The ever-popular detox system has been a staple of wellness regimens for years. But as it turns out, there's so much more at the heart of detoxing besides weight loss and trendy juice mixes. To find out exactly what we should know about the health craze, we spoke to Sylvie Beljanski, owner of The Beljanski Wellness Center, to get the full scoop on ways to purify the body. Here, she explains what exactly detoxing means, why we should do it, and how to do simple DIY cleanses at home.
1. So what does detoxing entail exactly?
People often associate the term detoxification with alcohol, drug, and substance addiction, though it's also a common method for losing weight: hence, the name "diet detox." Put plainly and simply, the aim of detoxification is to eliminate all the negative effects on the body from the environment: industrial chemicals, pesticides, additives in our food, secondary smoke, pollutants, and heavy metals included. Nowadays, people adopt internal detoxification to keep their body systems in pristine condition.
Internal detoxification targets the kidneys and colon, the organs involved in flushing chemicals and toxins from the body.
2. Why detoxing?
Detoxification is one of the best holistic ways to keep your mind and body healthy, from easing unexplained headaches or back pain to aiding memory loss, strengthening brittle nails and hair, defending your body against allergic reactions, and flushing dangerous chemicals and drugs out of your system.
Another benefit of detoxing is liver, kidney, and blood purification that wouldn't occur on a regular diet. When the immune system gets stimulated, the hormonal system experiences a boost too, reducing the body's dependency on substances such as sugar, caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol—our biggest frenemies in the health realm.
3. Short-term detoxing
Short-term detox programs can include: 24-hour juice fasting, chelation therapy (a toxicology treatment for removing heavy metals from the system), colon cleansing (colonics), skin cleansing, and intravenous injections.
4. Long-term detoxing
Long-term detox programs should include, but are not limited to, dietary changes such as avoiding meats, high-carbohydrates, or sweeteners, plus eating more vegetables and fruits or garlic.
Drinking fluids—water, vegetable and fruit juice, herbal tea—and taking vitamins or supplements can help to flush toxins from the system, but exercise (such as yoga and tai chi) can help regulate stress and energy levels too. For alternative therapies, try homeopathy, acupuncture, or hydrotherapy—taking a hot shower for five minutes and following up with 30 seconds of cold water. Likewise, other stress-relief methods include massages, herbal soaks, and meditation. Ohhhhm.
5. At-home detox treatments
The following at-home detox treatments are simple, budget friendly ways to start a detox regime. However, Beljanski recommends that anyone looking to seriously detox and improve their overall health and wellness should receive a medical consultation for their detox needs so they can truly find out the root of their symptoms and receive the best treatment regime. The below detox routines are good "starting off" points, but they will not produce long term results, she says.
6. The apple detox
For three or four days, eat nothing but raw early-ripening apples, like Jonathans, Red or Yellow Delicious, Oregon Reds, Arkansas Black, or Sheep Nose. Try to eat at least six apples each day for three days. The apples decrease your caloric intake while acting as a colon cleanse.
7. Epsom bath salts
Hot water draws toxins out of the body to the skin's surface, and while the water cools, it pulls toxins from the skin. Epsom salts augment this detoxification by causing you to sweat. These natural salts also help to cleanse your colon when added to water.
8. How to do a basic juice cleanse
Add lemon to your water through out the day. The acid in the lemons assist the cleansing process. Citrus fruits, such as lemons, contain a pure concentrated form of citric acid. Due to its acidity and high pH levels, citric acid is able to actually penetrate and break down fat molecules. Note that this elementary form of cleansing is not the same as the controversial Master Cleanse liquid diet, which puts people on a regimen of a lemon juice elixir for days.
9. Sugar detox
People hoping to curb their sugar cravings often try sugar detoxes to increase their energy levels (zero sugar crashes to blame) and lose weight. A detox involves cutting added sugars from your diet—killing all dessert options, sweetened beverages, and processed foods from the menu. For people hoping to take a moderate approach, they can substitute sugars with all-natural options in fruit form.
10. Detox pills
Many companies offer pills that will cleanse out your system with out any extra work, such as Oxypowder's Colon Cleanser and the Nature's Secret Super Cleanse. Pill supplements usually require that you pop one a day to begin your detox.