Now, I’m going to start by saying that I really dislike it when the word ‘detox’ is being used as an overhyped marketing buzz word for supplements, diets, etc.etc. Your body is very smart and knows how to detox, however, having said that almost all clients I see need to support their detoxification pathways. Why? Well the short answer is – because we live in a toxic soup. All of us, no exclusions. Unfortunately.
The air we breathe, the water we drink, the stuff we put on our skin and hair, the stuff we put in our bodies (silicone implants, amalgam fillings, sanitary products, orthopaedic implants), the pesticides and other harmful compounds in food, smoking (including passive smoking) medication, alcohol, recreational drugs…… Exposures to toxins from our jobs or hobbies and even our own homes. Never before in the history of humankind our detoxification pathways have been more overwhelmed.
Did you know that your own body produces something called endotoxins as well – these are toxins we produce as a by-products of bodily processes or these may also be produced by harmful bacteria living in our guts. So even if you lived in a pristinely cleaned environment (and I’m not sure where that would be), you would still need to detoxify these.
So here is the list of how you can help your detox pathways. I’m focusing on free or very inexpensive ways that everybody would have access to:
Chose something you enjoy and do it regularly. I’m not talking about expensive gym subscriptions, £90 Sweaty Betty leggings you can’t start without or CrossFit sessions (although go for these if you really want to). It can be as simple as exercising in your garden/lounge or garage using your own body weight and there are lots of videos online that can help you do that. When we exercise we increase blood flow and lymph movement, flush out the lungs and of course we sweat – which are all fantastic for detoxification.
On an average day you should be drinking a minimum of two litres of filtered water. It is really important that the water is filtered as there might be compounds such as heavy metals, fluoride and chlorine in normal tab water in the UK. We want to detox after all, not add more things that then need to be detoxified.
The best filter for me is a reverse osmosis one as it also takes out smaller molecules from medications that enter the water supply and that type of filter also re-mineralises the water. Or you can buy bottled spring water in glass bottles if you wish. But water is such an important element of detoxification and one which is often underestimated. It helps us flush out toxins, carry nutrients around the body, it improves mood, brain function and is found to also help weight loss. I also encourage clients to include decaffeinated herbal teas such as mint and ginger in their water intake goals, however aim to limit coffees and teas as they are dehydrating!
Using a dry body brushing, starting at the feet and brushing towards the heart is a great way to stimulate your lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are path of the lymphatic system, which carries out toxins out of the body. You can buy a natural body brush for less than £10 and use it for years to come – just don’t forget to give it a wash once a week with warm water and soap. Work this habit into your pre-shower routine daily – it only takes 2/3 minutes.
The mechanism through which oil pulling helps us detoxify is by activating salivary enzymes, which absorb toxins such as chemical toxins, bacterial toxins and environmental toxins from the blood and removed from the body through the tongue. How to do it? Pick an oil you like – I usually go for coconut oil and take a spoon of melted oil before you have drank anything or brushed your teeth in the morning and swirl around in your mouth for 5/10 minutes every morning. You would be surprised what stuff comes out!
This is another gem and an easy to use inexpensive tool. I personally purchased a copper one online for £5. Tongue scrapers help get rid of toxins and bacteria that can accumulate on your tongue, it will be good to get a copper one as copper is also antimicrobial. Incorporating this routine can also help you get rid of bad breath and improve taste!
James Bond Showers
Starting with warm water and gradually decreasing the temperature until cold is a type of shower favoured by the famous 007 agent, however, these type of showers are also really helpful when it comes to detoxification, especially after warming up the body through exercise or sauna. Blasting yourself with a cold shower stimulates circulation and supports expansion of the muscles, hence the release of toxins. Cold water has more oxygen, for this reason, more alkalizing to the body.
Bentonite clay is a natural clay with a fine, soft texture, which forms a paste when mixed with water. It has been used for thousands of years to remove impurities on the skin, such as oils, and toxins from the body.
Scientists believe that bentonite clay works by adsorbing oils and dirt from the skin.
The theory is that bentonite clay adsorbs materials by sticking to their molecules or ions. As the clay leaves the body, it takes the toxin or other molecules with it.
Bentonite clay contains natural minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, which may provide additional benefits.
Bentonite clay can also be used internally and for that you would need medical grade clay (also you have to look for brands tested for heavy metals as some brands have been found to contain Lead). I would suggest if you use Bentonite clay internally to work a registered nutritionist as sometimes the clay can also bind and excrete mineral and vitamin molecules when taken internally.
To use externally – mix with water and use in baths, foot soaks, face or armpit masks.
Epsom Salt Baths or Foot Baths
This is a fantastic way to help you detoxify and also relax. Simply scoop half a cup of Epsom Salts (made of Magnesium Sulphate) into a foot bath or in your bath ( but don’t use any shampoo or soap) and soak for at least 30 minutes. If you wish you can add a couple of drops of essential oils such as Lemon Balm or Lavender. These baths are also great for preparing you for a restful sleep as the Magnesium relaxes the muscles.
If you need more structured and targeted approach to detoxifying, which incorporates specific foods, supplements and further lifestyle changes find a Registered Nutritionist to help you with that.