Most of us
know someone who has tried a detox programme of some sort or another, often just
over a weekend or few days and often with very mixed results.
The purpose of a detox is to unburden your body, by eating very simple foods and drinking
water, and allowing it the chance to break down and eliminate the toxins it has
built up over the years, and spend time repairing and rejuvenating the body’s
tissues. (About 50% of our body’s energy
is used up during digestion – no wonder we are so tired all of the time!)
The most important
detoxification organ in the body is the liver, but it is important that all of
the body’s organs are functioning efficiently before starting a detox programme
so that wastes do not accumulate. For
example, if a person is constipated, toxins from the colon can be re-absorbed back
into the blood and this will create more work for the liver as it has to break
the toxins down. It can also be seen
that when one organ is congested, the body will eliminate toxins vicariously,
eg through the skin (acne).
People who launch themselves into fasting-type detox plans, often complain after a few
days that they feel worse for eating healthily and not drinking coffee and
alcohol. They are experiencing what is
known as a “Healing Crisis”. As they
unburden their body of new toxins, the body starts to mobilise all the toxins
it has stored over the years out of the fat deposits, and into the blood stream
to be broken down by the liver – it is the release of these toxins that bring
on the symptoms of the healing crisis: headaches, foggy feeling in the head, lethargy,
tiredness and nausea.
unpleasant side effects pass after a few days, and leave you feeling
revitalised and full of energy. However, a full detox can take in the region of eight weeks depending on the severity of the toxin build up.
embarking on a detox programme there are a few things that are worth
Is this your
busiest time at work?
Do you have
any dinners to attend, or parties or weddings etc?
Do you have
exams coming up?
Are you about
to go on the holiday?
Is this the
right time for you to embark on a detox programme?
The idea is to take
the load off the body by giving it nutritious but simple foods to digest. For example, eating brown rice, fish, fruit
and vegetables. Cutting out all dairy and
wheat products, including eggs. Drinking
plenty of pure bottled water.
Recipes that are suitable for detoxification programmes are included in our healthy recipes section. We have also recommended some detox books at the bottom of the page
what do eat
what not to eat
made juices, either fruit or vegetable are full of vitamins and minerals, that
are in a readily available form for the body to utilise. There are many types of juicer on the market
now, and at affordable prices. The centrifugal
juicers are very good. There are
websites that compare the various features, such as how easy it is to clean,
Fruit juices are more cleansing than vegetable juices. Fruit
juices are best consumed in the mornings when digestion is at its highest
point, and vegetable juices are best taken later in the day between meals. It is generally advisable to not mix fruits
and vegetables when juicing as this can lead to build up of gases and impaired
digestion. However, apples can be mixed
with any vegetable and carrots can be mixed with any fruit. (Dried fruits should not be mixed with
juices.) Beetroot is especially
supportive for the liver and is a good cleanser
Juicing recipes are available on the website and those that are especially good for particular detoxification programmes are marked accordingly
various supplements that support the body through a detox programme, some
support the liver specifically and others aid the digestion and ensure the
regular transit of food through the digestive tract, to avoid
constipation. For a full list of detox
supplements and an explanation of their effect on the body, click on the supplements link. Some
examples of detox supplements are:
– encourages the flow of bile from the liver, which aids in the breakdown of
fats. It also is said to protect the
liver cells and encourage their regeneration.
the dried root can be bought in the form of a “coffee”. Dandelion aids contraction of the gall
bladder and hence the flow of bile, to help in the digestive process. It also helps to decongest the liver, by
cleansing the liver cells.
Husks – contain soluble fibre and mucilaginous compounds to ensure the regular
transit of faeces through the digestive system to prevent constipation.
4 Exercise & Skin Brushing
moves the blood around the body and carries oxygen and nutrients, which aids
healing. Contraction of the muscles during exercise aids the flow of lymph,
which carries waste products from the body tissues to eventually join the blood
stream to be eliminated. Exercise initiates
the release of endorphins (“happy chemicals”) which have a positive effect on
your emotional wellbeing.
For the first
few days of the detox, you may just feel like curling up and hibernating, but
once these feelings subside you will have more energy. To ensure that the toxins your body is trying
to eliminate do not stagnate, it is important to make sure you include some
exercise in your daily routine – e.g. Yoga, stretching, going to the gym,
walking, rebounding and of course Qi Gong.
with a stiff brush is a very good way of moving the lymph – always brush in the
direction of the heart. It also removes
dead skin cells that may be clogging up the pores and hindering elimination via
encourages the movement of lymph and hence the mobilisation of toxins.
5 Saunas and baths
promote sweating, allowing the body to eliminate toxins.
Salts to a bath creates an alkaline environment to mobilise acids out of the
Care needs to
be taken with very hot baths during a detox.
Always make sure there is someone around to check on you.