Although our modern world offers a wealth of various technologies and conveniences which promise to make our lives easier, we are paying a heavy price due to the toxins and chemicals we are now exposed to that previous generations were not. We are the first generation of humans (since the 1940′s) to have exposure to such an overwhelming amount of synthetic chemicals in our environment. Pesticides, herbicides, colorants, preservatives, dyes, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, pollution, fillers, processed foods, and disinfectants are just a handful of substances our bodies are exposed to each day.
Filtering systems such as the liver, kidneys, skin, and lymphatic systems become overworked after years of exposure and cannot keep up with the load being placed on our bodies. These toxins are re-circulated back into the bloodstream, causing them to be stored as fat in our bodies.
The water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, products we use, and the soil we grow our food in all contain deadly, poisonous toxins that adversely affect our health. Many things you do and use each day include using, eating, or being exposed to some unnatural substance. It occurs in practically everything we do – the homes we live in, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the way we prepare food, chemicals we use for our lawns and how we clean our homes and places of business, and even just walking down the street in our own neighborhoods.
Although elimination of all contamination is impossible, the minimization to exposure of certain toxins really can mean the difference between developing specific diseases and conditions (such as cancer, Diabetes, or heart disease) and health. This article will deal with the importance of cleansing and describes ways to accomplish the various cleanses.
Before you get started
You may have heard the term “cleanse” and wondered what exactly that means. There are a variety of cleanses a person can and should do to remove toxins, impurities, and chemicals that directly affect your health in adverse ways. Some cleanses you can make at home with ingredients out of your own cupboard, while others can be purchased as a supplementation to your diet at a health food store.
A discussion of cleansing should always include a focus on eating a healthy diet replete with traditional, whole, organic foods. Just like elements in your environment, the foods you eat greatly contribute to your toxic load. If you continually eat industrial, processed foods that are produced with chemicals and in unnatural ways, your body will have more and more trouble filtering out undesirable components from your diet.
Over time your body will become polluted to the point that it can no longer do its job of removing those toxins from your body. Toxins will get stored (such as in your fat cells) because they are unrecognizable by your digestive tract – the main filtering system you have for foods and beverages you consume.
So whether you are cleansing or not, you should be eating healthy foods which include grass-fed meats and poultry from animals on pasture, real dairy products from animals on pasture, organic fruits, vegetables, whole, sprouted grains/brown rice, raw nuts, legumes, and real oils like extra virgin coconut and olive oil, and palm oil.
An overview of cleansing and detoxification
Although many cleansing products are available on the market, it is advisable to seek counsel of a licensed naturopathic or comparable healthcare practitioner. Some allopathic (traditional medical doctors) will conduct cleansing with patients, although the tendency is to use pharmaceutical drugs to treat those issues. And still, many other medical doctors deny the usefulness of cleansing activities. A good naturopathic practitioner will devise a course of treatment that involves using the body’s natural abilities to heal itself via natural treatments and lifestyle changes. This process can be expensive, but when you consider how much you might spend on trips to the doctor, prescription medications, and hospital expenses due to disease and illnesses, it is well worth the investment in your health.
The purpose of using supplements for detoxification is due to the amount of toxin load in the body – which for the average person is a great amount. The right supplementation and guidance from an experienced health care practitioner will not only save you money but will maximize your efforts in performing any cleanse.
Toxins and what they do to your body
When the body becomes overloaded with toxins, many negative effects occur. Sicknesses, diseases, and allergies have a much stronger ability to invade the body and take over. Recovery time from any of these problems is greatly increased and the body’s immune system becomes compromised. Have you ever wondered why people who contract colds, influenza, and other illnesses are unable to recover within in a few days? The common cold is not what it used to be, and it is now customary to hear reports of people exhibiting symptoms for weeks and months during cold and flu season.
