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Detoxification

ELIMINATION FOR THE MIND + BODY

 
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Here are the basics: Pooping + peeing are your guiding compass, your detox routine should match your toxin load, and don't forget the importance of detoxing the mind. For details read on. 


read your body's Detox + elimination Patterns

When we think of detox, we probably imagine a juice cleanse or perhaps a good sweat session. But healthy + regular detox goes beyond planned elimination. It begins with how much water we drink (see the Nutrition + Hydration module for a refresher), what types of nutrients we are nourishing our bodies with, and what our poop, pee, sweat, breath, and skin are telling us. Ask yourself the following questions to open up dialogue with yourself on what detoxification looks like for you, and check your answers with a well-informed health care provider. 

Detox + Elimination Patterns

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Detox + Elimination Patterns

1. Are you pooping? How many times per day? How long does it take you to pass a bowel movement? What does it look like? Is it particularly malodorous?

2. Are you peeing? How many times per day? Is it a lot of pee or just a little? What color is it? Does it smell strong/concentrated?

3. Are you sweating? How many times per week? When do you sweat (during exercise, at night, for no reason, etc)? Where do you sweat? Do you sweat a lot or a little? Is it particularly malodorous? Does it stain your clothes/sheets?

4. What does your skin look like? This question applies to your entire body, not just your face! Do you have blemishes? What do they look like? Where are they? Is your skin supple, well hydrated, and warm? Is there any discoloration? What color is your skin? Any yellowing, dullness, gray, redness?

5. What does your breath smell like? Do you have bad breath? During the day? At night? In the morning? Does it get better with brushing your teeth? Do you have a bad taste in your mouth? Any coating on the tongue?


identify toxin exposures

Toxins are all around us, 24/7, 365. Luckily, our bodies are intelligent and efficient and can metabolize and excrete toxins 'round the clock! However, doing our best to keep our toxin exposure to a healthy minimum is incredibly wise and keeps the body from working overtime and getting burnt out. Consider the following places and situations to get a rough idea of what your toxin load looks like, and if you can make changes to decrease your exposure!

Toxin Exposures

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Toxin Exposures

Potential exposures in your home or work environment: mold, recent renovations, EMF's, power lines/cell phone towers, carpeting, old paint, stagnant/stale air, smoke, pesticides + herbicides used in landscaping and pest management, harsh chemicals, cleaning products, heavy metals, frequent airplane travel.

Potential exposures in your diet + lifestyle: make up, skin care products, toothpaste, hair color and hair care products, food + beverage containers (plastic, styrofoam, etc), chemically dyed clothing, pesticide + herbicide exposure through non-organic food, drug + alcohol use, smoking (first, second, and third degree smoke)

don't forget to detox your mind

This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of healthy detoxification and elimination. A healthy body follows a healthy mind, and the following check-ins, tools, and resources should be used often:

How to Detox the Mind

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Detoxing The Mind

1. Are you spending time alone? And by alone, I mean without other distractions such as cell phones, television, and the computer! Put your phone down--some of our best ideas and epiphanies come during periods of complete boredom. Alone time should be nourishing and rejuvenating, as the quality of our alone time is key. For parents, this may be only 5 minutes , and that is okay so long as you find what can deeply nourish you given that time frame. It is also incredibly important to note the frequency of your alone time--are you spending too much time alone? Too little? Balance that works for you is key.

2. Learn your mental detox cues. Feeling overstimulated, overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or finding yourself snapping at others? Feeling like you can't easily handle or process the stress in your life? You may be in need of a mental detox.

3. Figure out if you are an introvert vs extrovert, and then detox appropriately. Introverts literally NEED alone time to function, and usually a whole lot of it. Extroverts typically feel uncomfortable during periods of alone time, as they recharge their batteries by engaging with others. Most people tend to be a mix of the two, so find your introvert to extrovert ratio and allow this to guide your need and method for mental/emotional detox. An extrovert may need a night out on the town where an introvert might need to hole up at home.

Here are a few tools for mental/emotional detox that can be sprinkled throughout your month as needed:

1. Therapy and counseling. This may be from your friends, a trusted professional, or experience based like a retreat.

2. Hobbies + leisure activities. Take the time to do what you love! I have many friends who say going to see live music, attending gatherings, or spending time in nature does the trick.

3. Meditative practice + mental rebooting. Take time each day to meditate (we will talk more about this in the other modules), and create the space for yourself to have a mental reboot. Try scheduling one day per week where you do not use the phone or computer + just take time to check in with yourself and release what isn't serving you. #selfcaresunday, right?

DETOX ROUND UP + OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Now that you've got a good understanding of the basics that make up adequate detox and elimination, there are a few extras that will really ensure your success and help the body thrive. Make sure that your nutrition and hydration are on point, that all of your emunctories (pooping, peeing, skin, breath, sweat, etc) are fully functional, and that your toxic burden isn't unnecessarily high. To learn about gentle and easy ways to take your daily detoxification practice to the next level, move on to the next module by following the link below.
 


