Detoxification and Rejuvenation - The first stage of healing.

updated January 26, 2014

Many of our health problems arise from the improper elimination of waste products from our body. This leads to accumulation of toxins in the body.

All our activities, generate waste materials which have to be eliminated, for our bodies to function effectively. These waste materials are called toxins, because their accumulation in the body, poisons the body leading to disease. Proper and timely elimination of these toxins helps our bodies to remain healthy.

A simple analogy makes this clear. If we do not throw out the waste materials from our kitchens these will accumulate, decay, allow bacteria to grow, create a bad smell and make it impossible for us to continue using the kitchen. Regular cleaning of our kitchen allows us to work easily and comfortably. The food we make in this kitchen then promotes health instead of damaging it. Similarly the elimination of waste products from our bodies allows it to heal, function efficiently and remain healthy.

Many common diseases, are a result of inadequate elimination of toxins from the body.  Accumulation of toxins in an organ leads to problems in that organ. Toxicity in the body first affects the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs and skin which are the main organs of elimination. Further accumulation of toxins also affects bones, blood vessels, the heart, the muscles and the brain. Arteriosclerosis is a common manifestation of toxicity affecting the arteries. Detoxification of the arteries through proper diet, exercise and chelation helps reverse this process. The psoas muscle which lies deep in the abdomen accumulates a lot of toxins both physical and emotional acting as a backup for the liver. As this muscle is attached to the spine, toxicity in this muscle leads to poor posture and backache. Hence any rational treatment for this condition requires detoxification and relaxation of this muscle

The treatment of problems in these organs has to start with clearing them of toxins so that they have a chance to heal.

Aging is also related to the accumulation of toxins in the body. The toxins affect the process of repair and replication of cells in the body. The new cells which are formed in a toxic body, are not identical with the cells they replace leading to inefficient organs, premature aging and often eventually to cancer and  diseases of many organs.

Cancer cells grow in areas where the circulation and oxygenation is poor. The body also deposits toxins in such areas. Hence detoxification and proper oxygenation are essential measures for treating any cancer.

The food, the water and the air we breathe, all contain toxic substances. Attention to improving the quality of all of these inputs, helps to reduce the toxic load on the body. Clean food, air and water and on going detoxification are all essential to retain the health benefits, you achieve by detoxification.

The appropriate treatment for accumulation of toxins is to aid the body in elimination of these toxins. This was a common treatment in all forms of medicine. Hippocrates the father of western medicine described the accumulation and removal of toxins in his writings 2500 years ago. Western (allopathic) medicine has over the last 60-70 years disregarded this very important aspect of health. Ayurveda, Yunani medicine, yoga, Chinese medicine, and homeopathy all advise detoxification as a means of restoring and maintaining health.

Pancha karma therapy is the specialized part of Ayurveda which deals with detoxification using purgation, inducing vomiting, medicated enemas, nasal medicated oils, and blood letting. This therapy is usually preceded by oil massages and steam baths to induce sweating.

Chelation is an advanced form of detoxification used specially to help remove heavy metals from the body.

The process of detoxification is best carried out in a clean environment, with the help of clean water, clean food and clean air. In a clean environment the body automatically begins to cleanse itself. This process of detoxification usually initiates itself, within a matter of a few days, but if it does not, we can stimulate the detoxification by taking certain foods like fruit or vegetable juices, by yoga, with the use of Castor oil, herbs, acupuncture or with the use of frequency therapy. Each of these methods is indicated and is appropriate in different people according to where their toxins are situated in their bodies.

Detoxification starts when the body is no longer under attack. Hence having the appropriate food, reducing stress, having enough liquids and being in a safe environment can often trigger off a detoxification. Detoxification is difficult when we are under threat.

The process of detoxification is aided by measures like yoga and Pranayam, skin brushing, an adequate intake of water which could range anywhere from 3 to 10 Liters per day. It involves the use of high-fiber fruits and vegetables in the form of salads. Fruit and vegetable juices may also aid in the elimination. The taking of honey and lime juice in combination with warm water also has a good effect on the process of cleansing and elimination of waste products. Usually when people are detoxifying they are kept a light diet like khichdi made from basmati rice and mung dal.