Levels of toxicity in our world are higher than ever in history, which is one reason our world is becoming more and more riddled with illnesses from which people are slow to recuperate. Another reason people have trouble getting over influenza and colds is because of the over-use of antibiotics, which has caused a resistance by bacteria to the medications doctors prescribe. Antibiotics kill all bacteria – including the necessary, friendly flora in your immune system – the bulk of which resides in your digestive tract. As a result, bacteria and viruses are mutating at alarming rates.
Even if you take antibiotics to combat one of these strains, you may become ill again if your body has not had a chance to adequately recover and/or you become re-exposed to the bacteria or virus that has mutated against the drug which you took that is now ineffective. The use of drugs actually causes new toxins to appear and destroys beneficial bacteria, giving toxin overload a leg-up in biological environments like the human body.
Cleansing is useful because it aids in ridding the body of toxins that impair optimal health. It is an important key to overall health and wellness and is solid prevention against many diseases and illnesses. It is critical to note that completing cleanses on their own and without significant lifestyle changes and maintenance will negate the power of cleansing in the first place. Making lifestyle changes can be difficult, but they are a necessary component to total health change.
Many things we do on a daily basis and because of habits or rituals of society may make it seemingly impossible to affect these changes in your own life. By viewing it as being in the best interest of health and ultimately your body, the decision might be easier than you think. If you have suffered from chronic or life-long health problems as a result of poor diet, use of prescription medications and/or antibiotics and over-the-counter medications, lack of exercise, overloads of stress and toxins on your body (as many have experienced), cleansing is an excellent way to restore your health to optimal levels and keep it there.
Cleanses can assist with improvement and/or elimination of the following health conditions:
- Bad Breath or body odor
- Skin disorders
- Candida overgrowth
- Mental dullness or poor memory
- Stomach bloat or gas
- Poor digestion
- Weight gain or unnecessary weight loss
- Premature aging
- Illnesses & degenerative disease
After cleansing is complete, continuance of lifestyle changes is crucial to support the important work done in your body. If you are already participating in some healthy lifestyle choices, integrating others into daily activities will be that much easier.
Lifestyle changes for better health
- Adopt a way of life and mindset that allows for less stress in your overall life. Support this frame of mind through a variety of activities such as any type of moderate exercise you enjoy accompanied by some other method such as yoga, martial arts, pilates, chiropractic care, acupuncture or acupressure, reflexology, meditation, or massage.
- Drink 8 to 10 glasses of purified water daily (purified mineral water is a plus).
- If you are a smoker, consider quitting or cutting back. If you are not a smoker, but spend a good deal of time around those who do smoke, consider changing your activity to include less time around environments where you will be exposed to cigarette or pipe smoke.
- If you are taking them, educate yourself on the effects of pharmaceutical drugs and pharmaceutical grade (synthetic) vitamins on your body. An internet search or a trip to your local library or book store are good places to start. Also, talk to a natural health care practitioner about how you might be able to replace these substances with a natural alternative or stop taking them altogether. For information on the problems of pharmaceutical drugs, visit the Organic Consumers Association web site. Here is their article on the use of synthetically produced vitamins.
- Stop using recreational and illegal drugs. Cut back on alcohol consumption or stop completely.
- Obtain plenty of rest (at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night). A schedule that includes staying past 10 p.m. on a regular basis can spell trouble for your body. If you have trouble sleeping, consider the following:
Do not drink any caffeinated drinks after 4 p.m. Reduce your overall intake of caffeine drinks in general as over-consumption can contribute to many health conditions. Drink calming, caffeine-free herbal teas late in the day and before bedtime to promote sleep such as teas containing valerian root, spearmint, passionflower, raspberry leaf, and chamomile.
Avoid engaging in activities before bedtime that might cause your body or mind stress such as playing video games, listening to loud music, watching tense, violent, or disturbing movies or television shows.
Do not consume large amounts of carbohydrates (especially refined) without some protein before retiring at night. Too many carbohydrates can aggravate the adrenal system and can overload them and cause sleeplessness.
