It’s not a desirable experience, walking into the space of a chronic hoarder. The physical mess of forgotten papers, half-empty bottles of soda, clothing and toys is often just the outer shell. Inside the more easily “tidied” mass of objects often lies worse congestion, in mould, bacteria and parasites like ants and rats. There’s another layer beneath the physical hoard too – the mental congestion and feelings that drove an otherwise “normal” human being to begin to toxify their space.
The human body is very much the same. Biological sponges, our bodies are designed to ingest and hold onto whatever they can: water, oxygen, vitamins or minerals – a sort of primal protective instinct. However, we are so efficient at this activity that humankind is also unable to differentiate between what is good to latch onto and what should be barred from entering the systems. As a result, toxic load begins to build up in the body, a product of years of simply living, and it can take many more years before the true physiological “clutter” appears as disease and degeneration. These poisonous substances are seemingly harmless additions to our modern world – chlorine and fluorine in our drinking water, prescriptions for all sorts of medical conditions (many of which are caused by toxified tissues), nutrient-deprived and processed foods, air pollution and possibly most important, mental stress. Each little piece compounds on the other to form a sort of “barrel effect”, and as long as the barrel can contain everything there is never an issue. However, when the barrel is full, things start falling out of it like dirty socks from a hamper, and the first visible signs of a problem appear in the digestive and skin systems, and as excess weight.
The solution to this overabundance of noxious factors and the health problems they cause is not what the conventional medical community usually resorts to in the form of drugs and surgery. While they provide quick, short-term relief, the additional stress added to the body just fills the barrel more. A better solution is to prevent the barrel from ever reaching maximum capacity – and a regular multi-system detoxification is one of the simplest and most effective ways of doing that. When properly completed, the majority of symptoms like low-grade exhaustion, dry skin, intestinal gas and “the last 10 pounds” resolve.
Systemic detoxes target five of the major elimination pathways the body has: skin, lungs, colon, liver and kidneys. Skin and lung flushes are usually with fluctuating-temperature showers or saunas, skin brushing, essential oils and exercise, all which speed the rate at which harmful substances come to the sites of elimination. Colon, liver and kidney cleanses are accomplished with a combination of diet, supplemental herbs, water and occasionally external assistance with colonic irrigations and therapeutic massage. For most of the adult population, the best dietary regime to follow for the beginning days of a first-time intensive program is by far a juice- and water-based one. This does not mean subsisting off of water alone for a week as some desperate dieters have done on “water fasts”. A properly orchestrated juice cleanse is ideally a program designed to meet the micro-nutritional and caloric needs of the body while allowing the gut to rest and repair. An ideal program addresses the health of not just the digestion, but of the liver and kidneys as well by incorporating ingredients such as dark greens, lemons, berries, papaya and coconut. It is imperative that the juices consumed during this time are as fresh and whole as possible, in order to preserve the vitamins and enzymes that begin to degenerate as soon as they are exposed to the air and light. No juice-only diet should extend longer than 5 days, and for most first-time cleansers a three-day session is the perfect kick-start to the more intensive multi-system detox.
The most common complaint of any detoxification program participant is akin to what addicts in rehab facilities experience. As the body is forced to release it’s build-up of toxic waste, it must enter the bloodstream to travel to one of the five elimination channels. This often results in “feeling worse before feeling better” – since once the poisons are eliminated the tissues can begin to heal and a feeling of true health can return.
Given that modern society is exposed to toxins constantly, it is impossible to assume that a one-time detox program will heal the body forever. In addition to improving everyday diet and lifestyle (reducing meat and dairy consumption, increasing fresh produce, exercise and especially water), shorter “maintenance” programs should be completed at least once a year, and more often if the individual is exposed to high levels of poison in their environment. Provided the initial intensive detoxification process was completed fully and limits on the amount of physical and mental toxins the person is exposed to are enforced, one-to-three-day juice cleanses can be sufficient as the forerunner of a “light” eating week (a refined-carbohydrate- and meat-free regime of vegetables, fruits, fresh juices and water, vegan proteins and high fibre whole grains). The payoff for one week of restriction a year is a lifetime of energy and disease-free living.