When you consider that we’re surrounded by toxins, periodic cleansing makes good sense.
Where do toxins come from? Just about everywhere!
We take up toxins from our food, water, personal care products, household items, cleaning products, clothing, dental work, the air, medications . . . and the list goes on and on. We inhale them, ingest them, and absorb them through the skin.
And don’t forget about pathogens! We can get harmful bacteria from food and water sources or from contaminated surfaces. We can pick up parasites from the air, insect bites, animals, other humans, and infected food and water supplies. Parasites themselves are carriers of toxins. They can absorb many times their own body weight in toxins!
If you’ve done any of our cleanses you know there’s some planning involved. If you haven’t and you’re a little intimidated about the supplement schedule you’ll have to follow or you’re worried about the side effects, we invite you to try some of these easy cleansing techniques to jumpstart your grander cleansing aspirations.
Never underestimate the power of a good sweat.
You’re not just losing water when you sweat. You’re expelling wastes and toxins too.
Sweating is a major pathway of elimination, but there’s a lot less sweat-inducing physical activity going on compared to generations of the past. Add in our increased exposure to chemical toxins and that’s a bad combo.
If you’re not into sweating from vigorous activity, perhaps you’d prefer the less invasive method of a sauna.
Saunas are great for reducing your environmental toxin and heavy metal load. Doesn’t the potential to sweat out mercury, pesticides, PCBs, PBA, and prescription drug residue sound great? And all while you relax!
You have the option of traditional (Finnish) or infrared sauna treatments. Traditional saunas use radiant heat to reach temperatures between 158-212 degrees F (70-100 degrees C), while infrared saunas generally stay between 104-140 degrees F (40-60 degrees C). Infrared heat penetrates deeper into the skin than the warmed air of traditional saunas, but consider either for detox and other health benefits.
2) Dry Brushing
If you enjoy using a loofah, sponge or even a washcloth on your skin when you bathe, you’ll love the invigorating feel of dry brushing.
It’s exactly what it sounds like - using a dry brush on dry skin.
What’s the purpose? On the surface, dry brushing cleanses the pores and helps to exfoliate the skin, removing dead cells and promoting the growth of new cells. Deeper down, dry brushing promotes lymphatic drainage.
A key player in immune function is the lymphatic system. The vessels that transport the lymphatic fluid are below the skin. Regularly dry brushing the skin stimulates normal lymph flow. Why is this important? The lymphatic system helps the body rid itself of foreign material such as bacteria, waste, and toxins. It also circulates infection-fighting white blood cells.
You’ll want to choose a brush with firm, natural bristles for the skin below the neck. A long handle brush is ideal for reaching places like the back. For the face, choose a brush with soft, natural bristles for more delicate skin.
Starting at the feet, brush up the legs. Then move to the torso, starting from the bottom and brushing toward the heart, making your way all around (front, sides, back). Next move to the hands, starting at the fingertips and brushing up the arm toward the chest, again working all the way around each arm. There is some debate whether to make long, smooth brush strokes or circular motions moving toward the center of the chest. Whichever technique you use, do two or three passes over each section of skin using gentle pressure.
For best results, dry brush before hopping in the shower. Many proponents of this ritual claim that dry brushing has energizing qualities, so it’s best saved for the morning. Whenever you work it into your day, start with two or three days a week and work up to a daily routine if you’re so inclined.
3) Intermittent Fasting
Fasting breaks down and removes dysfunctional proteins and cells through autophagy, which is the body’s way of clearing out unnecessary or problematic components in order to regenerate new ones.
Fasting also puts stress on the liver, which sounds bad, but this triggers the body’s self-healing mechanisms, such as autophagy.
There isn’t direct proof of removing toxins by fasting, but the theory is that toxins and fat cells are being broken down through autophagy. Even if this doesn’t hold true, the body is getting rid of unwanted stuff during autophagy, which has been linked to reduced oxidative stress, improved mitochondrial function, fighting malignant cells, and anti-aging.
A huge fan of intermittent fasting is Dr. Joseph Mercola. Not necessarily as a means for toxin removal, but as a tool to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
4) Oil Pulling
Oil pulling has its roots in Auyrvedic medicine. What is it? It’s a practice that involves swishing oil in the mouth. This, theoretically, “pulls” bacteria from the mouth and promotes oral hygiene.
Some insist on the theory that mouth is a gateway to the bloodstream. The Ayurvedic tradition believes the tongue has close ties to organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and small intestine. Oil pulling activates salivary enzymes, which absorb toxins from the blood and exit through the tongue.