- Dietary suggestions: fresh organic fruits and vegetables, fresh or frozen wild-caught fish, pasture-raised/organic chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef, game meats, pasture-raised organic eggs, organ meats, whole sprouted grains such as millet, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, spelt, teff, and brown rice, pasta in limited quantities made from those grains, essential fatty acids: flax oil, fish oil, borage oil, blackcurrant seed oil, organic butter and cream, almond butter, and raw seeds. Store all oils in the refrigerator and use them up within two weeks to avoid rancidity.
- Minimize exposure to toxins. Some examples include eliminating pesticides and herbicides, processed foods, cleaning, personal care, and other products containing contaminants, additives, preservatives, and chemicals that are harmful to your body and the environment. In your own home, you would be surprised to discover just how many items belong to that list – laundry detergent, soap, bathroom and kitchen cleaners, shampoos, bug sprays, lotion, shaving cream, dishwashing liquid or detergent, food in your cupboard, freezer, or refrigerator, furniture polish, facial cremes, mosquito repellent, baby wipes, and toilet paper. Clean up your stock of products that are harmful by throwing out those items and purchasing healthier alternatives online or from your local natural foods or health store. Read labels carefully to make certain you not replacing one problem item with another. If you pronounce the name of an ingredient or if it sounds like a chemical, you probably don’t want to use that product. Visit Healthy Communications to see a list of hazardous ingredients in personal care and cleaning products.
- Recycle and find alternatives to plastic or petroleum-based items with glass, corning ware, ceramic, metal, or wood (such as anything used for storing/eating food, such as storage containers and utensils). Use caution with paper as some of these products contain chemicals as well. The use of plastic has actually been linked to cancer and other illnesses. Many plastics are petroleum-based substances. Their contents actually leach into food and beverages when containing them, particularly if plastic is subjected to extreme temperatures like heat – or even freezing. Avoid the use of styrofoam for food storage for the same reason. In wider communities, much controversy exists over whether plastics are actually dangerous to use. The plastic industry currently takes the position that this claim is untrue, but using caution when considering substances to use when storing food is more than wise. Plastics contain an endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can cause a variety of health problems. Most notably, xenoestrogens, which are abundant in plastics, contribute greatly to cancer and other diseases. Containers such as glass and corning ware are inert and do not transfer particles into food. For more information on plastics, visit Mindfully.org.
- Don’t use a microwave to heat food. Microwaving changes the molecular structure of food and will render its nutritional state unhealthy. Plan for a few extra minutes for heating up food and use your oven, stove, crock pot, or toaster oven instead.
- Use vinegar mixed with water for cleaning nearly anything in your home or office. Hydrogen peroxide with water is also very effective for glass and plastic water containers. You can keep mixtures of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide each mixed with water on hand for easy cleaning. An appropriate proportion of cleanser to water is 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide to water and about a 1/4 cup of vinegar to every twelve ounces.
- Visit the following sites for information on natural cleaning products for your home and office: Natural Formulations, Kid Bean, and Grass Roots.
- Find a good healthcare practitioner to support your decisions and changes – someone who will help determine what direction to take in achieving your health goals.
Before undertaking a cleansing program, obtaining guidance from a knowledgeable practitioner is important. Optimal results will occur from seeking professional advise because ultimately it will save time, money, and unnecessary mistakes. Self-misdiagnosing can easily occur and an experienced practitioner can tailor the cleansing process to your body with appropriate products that will best fill your particular needs. Practitioners can conduct various evaluations such as muscle testing to determine which elements and combinations are right for you.
Prior to starting the cleansing process, you should be having daily bowel movements. If you are not having daily bowel movements, toxins will continue to re-circulate in your body during and after a cleanse. Another condition which predicates putting off cleansing is pregnancy. A visit to a knowledgeable practitioner will provide necessary advise regarding contraindications and adjustments to be made that are particular to your condition – for example: the state of your digestive health, which is one of the most essential functions of the human body and upon which most health conditions are contingent.
