Changes you make to your body on the inside need to be supported by the outside environment. If you detox your diet but not your mind, body, and home, you won’t get the full benefit of the cleanse. As we discussed in chapter 1, your mind and body are interconnected. What you eat is just as important as how you live, what you think, and who is in your life. Over the next three weeks, just as you are detoxing from the inside out, you will also examine the ways in which these three areas can be examined and decluttered. The cleaner the slate you create, the stronger the foundation for building optimal health in all areas of your life.
Specific exercises and body treatments will aid the detox process. Not only do they help move out the physical toxins; they also help to purge emotional toxins like stress and anxiety. Some of these exercises and activities you may already do, and others, like massage, you’re probably just waiting for an “official” excuse to add to your life!
Detox Your Body Checklist
- Aerobics: 15 minutes, 3–7 days per week
- Body scrubs: 1 time per month
- Castor oil pack: 30 minutes, 1 time per month
- Colon hydrotherapy: 1 session per month
- Epsom salt baths: 20 minutes, 1 time per week
- Hot/cold shower or baths: 10 minutes hot, 3 minutes cold. Repeat.
- Massage therapy: 1 session per week or month
- Skin brushing: 1 minute daily in shower
- Steam or sauna: 10–20 minutes, 2 days per week
- Walking: 20 minutes daily
- Yoga and stretching: 15 minutes daily
Regular exercise and movement is essential during your detox. The recommendations below promote circulation of the blood and lymph, which enhances the cleansing of the blood and immune system. Toxins from the muscles, skin, and organs can be moved into the blood, where they are then eliminated from the body through the support of the liver, gut, and urinary tract.
During your detox, movement should be gentle and focused on releasing stress and tension. There should be minimal con- centration on strength training. Consistency will yield the best results, so try to do something every day. And because the core of this program is YOU, be sure to do workouts you enjoy!
20 minutes, 3 days per week
Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up, improves your circulation, and strengthens your immune system by circulating the lymphatic fluid. It’s also the fastest natural high you can get: aerobic exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and feel-good molecules. During the detox, focus on mild activities, like swimming, jogging, dancing, biking, or hiking. Don’t push yourself if you’re feeling weak, and, again, do what you enjoy.
15–20 minutes daily
When walking, swing your arms with the opposite leg (that is, your right arm with your left leg, and vice versa). There’s a method to the madness: emphasizing opposite sides of the body at the same time coordinates the left and right brain hemispheres and engages our upper body to pump and drain the lymphatics.
Yoga and Stretching
10–15 minutes daily
Most forms of vigorous exercise stimulate the systems of detoxification. But yoga, with its focus on systematically stretching and compressing every part of the body, naturally keeps waste-removal departments of the body functioning well. You could say that many of the poses really do squeeze out the toxins.
Yoga aids in mental detox as well. Emotions like stress, fear, anxiety, and depression are carried in the cells and tis- sues of your body. Yoga clears toxic and stagnant thoughts by releasing stress and supports the elimination of mental chat- ter so that your mind may be free from stressful thinking.
Detox Treatments and Bodywork
Work done externally can take internal cleansing to a deeper level and add some interesting and exhilarating new habits to your healthy lifestyle. Try them at least once during the program.
Body Scrubs and Exfoliations
Once per month
This is your ticket to radiance. Fibrous materials or natural salt or sugar-based mixes exfoliate and clear dead cells on the skin’s surface to allow regeneration of under- lying layers. You’ll improve the youthfulness and elasticity of your skin, making it look younger, healthier, and brighter.
Castor Oil Packs
30 minutes, once per week
Castor oil—that sticky oil extracted from the castor bean—has a long tradition in natural medicine as support for cleansing the liver, gallbladder, lymph, and large intestines. Used topically, it softens and breaks down scar tissue and adhesions. To use, massage a quarter-size dab into your lower abdomen below the ribs. Next, cover with a towel- wrapped hot water bottle or heating pad for 30–40 minutes to improve absorption into your body.
1 session per week or month
Colon irrigation cleanses the large intestine with purified water in order to remove residual toxins and wastes that accumulate on the walls of the intestines and cause constipation and toxicity. If you’re uncomfortable with such an “intimate” treatment, don’t worry, it’s not a necessity for a successful detox. Just know that if you do try it, you’ll feel much lighter and clearer afterward.
Epsom Salt or Sea Salt Baths
20 minutes, 1 time per week
Epsom and sea salts are both luxurious and healthy. High in magnesium and other minerals, they relax muscles and calm the mind, while removing toxins like lactic acid from soft tissues. That soreness and fatigue you feel after a day on your feet or at the gym? It will disappear after a soak in these healing salts. Their best-kept secret, however, is their ability to remove and neutralize radiation from computers, cell phones, televisions, and more. Soak 20 minutes in warm water mixed with 2 cups of salts. Relax and visualize stress leaving your body.
1 session per week or month
There’s a reason that there are massage tables backstage at nearly all festivals and concerts—and no, it’s not because rock stars are divas. Massage is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body, particularly during detox. The treatment improves the circulation and detoxification of the cells, blood, and lymphatics. It also releases stored tension that accumulates in your muscles, which you experience as painful spasms and knots.
1 minute daily
Lightly stroke wet or dry skin in the direction of the heart using a loofah or netlike sponge. Doing so promotes detoxification and circulation of the lymphatics and strengthens immunity. Remember to use a light hand—you’re increasing lymphatic flow, not removing dead skin layers.
Steam or Sauna
10–20 minutes, 2 days per week
Okay, I probably don’t have to convince you to add a little spa time to your weekly routine. A lot of gyms these days have saunas or steam rooms. If not, turn on the hot water in your shower and close your bathroom door . . . get it as steamy as you can take. These treatments cause you to sweat, which removes toxins that have accumulated in your fat cells, skin, and blood. Deep sweating, in fact, is the best way to eliminate pesticides, plastics, and heavy metals from your body.
If you have high or low blood pressure or other medical conditions, consult your physician before using the steam or sauna. For those in good health, use the steam or sauna for 10–20 minutes at a time and have an electrolyte drink (raw coconut water or Emergen-C) to prevent dehydration.