body Beautiful: http://www.naturesbodybeautiful.com/
Redmond clay: http://www.redmondclay.com/
Detox foot bath:
Platinum energy systems: www.platinumenergysystems.ca
Homeopathic detox formulas:
Deseret Biologicals: http://www.desbio.com/
Light Beam Generator:
Quantron Resonance system (QRS):
Energy Enhancement System (EES):
The Fast Track Detox Diet by Ann Louise Gittleman
Mercury Detoxification: The Natural Way to Remove Mercury from Your Body by Tom McGuire, DDS