Do you find yourself feeling more run down, achy, congested or moody? Are you having more headaches, stiffness, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating or food cravings?
Whether or not you are experiencing a few of these common symptoms associated with toxic burden, detoxifying is a critical tool to help you maintain your health and be your most vibrant you. Similar to taking your car in for a deep cleaning, your body needs to be given a clean slate every so often.
There are various ways to detox: a short-term fast, juicing, consuming strictly raw foods or merely focusing on functional foods. Regardless of how we decide to approach a detox, a crucial piece is ensuring our elimination pathways are functioning at an optimal level. We must ask ourselves:
Ensuring you are having regular bowel movements is a good place to begin. Supporting good bowel health can be achieved by healthy hydration, along with good amounts of whole foods and fiber in your diet. Avoid stimulating laxatives (senna, aloe or bisacodyl), and seek out more bulk-forming laxatives, like agar, psyllium, kelp and plant gum in a more natural, supportive approach. Magnesium in the forms of magnesium citrate, malate or glycinate can also help encourage regularity.
Hydrating an adequate amount throughout the day is crucial in supporting your body in eliminating toxins. The main rule of thumb is consuming at least half your bodyweight in fluid ounces; however, if you are active and sweating, that demand can triple.
Skin is the body’s largest organ, and along with protecting us from outside pathogens, our skin eliminates toxins through sweat. There are great activities that encourage sweating, such as exercise, steam rooms, saunas and detox baths. Be sure to shower after sweating to prevent reabsorption of toxicants.
We often forget that exhalation is a form of release. We inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide to maintain internal balance. We also use our breath to release emotional, toxic build-up. When our breath becomes choppy and shallow, we hold onto emotional toxins and retain more tension. By creating awareness of our breath and maintaining smooth, deep, rhythmic breaths in and out, we are more capable of letting go.
The detox organ, the liver, must be up to the challenge for a successful detoxification experience. It is here that the vast majority of substances are broken down to then be eliminated by the body. Avoid liver-offending substances, such as alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, sugar and other medications. Supplement your diet with liver-supportive substances and foods, such as milk thistle, artichoke, turmeric, omega-3s, garlic, avocado, lemon, beets and green tea, to name a few.
Your lymphatic system is designed to gather toxic substances from the tissue and return them to circulation to then be eliminated. Exercise is a great way to increase circulation and encourage lymphatic movement. Lymphatic massage is also a passive technique to optimize this elimination pathway. One can also use these DIY home remedies to encourage lymphatic drainage:
Mind, Heart and Spirit
A mental, emotional and spiritual detox can also accompany a physical one. Often, the two can have a complimentary effect. Cleaning out your mind translates into a cleaner life and vice versa. Try tidying up the house or completing a task you have been putting off for a while. Engaging in a favorite hobby and limiting television will help to rid of old habits and encourage more creativity. Lastly, ensure you are finding relaxation daily to allow your nervous system to shift into “rest and digest,” a necessary state for detox and elimination.
(c) 2015- Integrative Health Care, PC
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Dr. Lauren Beardsley is a licensed Naturopathic Physician dedicated to helping individuals replenish, restore and renew balance. She received her Medical degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM). Prior to medical school, she worked with the University of Arizona in Cardiovascular Research and Diabetic health as well as with Scottsdale Healthcare completing research in Family/Community medicine. She received post graduate training in athletic performance optimization, pain management using physical manipulation and injection therapy, women’s health and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. In 2012, she was named one of Phoenix Magazines’s “Top Docs.”
Dr. Beardsley brings her passion for health and wellness to Integrative Health and specializes in stress rehabilitation, hormonal optimization and pain management. She is dedicated to providing patients with answers to their questions and joining them in determining the best path toward restoration of health.
Dr. Beardsley can be reached at www.MyIntegrativeHealth.com and 480-657-0003.