Since our mouths are thriving petri dishes of bacteria and toxins, wouldn’t it be advantageous to clean things up? By cleansing through the mouth, you’re removing disease-causing toxins. If you don’t believe the hype about extracting toxins deeper within the body, at the very least oil pulling is a good routine to improve oral health.
Some oils are more beneficial than others because they have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. Currently, coconut oil is the favorite due to its numerous health benefits, but sunflower or sesame oil can also be used. Be sure to choose a good quality oil, preferably one that is organic, unrefined, and cold pressed.
Upon waking in the morning and before eating, put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth and swish it around for at least 20 minutes. Spit out the oil when time is up - don’t swallow it. If you can’t swish for the full 20 minutes straight, spit and take another tablespoon of oil and swish for the remaining time. Post swish, rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
To prevent your pipes from being clogged, always spit out the spent oil into the trash instead of down the drain.
5) Castor Oil Packs
There’s a long tradition of using oil on the skin for health and beauty purposes. But affixing a castor oil soaked cloth to the body? Turns out this is an old practice too.
A castor oil pack is applied to the skin and aided by a heat source (hot water bottle or heating pad) for at least an hour. This technique is said to detoxify the liver, improve lymphatic circulation, reduce inflammation, and promote healing of tissues.
How does it works? The ricinoleic acid component in castor oil acts as a decongestant in the lymphatic system. Ricinoleic acid promotes the production of lymphocytes, which are disease-fighting cells. Lymphocytes help the body flush out toxins in the blood.
Position your oil pack depending on your desired outcome:
Right side of the abdomen or whole abdomen for liver and digestive support
Directly on strained muscles or joints to reduce inflammation
Lower abdomen to help with menstrual pain
You can purchase castor oil pack kits or assemble everything you need on your own. Just Google how to make a castor oil pack for details.
Doing a small skin test is recommended to rule out a castor oil allergy before you go all in with a pack. And as wonderful as castor oil is externally, always exercise caution when taking the oil internally as it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping.
6) Supplement with Toxin Binders
Your liver is your primary detox organ. The liver processes toxins and sends them into the small intestine or the bloodstream to begin the excretion phase. If the toxins are not bound to anything, they run the risk of being reabsorbed.
There are several different binders that work with different toxins - it all depends on molecular charges and bonds.
Some widely available agents can enhance the body’s natural detoxification processes. Consider supplementing with these toxin binders:
Chlorella: This green algae bonds to heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, herbicides, and mycotoxins (from molds and fungi).
Charcoal: This byproduct of combustion is enjoying the health and beauty spotlight. It’s been touted as a cure for hangovers, intestinal gas, diarrhea, body odor, and more. There may be limited proof of these claims, but activated charcoal does have toxin removal properties. In fact, it has been used in emergency rooms to treat drug overdoses and poisonings. And for decades activated charcoal has been an important water filtration media for its ability to absorb a range of toxins, chemicals, and microorganisms found in water.
For toxin removal in the body, it’s important to remember that charcoal is not absorbed into the blood like other toxin scavengers. Taking charcoal orally will only target toxins in the digestive tract. Activated charcoal works by trapping harmful chemicals and toxins on its porous surface to prevent absorption into the blood. The bound toxins are then eliminated in the stool. Trapping toxins before they enter the blood saves work for the kidneys and liver.
Just be aware that activated charcoal can also attract vitamins and minerals that you do want to absorb, so it may not be suitable for long-term use.
Clays: Zeolite, bentonite, and pyrophyllite clays bind to biotoxins given off by mold or other microorganisms. But they are known to grab onto some necessary nutrients too.
Fiber: Fiber picks up toxins as it works its way through the digestive tract and out through the stool. Modified citrus pectin, a fiber derived from citrus peel, has a high affinity for lead, but also bonds with other heavy metals.
Humic & Fulvic Acids: If you don’t eat organic, this stuff is for you! These soil derived compounds bind to agricultural toxins like glyphosate, the notorious chemical herbicide with strong links to non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other health problems. Humic and fulvic acids scavenge for heavy metals too.
Silica Products: Silica is a naturally occurring compound that attracts aluminum, a known neurotoxin.
To be clear, many natural healthcare modalities have limited scientific proof to confirm health claims because there’s no Big Pharma money driving the need for further research. And sometimes there’s limited understanding on how these alternative methods produce results. But the growing community of natural healthcare sees great potential in such practices, so that’s gotta count for something
As with any new healthcare regimen, it’s always best to consult with a qualified health practitioner. For any of the methods above, a naturopathic doctor may provide the best advice.
While we do encourage you to consider periodic cleansing with Dr. Clark’s amazing protocols, if they’re not up your alley, any combination of the cleansing methods above are worth a try.