Detoxification is best done under the supervision of a doctor experienced in this field. During the process of detoxification many old issues will surface again so they can be treated. Unresolved issues often do come up which can sometimes make one feel upset or uncomfortable, and sometimes de-toxifying can be physically uncomfortable. The process of detoxification may be accompanied by symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, back pain, skin rashes, headache, body ache, sweating, etc. These symptoms usually do not require any treatment but  supervision of a physician will ensure you do not get into trouble. Adequate hydration by drinking enough water will usually help relieve these symptoms.

Detoxification is a holistic process and detoxifies not only the  body but also the mind and emotional toxins. Some of the emotions you may experience may be sadness, grief, anger, elation, or joy. It is possible that you may become aware of issues in your life that had been buried or unresolved. It is important that you share these feelings with your physician, so that he can assist with their resolution. Discussion with your physician, meditation, yoga and Pranayama can be effective ways to help release these issues from the mind and body.

Fasting

Fasting is an age old way of detoxification, which is common in most religions and cultures. Christians fast during Lent, Muslims during Ramadan, Hindus fast on Tuesdays, before Dassehra and before going on a pilgrimage. This yearly process of cleansing helps the body rejuvenate by giving our intestines a chance to rest and to heal.

Fasting is one of the most effective methods of cleansing the body. This acts by allowing the digestive system to rest from the process of digestion and cleanse itself. During fasting the intestines free them selves of of much old undigested food. During fasting the mind becomes clear and alert and many emotional isues which have not been dealt with come to the forefront allowing us to deal with them. These are called emotional and mental toxins.

Dietary and lifestyle counseling after cleansing help to keep the person in a state of "Positive good Health".

These fasts may be fruit fasts or fasts undertaken with light food which is easy to digest. Khichdi made from basmati rice and mung dal is often used for this process.
Often it may be with an all liquid diet, consisting of honey, lime and water, with fruit and vegetable juices or soups.
This type of fast should only be undertaken under medical supervision with an experienced practitioner  who can  monitor the fasting and adjust your intake so as to prevent any problems.

An extreme form of fasting which is not recommended for more than 3-4 days is consuming only water. This type of fasting leads to breakdown of the bodies tissues, organs and muscles as the body struggles to stay alive.

Skin Conditions & Toxicity


Over a period of years the body can accumulate a great variety of toxic waste materials. If there is an overload of toxic materials, the body stores it in the skin where it can cause a range of diseases like skin eruptions, allergies, dry skin, skin pigmentation, eczema, psoriasis, and scleroderma. Most skin conditions, are an indication of the breakdown in the process of elimination of toxins. The skin acts as the back up organ of elimination for the kidney and is a very important organ of elimination, in case elimination from other parts fails. A bad skin is usually an indication of toxicity in the body.

Conditions affecting the liver, kidneys, skin and lungs, which are the main organs of elimination usually lead to skin manifestations.

  • Perspiration: The skin is your single largest organ of elimination. Make sure you’re maximizing the detox-potential of your pores by working up a sweat at least three times a week. Of course, heart-thumping exercise that gets the body sweating for 20 minutes, three times a week is ideal, since it confers other health benefits. But, if that is not an option, consider using a steam or detox bath to trigger the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself through sweat.

    Heat has been used to cleanse the physical and emotional body for thousands of years. Having a hot bath helps us cleanse ourselves of many toxins helping us to feel refreshed after the bath. People in Scandinavian countries have used saunas for hundreds of years. Research indicates that sauna therapy and steam baths increases excretion of heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium , arsenic,), drugs and fat-soluble chemicals like PCB's, PBB's, and HCB's. Taking saunas or steam baths also helps reduce stress and balance the autonomic nervous system. Steam baths calm the nervous system, relax the muscles, and increase circulation by dilating the arteries. Steam therapy can improve circulation, help with weight loss, balance blood sugar and improve detoxification.