We live in a toxic world and are exposed to over 2 million substances that are known to be toxic to the human body and have 25,000 new toxins added to our environment every year – even with a healthy diet and just modest amounts of caffeine and alcohol, we are slammed with a cocktail of chemicals and toxins day in and day out.
These toxins enter our system not only through the food we eat and what we drink, but also through our skin and lungs. It’s this accumulation of toxins over a period of time that can wreak havoc on our normal metabolic process causing allergies, health problems and even altered mood.
Periodic detoxing, or cleansing, is the best way to re-set and re-charge your body for long term health. A detox can range from a gentle one-day program through to a week or even 28 days, depending on the person’s goals and circumstance.
The main goals of an Ayurvedic detox are to balance the body’s energies — vata (wind), pitta (fire) and kapha (water), eliminate toxins, restore the digestive fire and ignite the body’s innate intelligence.
These are transforming outcomes and not only can help a range of ailments including insomnia and stress; hormonal imbalance and poor blood circulation; premature aging and poor digestion – it also helps to reinvigorate the body’s internal defence mechanism and immunity so there’s lasting change beyond the detox.
It’s important to note that an Ayurvedic detox is based on thousands of years of knowledge and is not to be confused with passing fad diets and detoxes like the Zone Diet, South Beach Diet or Soup Detox.
The main elements of an Ayurvedic detox are:
Hippocrates, known as the father of modern medicine, was onto something when he said ‘all disease begins in the gut’ – more and more research is revealing the link between the digestive system and chronic illness.
The simple fact is, if your digestive system isn’t working well, it’s really difficult for the rest of the body to compensate. Healing your gut is the first step on the journey to good health.
As everyone has a different body type and constitution, it’s important that you first learn how to eat according to your individual needs. For some people that might mean not eating as many times in the day as they usually do, for others it may be more meals, but smaller in size.
During a detox it’s good to cut out or, limit, foods that cause inflammation in the gut such as caffeine, alcohol, sugar, cheese and meat (in particular red meat) – but the most important thing is learning to eat according to your individual digestion.
With as many as one in five Australians over the age of 30, experiencing constipation at some point, it’s important to make sure that bowel movements are regular during a detox.
The colon is the seat of vata, the subtle energy of movement associated with the wind — and vata imbalance is the cause of 80 per cent of disease. When the colon isn’t moving regularly that means your body isn’t eliminating the toxins it needs to. This not only damages the colon, but the toxic material then leaks back into your blood and causes the liver to work hard in detoxifying – ultimately leading to leaky gut and other issues.
Getting enough rest is critical to the body’s ability to detox and heal. Melatonin, the body’s natural sleep hormone, is an important antioxidant and studies show that it has beneficial effects on other hormones in the body as well as the immune system. The liver carries out the detoxification process between 10pm and 2am, so it’s important to be tucked up in bed at that time. Staring at your phone or computer before bed will also affect sleep, because the backlight of the computer impacts the natural operation of melatonin.
Spending time in nature is also restorative – during a detox it’s recommended to spend time every day nourishing the senses by walking barefoot on the earth, doing yoga or meditating.
The good news is, it only takes our liver six weeks to completely rejuvenate every cell – by incorporating a regular detox into your life, it’s possible to make some big changes. Most of the niggles, foggy head and aches and pains are due to your body not eliminating toxins.
And if you need support during a detox, you might like to consider our Health Dynamics 360 28 Day Detox and Restoration Program.