Spring Cleaning for the Body: a Naturopathic Detox

Revive for Spring.
by Eve Armytage.

With the weather finally getting warm enough to admit that it might be Spring, it’s time to start thinking about exercise, shedding a few layers (of clothes and possibly ourselves!) and waking up from our hibernation mode. With summer and party mode looming imminently, it might be tempting to embark upon a detox, but it may be worth reviewing whether this is a good idea and how to start.

The Need to Detox:
Detoxing, to me, means giving the body a rest from the preservatives, sugars and toxins which are preventing you from working at your best. The problem with “doing a detox” is that afterwards, you go back to all the same bad habits. Improving your lifestyle with regular exercise, regular fasting and cutting down your carb, sugar and stimulant intake may help improve your life, not just detoxify it. Starting now with a gentle and manageable change to your habits may allow you to approach a new view of how to achieve and maintain great health!

Should everyone do a detox?
If you have been unwell, fatigued or under a lot of stress, a standard over the counter detox may not be the best path for you. As a naturopath who endeavours to educate and promote self-managed health, I will always design a detox protocol according to the needs and capability of the individual. This will definitely include dietary changes, but may differ in length of time and accompanying supplements and herbal support, according to what is needed by you.

Embarking upon a detox can be a spring clean which leaves you feeling lighter and brighter for summer, but before making any major changes to your health, please discuss with a naturopathic practitioner, to help create the safest and most effective plan to achieve the results which you are looking for.

How to start at home:
Our body is equipped with elimination organs (skin, lungs, liver, kidneys, bowels) which cleanse and excrete what is not required by the body. Most detox products and protocols concentrate only on the liver, but essentially we need to support all the aspects of clearance and detoxification.

Skin:
Use dry skin brushing to remove dead skin from the surface and to stimulate circulation to the skin and also stimulate lymphatic clearance of toxins. Buy a long handled bristle brush (these are relatively inexpensive at the supermarket) and sweep along the limbs in the direction towards the heart. Take care not to brush too hard, but brush in a regular brisk motion all around the legs and arms, up over the back, and more gently over the stomach, moving in a clockwise motion to help support natural bowel action.

Follow with a shower, then use a quality oil or lotion to moisturise the skin. Spray the brush lightly with a tea-tree and lavender antiseptic spray and leave out in the sun from time to time to allow for complete cleansing. Replace every few months.

Lungs:
Exercise! This can be walking, running, gym classes, yoga, but breathing deeply and fully using the diaphragm to full expel our breath enhances our ability to think, deliver oxygen into the bloodstream and improve fitness.

Utilise essential oils to benefit health and for cleansing. If you have been suffering from any respiratory distress (colds, bronchitis, sinus), doing a steam inhalation with lavender, tea tree and rosemary oils (a few drops of each, up to 12 drops in total) may help to soothe and cleanse.

Kidneys:
Drink plenty of room temperature filtered water. See my article on how much water to drink (http://reviveyourhealth.com.au/2016/01/31/water-consumption-how-much-water-do-we-really-need/ ) and don’t forget to drink herbal or green teas, or freshly squeezed juice for more effect. Specific juices for detoxing include beetroot, celery, carrot, grapefruit, ginger.

Liver:
Bitter tasting foods help to stimulate the liver and bile, and improve digestion, so drinking 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in a glass of water can help with this. Other dietary suggestions include eating rocket in your salad, and including digestive herbs such as rosemary or fennel in your cooking.

I am happy to discuss any aspects of how a detox may help you to revive your health. You can contact me at eve@reviveyourhealth.com.au

Eve Armytage
Naturopath
Revive Your Health
27 October 2016.

 

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