When completing a cleanses for the first time, a “first” or gentle complete body cleanse is normally appropriate. This process will effectively accustom your body to the cleansing process. If done too precipitously, cleansing can cause some side-effects that can be uncomfortable or unpleasant. A good first cleanse will effectively begin the cleaning out of all your body’s elimination systems: liver, lungs, lymphatic system, kidneys, skin, blood, and bowel.
One reputable product, called First Cleanse by Renew Life is a good first cleanse. Ask your practitioner about this product. It is gentle enough to minimize noticeable effects and prepares your body for deeper cleansing once the first is completed. This cleanse does not require fasting or any other unusual activity. There is also another general cleanse you can make in your own home called the “Master Cleanse” – recommended by many healthcare practitioners. This cleanse contains only purified water, lemon juice, pure maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. For more information about making and using this cleanse, visit Falcon Blanco or The Raw Food site.
Candida albicans is a normal yeast residing within the body (found in the intestinal tract and vagina), kept in check by a healthily functioning immune system and beneficial bacteria. When this balance is disturbed (from eating an unhealthy diet full of refined carbohydrates and/or taking antibiotics, birth control or other medications), yeast is allowed to multiply out of control and can be responsible for contributing to an array of health disorders such as gastrointestinal issues such as IBS and Leaky Gut Syndrome, heart disease, Diabetes, and many others. Excess yeast and other unwanted particles penetrate the intestinal wall and are absorbed instead of passing through – infiltrating the body. This process leads to the immune system overworking itself and causes allergic reactions to the Candida as well as other substances. Reactions range in severity and frequency, depending on the condition and include but are not limited to: fatigue, headache, mood swings, digestive issues, depression, sinus congestion and infections, infertility, poor memory and concentration, and carbohydrate cravings.
Different philosophies and schedules exist for treating candida overgrowth, and it will depend largely on the supplementation you are taking, your individual symptoms and health condition, and methods used by your healthcare practitioner. Some individuals respond favorably to a two-week regimen of candida supplementation while others have a more serious, systemic problem and must perform the schedule up to or beyond several months. Diligence with diet and administration of regular supplementation is critical to achieve maximum results. One way to determine whether you have a candida overgrowth problem is to perform a simple saliva test at home.
An outstanding product I recommend for candida cleansing is Candidase by Enzymedica. Since most people in Western countries have a candida problem, a candida cleanse can never adversely affect your health. Whenever completing a candida cleanse, you should always be concurrently taking a good digestive enzyme. Digest Gold, also by Enzymedica, comes highly recommended by many people (including practitioners) I’ve talked to. A typical diet to follow with a candida cleanse would be to eliminate all dairy, wheat, fruit, and any foods containing fungus or bacteria such as mushrooms, peanuts, peanut butter, soy, alcohol, and sugar and refined sugar and processed foods. Yeast grows on sugar, so anything you eat that contains sugar will keep the yeast from being removed from your body.
Foods to enjoy include organic vegetables, organic meats, fish, eggs, and non-gluten whole sprouted grains such as buckwheat, oats, millet, quinoa, and rice bran. For sprouted grain products, visit the Food For Life web site or your local natural foods store. A moderate amount of butter and cream on this diet is beneficial because it provides the body with needed fats during this time period. Continue the diet for at least two weeks. Most people find that they must stay on the program for up to several months due to a systemic spread of candida. Your healthcare practitioner can monitor your progress and advise as to how long this cleanse should take to complete.
For some ideas about meal preparation during a candida cleanse, visit the following sites:
For more information on candida albicans, visit these sites: Ann Boroch, Naturopath and Clinical Hypnotherapist, Nutritional Medicine, and Every Diet.
An unhealthy colon can cause a bevy of problems that may seem completely unrelated to the issue at hand. Many traditional health practitioners dismiss the usefulness of colonic cleansing. It is in fact, one of the single most important cleanses to be done because the colon is one primary organ in the body whose job is to remove and eliminate toxins. When the colon fails to function at optimal levels, the whole body is compromised and this can lead to disease and illness. Colon cancer is the number one cause of death among men and women in first-world, industrialized countries. One reason for high colon cancer rates is due to all of the processed and artificial foods we consume as a result of what’s available on the mainstream market today (including some organically-labeled foods such as anything processed).
