Everyone has their own annual traditions, but did you know that your body also has its own habits that are closely linked to the seasons? Spring is a natural time for your body to shed toxins and that makes it a smart time to do cleansing.
Detoxification is part of virtually every holistic health tradition, from Ayurveda to naturopathic medicine, and it can yield significant benefits whether you’re healthy, fighting off a series of flu bugs, or pursuing a cure for a chronic condition.
What you eat plays a role in your health – but the air you breathe, the water that comes out of your tap (or bottle, or well), and the ingredients in your personal care products are also important factors. All of these can contain toxins that affect health, either in the long run or the short-term.
Short-term toxins are more well-known and better recognized. If something causes immediate vomiting or is life-threatening if swallowed, then it has to be taken seriously. But long-term toxins like petrochemicals and artificial additives are just as serious a concern in the long run, although they may take years or decades to make you sick.
Examples of long-term toxins in our everyday lives include:
Mainstream medicine tends to take the position that the human body is capable of cleansing and detoxifying on its own. To a certain extent, that’s true. Your liver, colon, kidneys, and lymphatic system are all designed to pull wastes out of your body and eliminate them before they can do any harm. Your lungs and skin play a major role in this process, too, and even fat tissue helps to segregate toxins where they can’t hurt you.
But that’s not the end of the story. In a world where chemicals are everywhere, where it’s hard to buy a meal without ingesting a dozen different preservatives and artificial flavours, our bodies are subjected to more toxins and environmental stress than they were a century or even a decade ago. Sometimes that toxin load is more than your body can handle, and that’s where detoxification comes in, to ease some of that chemical burden and improve health on all levels.
The science bears this theory out. In one study, chronically ill patients who underwent ten weeks of cleansing decreased their symptoms by an average of 52%. Participants in another clinical trial who cleansed using dietary changes and a detoxification supplement improved their metabolic function in only a week. They also were found to process chemical markers through the liver (including caffeine and sodium benzoate) faster that they had only a week earlier, before cleansing. (Macintosh A., Ball K. The effects of a short program of detoxification in disease-free individuals. Alternative Therapies. 2000 Jul; 6(4):70-6.)
In our practice at TCNM, we’ve found that the benefits of cleansing can be transformative. Our clients report more energy, clearer thinking, less pain, and lessening of other chronic problems and symptoms – sometimes even symptoms that didn’t respond to other treatments.
Of course, it’s important to cleanse with care. Cleansing too quickly can lead to headaches, skin breakouts, and other irritating symptoms, and a lot of the information out there in the media is just plain wrong. That’s why it’s vital to cleanse under supervision of a naturopathic doctor who can provide you with the guidance and support to find the right detoxification plan for you.
Posted: 2013 March 25