Cleansing or detoxifying is a really great way to improve the overall functionality of your body and mind. Improved digestion, increased energy, clearer skin, healthier hair and nails, and improved body composition are all possible outcomes of a good cleanse. Increasing the "good stuff' (live, natural, good quality foods), and decreasing the "bad stuff' (processed and refined foods) should be the main focus of a cleanse.
Although the body has incredible ways of detoxifying itself – the lining of a woman's uterus is expelled, approximately, every 21-28 days to allow for new cells to grow; participating in a structured cleanse can boost the body's natural ability to detoxify by supporting an environment that is synonymous with healing. The cleanse also works to provide the body with some useful tools which can aid in the cleansing and detoxifying process.
A cleanse can last anywhere from one day to one month, or sometimes even longer. The period of time chosen often depends on the time of year, the goals of the individual, and the benefits that have been received in the past.
Regardless of the duration you choose, here are some guidelines to make your next cleanse as effective as possible:
- Eat fresh fruits & vegetables
Raw, living, unprocessed foods have active enzymes in them. This allows the pancreas, which is responsible for enzyme production, to rest and rejuvenate. The most efficient way to increase your nutrient uptake, is to incorporate fresh salads, fruit smoothies and fresh vegetable juices into your diet.
- Cut the crap
Remove refined sugars, processed foods, artificial sweeteners and other chemical additives from your diet; these products add to the toxic load on the body. You should also put a hold on alcohol, coffee and other addictive substances for the duration of your cleanse.
The lungs are an organ of detoxification.Deep breathing not only energizes us by oxygenating our cells, but it also removes carbon dioxide from the body and calms the mind when done mindfully.
A cleanse should be accompanied by a period of rest. It is not ideal to be working or studying full-time while cleansing: the body needs time to do its work. It's best if you can either make your cleansing time coincide with a holiday away, or with some scheduled time off from work or school.
- Dry Brush
Dry-brushing the skin is a great way to move lymph fluid through the body. Lymph contains white blood cells and aids in the destruction of potentially harmful bacteria. Dry brushing also promotes the removal of dead skin cells and the regeneration of new ones.
- Sweat and Do Yoga
The skin is the largest organ of the body and, coincidentally, the largest organ of detoxification. Given that it's a semi-permeable membrane, the skin can act as a vehicle for removing toxins from the body. Using a far-infrared sauna, participating in hot yoga or engaging in moderate exercise all enhance the detoxification process.
- Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt isn't actually salt at all but rather a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Both minerals aid in detoxification by reducing inflammation, flushing toxins and relaxing muscles. A nice relaxing bath is also a good time for deep introspection, allowing clarity and cleansing of the emotional mind.
Take time to explore the mental and emotional stress that blocks your energy from flowing. Journaling is a great way to organize your thoughts, reflect on your feelings, and recognize any of your dysfunctional habits or patterns. All of this is helpful in the detoxification process.
Muscular tension is often linked to our state of mind. Massage can help to reduce tension in the muscles, increase circulation, reduce stress, balance energy in the body, and nourish the skin. Taking time for at least one massage during a cleanse will facilitate the entire cleansing process.
- Castor Oil Packs
Castor oilis a great tool for removing toxins from the body. Place warm castor oil over your liver and belly, the location of all your digestive organs, and then cover the area with a piece of cloth or plastic wrap to avoid a mess. Place a heating pad over the oiled area for a minimum of 20 minutes, preferably in the evening, and take some time to rest. Castor oil packs soak through the skin and improve the body's ability to assimilate nutrients and eliminate toxins, while at the same time stimulating circulation.