Contrary to mainstream belief, colon hydrotherapy is not used to relieve constipation. It is used to remove impurities and toxins that have permeated the colon which contribute to the overall unhealthful state of the body. It is an ancient therapy that has been used throughout history for relief of health problems.
Another method is colon hydrotherapy. Colon hydrotherapy is a process by which a certified colon hydrotherapist instills water gently into the colon through a tube to remove accumulated fecal matter and toxins that remain in the colon and large intestine after digestion. These toxins adversely affect health in a variety of ways, many of which you may unaware. Elimination of these substances is a great step toward better health and a useful preventative tool to keep disease and illness away. Almost anyone can benefit from a colon cleanse. Contrary to mainstream belief, colon hydrotherapy is not used to relieve constipation. It is used to remove impurities and toxins in the colon. It is an ancient therapy that has been used throughout history for relief of health problems.
Selecting a knowledgeable colon hydrotherapist for your session is important. You can find local practitioners in your area by doing an Internet search or by calling some local chiropractic, naturopathic, or holistic practitioners from the Yellow Pages of your telephone directory who should be able to give you referrals. In some cases, these practitioners have hydrotherapists who have businesses in their same offices or nearby buildings.
Many people will have different opinions about when in the cleansing process to perform a colon cleanse. From research and the advice of a knowledgeable certified nutritional therapist, I have learned that performing a candida cleanse prior to colon cleansing is a good idea because after a candida cleanse, cleaning out residual matter from the intestinal tract left over from the candida cleansing process will help your body return to a state of health.
Lymphatic system cleanse
The lymphatic system is a network of tubes that runs throughout the body. The lymph nodes carry a liquid called lymph, whose job is to remove excess liquids from tissues, absorption of fatty acids and subsequent transport of fat, and production of immune cells. The lymphatic system is like a secondary circulatory system. It works in conjunction with white blood cells in lymph nodes to protect the body from being infected by cancer cells, fungi, viruses or bacteria. As a result of performing other cleanses, you will often greatly benefit your lymphatic system – one of the body’s major detoxifying machines. Activities that benefit your lymphatic system include exercise, deep breathing, acupuncture, drinking plenty of unfiltered water, taking a sauna to encourage elimination of toxins, having lymphatic massage, and cleaning up your diet.
Lymphatic cleansing can occur in conjunction with total body cleansing and liver/gallbladder/pancreatic cleansing. Consult with your healthcare practitioner about this process.
For more information on the lymphatic system cleanses, visit these sites:
Heavy metal cleanse
Toxic chemicals such as cadmium, aluminum, nickel, mercury, and lead are abundant in all of our living environments. When heavy metal poisoning is present, the elimination of secondary suppressors such as yeast and parasites cannot occur. Even the most minute amounts of mercury damages the human and animal bodies on the cellular level.
Mercury is a persistent, bio-accumulative toxin that poses a risk to human health, wildlife and the environment. One indication of mercury toxicity is the lack of response to care in which an individual has symptoms not necessarily indicating a specific disease, but are troubling and have been resistant to healing attempts including medicinal and surgical. Many scenarios occur in the dentist’s office, for example, during a teeth cleaning or filling replacement which play a critical role in the origination or continuance of disease. Confusion frequently arises in the diagnosis of a problem due to the long list of symptoms and conditions that are attributed to heavy metal toxicity. In such cases, metal toxicity should definitely be on the list of culprits.
Heavy metal poisoning has been heavily linked to autism in children. A great deal of controversy exists about the use of vaccinations and their affects on the human body. For additional information about the links of heavy metal poisioning to autism, visit Down to Earth.