Going Deeper

As we learned in the Basics, detoxification requirements should match our unique toxin load. Regardless, these daily practices will support any and all bodies in gentle daily detox. Let's go deeper. 


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A quick note on the home

I think by now most of us are familiar with the power of decluttering your home that was reignited with the work of Marie Kondo, and if not, how awesome do you feel after a deep cleaning and tidying of your home? Detoxing your home is an important step in detoxing your mind and body. Get rid of all the clutter and excess. Donate clothes you haven't worn in over a year. Put everything back in its place before you go to bed. Keep it simple, or your version of simple. Your mind and body will thank you.


OCCASIONAL CLEANSING

Cleansing is a pretty mainstream practice nowadays with the abundance of juice cleanses and meal delivery services on the market. Although I do not typically recommend juice cleanses, I do support and recommend any type of practice that provides a reset for the way we treat our bodies and minds, mainly through what we put in to it. If you decide to do a cleanse, know that a juice or broth cleanse, or eating an abundance of clean fruits, veggies, and high quality fats and proteins will actually all yield the same result when done properly. Cleansing can be done weekly, monthly, seasonally, or yearly--its entirely up to you. For help with figuring out what type of cleanse would work best with your system, genetics, health conditions, and more, make sure to consult a licensed healthcare professional that has experience in this area. 


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GIVING YOUR WATER A BOOST

Water, water, water. We talked a lot about this incredible elixir for life in the Nutrition + Hydration module, but as a reminder, adding any of the following to your water can boost your detox pathways and support your body's natural ability to round up toxins and eliminate them. 

1. Freshly squeezed lemon. Add a 1/2 lemon per glass of water, 1-2 times per day. Extra bonus if you start your day with a glass of warm water with lemon.

2. Liquid Chlorophyll. The benefits of Chlorophyll are seemingly endless, but detoxification is high on the list. Add a dropperful or two to your water or any other beverage.

3. Activated charcoal. Similar to lemon and Chlorophyll, the benefits and uses of activated charcoal extend in and outside of the body. Add a pinch to your water with lemon.

Want to take things to the next level? Add all three together to make a detox lemonaide. A pinch or two of charcoal, a dropperful of Chlorophyll, and 1/2-1 freshly squeezed lemon per 8oz glass of water. Sip slow and enjoy. 


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Bathroom Rituals

If you think about it, a large portion of detoxing occurs in the bathroom (and I'm not just talking about pooping and peeing). Epsom salt baths, dry skin brushing, and contrast hydrotherapy are 3 of my favorite ways to stimulate gentle yet profound toxin elimination. Read on to learn a little bit more about each of these practices, and head to the bonuses module for instructions and handouts on how to do these at home.

1. Epsom salt baths. Medicinal salts have been used for thousands of years to heal the body. Salts help draw toxins out of the body, promoting a gentle detox. However, it is incredibly important to remember that if we sit in that bath water too long, we will actually end up reabsorbing those toxins through our skin! Keep detox baths to 20 minutes, then drain and pat the skin dry.

2. Dry skin brushing. By keeping the skin free from dry, dead skin cells, efficiency of the skin to remove wastes from the body (aka detox) is enhanced. It also stimulates and mechanically moves our lymphatic fluid! For more on how to dry skin brush properly, see the Bonuses.

3. Contrast hydrotherapy. This is definitely one of the lesser known methods of detoxification, but one of my favorite. The idea is simple: alternate between hot and cold water while you shower to stimulate your body to heat itself up and cool itself down. This temperature contrast helps strengthen and normalize the nervous, circulatory, endocrine (hormonal), musculoskeletal and immune systems and is excellent for helping the body cope with physiological and psychological stress. To learn more, see the Bonuses.


PREPARE YOUR BODY FOR BATTLE

For those that enjoy a night out (or two), one of the best things you can do is detox before you retox by prepping the body for whats to come. First and foremost, make sure that your immune system is strong and you've got no lingering colds as a night of partying will certainly push you over the edge. Get a good nights sleep, and hydrate thoroughly. Supplement appropriately beforehand (Vitamin C to boost the immune system and aid in detoxification, Chlorophyll in your water), and if needed, supplement afterword as well (neurotransmitter support, IV therapy, etc). Get as much sleep as possible the night after, and use the supportive nutrition and detoxification therapies described in this module as well as the sleep and nutrition modules!


WHAT NEXT?

In order to help you fully integrate all of this information, please enjoy the detoxification bonuses for handouts on contrast hydrotherapy, dry skin brushing, and more!

Bonuses

Here you will find all the extras and bonuses mentioned in the Basics + Going Deeper modules, plus a little extra. Enjoy.


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Copyright © 2018 by Motherhood Medicine.
All rights reserved. These writings or any portion there of many not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the expressed written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a review. These writings are not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters related to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.