It is significant to address heavy metal toxicity with a good cleanse that will not compromise the body’s ability to use vital nutrients. Chlorella is a superior, natural metal-detoxifying supplement and super-food high in nutritional content. It is comprised of whole algae and it is a single-cell plant that comes from fresh water. Its nutrients are bio-chelated which means they are naturally wrapped in essential amino acids allowing your body to absorb them. Many vitamin supplements do not have this advantage because they are synthetically created and are not naturally balanced, and are therefore unrecognizable by your body during the digestion and absorption process.
Another essential heavy metal detox to perform includes clay baths. There are many bath products on the market for heavy metal cleansing. Before doing a heavy metal cleanse, see a knowledgeable practitioner to guide you through this process. To read about metal poisoning and clay baths, visit the Eyton’s Earth site. Here are some other useful heavy metal information sites: Cleanse.net, Nova Detox.
Liver and gallbladder cleanse
Liver and gallbladder cleansing, like many other cleansing processes, have been used since the time of ancient peoples throughout the world. As with many of the other body organs, the liver can become loaded down with toxins and will have a difficult job keeping the body healthy.
As one of the primary detoxifying organs, the liver filters out from the foods and liquids we consume what is not good for our bodies. If the liver becomes overloaded with toxins, the job it performs becomes less and less efficient. What results is poor health that will show up in different ways such as fatigue, weight gain, bloating, digestive issues, fluctuating blood sugar, and many others. Many who have conducted liver cleansing in conjunction with lifestyle changes and other body cleanses report the disappearance of food intolerances/allergies, increased energy/vitality, and overall improved health. Read testimonials here.
Because liver, gallbladder, and pancreatic functions are so closely connected with overall health, seeking professional advise for this type of activity is advised. You can purchase various products on the market, but for your specific health condition and needs, a knowledgeable practitioner can suggest the appropriate course and protocol to take.
For more information on liver cleansing, visit the following sites:
Although many people associate parasites with eating or drinking something that is considered “unsanitary”, most people would be surprised to learn that just about everyone has parasites in their bodies which directly contribute to the overall state of their health – including many serious health problems that are improperly handled and misdiagnosed. If a diagnosis of parasites is confirmed by many traditional doctors, the route of cure is normally a dangerous pharmaceutical drug for treatment. Cancer is one of the most commonly connected diseases with parasites. Natural and effective means for treating parasites exist.
Literature regarding parasitic infections reveals some startling discoveries. Kitchen Doctor is a great resource on parasitic infection. The World Health Organization has reported that 3.5 billion people are afflicted with some type of parasitic infection. Not all infected individuals reside in third world countries – many who live in developed parts of the world have any variety of parasitic infections. Some infections are highly contagious and can be transmitted through extremely casual contact with something that has been handled by an infected person.
There are many symptoms experienced by individuals that could be parasitic in nature – IBS, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, malabsorption of nutrients in food, blood sugar fluctuations, sudden food cravings, emaciation or weight gain. Another possible symptom is itching, especially in children – although the absence of itching does not mean there are no parasites. Any of these symptoms can also have other causes, but it is best not to dismiss the parasitic one until research and efforts have been made to eradicate this possibility.
Contracting a parasitic infection is much easier than most people believe. Contaminated water can cause infection. Improperly washed or undercooked food is a common source of infection. Transmission from pets is a very likely way of contracting parasites. Contact with another infected person is also a common route of infection. Travel can create higher risks of infection. If you have ever used antibiotics, this can cause issue since these medications interfere with normal intestinal flora – which tend to control certain types of infection.
Performing a parasitic cleanse before a liver cleanse is most beneficial. Some of the most widely recognized remedies for parasites include fresh cloves (non-irradiated variety), wormwood, and black walnut hulls. For a complete explanation and recipe of this method, visit the Shanti Village website. You should also be taking digestive enzymes to help assist in the removal of parasitic problems. As mentioned above in the candida section, I recommend Digest Gold by Enzymedica. Consult with your practitioner for advise about the best way to complete parasitic cleansing.
Want more information? Here are some other related health topics: