Why Should You Cleanse?
If you are thinking of trying a cleanse, or just want to understand more about the cleansing process then read on. Cleansing (or detoxing as some people call it) is the process of removing unwanted and unusable chemicals from the tissues of your body.
Your body is constantly working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year cleansing or removing unwanted particles from its cells. This is an inborn process you don’t have to think about or push a button to get started. The problem comes when your body loses the ability to remove these unwanted particles as fast as they are coming in.
What are these particles and where do they come from? The answer is simple, your environment. Any substance that can’t be used normally in the body’s physiology is considered an unwanted particle or a toxin and must be removed. If these toxins are allowed to stay in your body they will start to cause a break-down of one, if not more of its chemical processes. Most of us don’t realize how bombarded our bodies are everyday by toxins in our environment. Stop for a moment and think about your day from morning till night:
· Did you use shampoo and conditioner this morning in the shower?
· What kind of soap did you use, and did you have to shave today?
· After the shower did you put anything in your hair, on your body like cologne or perfume?
· What about your face, did you put on lotion and make up. What about aftershave?
· What did you wear today? Are the clothes dry-cleaned or did you wash them at home?
· What kind of detergent did you use, and did you use a dryer sheet for that dreaded static cling?
· Did you have coffee for breakfast? What did you eat? Did you eat anything?
· Did you use a car to travel this morning? There is nothing like the smell of car fumes to get you going in the morning or the smell of the inside of your car after it has been sitting in the hot sun most of the day.
· When you are at the grocery store and are walking through the cleaning products aisle there is a big possibility that you experienced strong odors, or even eye burning. This is caused by a process called out-gassing. This is when molecules are being released from a solid or liquid into the atmosphere.
· Carpets and painted or stained wood, plastics that become heated; most, if not all synthetic items are out-gassing, even if you don’t notice an odor.
· Some of the largest contributors to toxic out-gassing are the industrial factories all over the United States. There are tons, and I mean many tons, of toxic chemicals that are produced and released into the atmosphere.
The point is if you breathe then you are taking in toxins. Yes, I know this may seem to be an over exaggerated account of your day and the potential toxins you may come into contact with, but you need to understand how prevalent toxins are in our world. I understand a lot of these things are unavoidable by most of us on a day to day basis. Be aware that each one of the above situations has the ability to create toxins in your body.
Now what about that other nasty habit of ours: poor diet. Food is also a major contributor to the buildup of toxins in our bodies. The food itself isn’t the problem. The problem is all the things our food industry feels are necessary to grow the food, like pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. Any of these in large doses will kill you. But the FDA says in small doses they are ok, and not considered a threat. The problem with this mind-set is accumulation. When your body loses the ability to detoxify as fast as the toxins are coming in, or your nutrient reserves needed to remove the toxins are depleted, the toxins will build up in your tissues.
The point I’m trying to make is that you are coming into contact with toxins every day and in ways that you may not even realize. Some of these things may seem trivial, but think of this; if you put one grain of sand in a glass of pure clean water every day, how many days would it take for that water to become undrinkable without filtering it? If your body cannot remove all the toxins, then it will store them in a weak or injured part of the body, or a lower priority tissue (a tissue that is not needed to sustain life). After a period of time these toxins will start to take their toll and you will start to develop symptoms.
Common symptoms due to buildup of toxins:
· Low energy
· Painful joints
· Mental fog (hard to stay focused or head just doesn’t feel clear)
· Weight gain (you seem to gain weight for no good reason)
· Skin problems
· Allergies (airborne and food)
· Sleep disorders
Who Should Cleanse?
The answer to this question should be very easy after reading the above info. Let me make it even easier for you to figure this out. Ask yourself two questions:
1. Do you breathe?
2. Do you eat?
If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, then you should do a cleanse. What you need to decide isn’t should I, but what kind of cleanse should I do for my situation? There are many ways to cleanse your cells and you need to look at each and decide which one you think you will be most able to stick with through the whole process.
When and How Often Should You Cleanse?
Let’s answer the first question, “When?”. That depends. Have you have ever cleansed before? If you have never done a cleansing program, then the answer is “now”. It is time to cleanse right away.
How often should you cleanse? This will depend on your lifestyle and when and what kind of cleanse you completed previously. Understand that you don’t do a 3-10 day cleanse and then your cells are back to normal. It is impossible to get a deep cleanse on a cellular level in that short period of time. This is why you must repeat the cleansing process. How often do you repeat? This comes back to the statement about your lifestyle. What does your daily intake of food and drink consist of? How much stress are you under each day? Do you work with or around toxic substances? Do you get regular exercise, not “I walk a lot at work” but do you spend a specific amount of time on exercise each week? This is the time you need to be honest with yourself when answering these questions. This isn’t a pass or fail test so leave your test anxiety out of this one. If you consistently make poor choices on your food, aren’t on a regular exercise routine, or if you do work with or around toxic materials, then I recommend that you do a deep cleanse every 6-months. If your life style is more balanced in all areas then I would recommend that you do a deep cleanse once a year. I still recommend that you do some supporting small cleanses in between these deep ones. Do a one-day-a-week water or juice fast for a month. Take a mild cleansing herb with your meals for a few weeks. You can even take it a step farther and do a 7-10 day juice fast. This will help you stay healthy and make the deep cleansing process much easier.
Types of Cleansing – Fasting and Herbal Cleansing
Fasting - Historically, our ancestors used fasts to clear the mind before important decisions were to be made. It helped with clarity and awareness. They knew that a clean body clears the mind, and produces cleaner, higher thought, as well as helps you to control your eating habits. Short fasts, even a day or two, are very beneficial. It is also very good for the body to abstain from rich foods and to eat only plain food (vegetables, juices, fruits) for a few consecutive days. In order to perform a fast, you must first get yourself mentally ready. The hardest part of this type of fast is breaking that emotional connection we have with food. It may be more effective to start with a one-day fast and see how you do. If you get by with no problems and feel ok, then in a few days try to fast for three days. Sometimes it is better to not set a time limit on your fast. Just start the process with the attitude that you will take it day by day. Listen to your body and come off the fast when you feel ready. Always remember, in order to get a deep level of cleansing, the longer the fast, the better.
There are a few types of fasts to choose from
· Water Fast - This is the easiest fast as far as all the rules go. You can only have one thing: water. The reasoning behind this is that less energy is expended on digestion of foods, resulting in more energy for the rest of the body to expel toxins as well as to recover and heal itself from the stress digestion of food places upon it. Make sure you only use distilled or good quality filtered water. This may be the easiest as far as instructions go, but it is the hardest in my opinion to do. I do not recommend you start with this level of cleansing for your first try. I do like this cleanse for a small one or two day supporting cleanse. Remember the only thing you put into your mouth until you are done is water. No food of any kind may pass thou lips! When you do come off this cleanse, as with all cleanses, do not eat animal protein or fried food, or anything that would be considered rich (sauces, sugar, grains). Start back on some fruit and steamed veggies. If you stress your digestive system with a heavy meal as you are coming off the cleanse, it may cause cramping and a severe case of nausea. Give yourself time to transition back into eating whole foods again.
· Raw Juice Fast - A raw juice fast is much the same as a water fast, in as much as you can only drink raw juice. Raw juice is defined as freshly juiced fruits and vegetables. This does not include Sunkist orange juice or even the overloaded sodium drink called V-8. I’m talking about the kind of juice that comes from the whole fruit or vegetable. Take a carrot and place it in the juicer, the juice comes out one end and the pulp comes out the other. This is raw juice in its most natural form. Unlike the water fast there are a lot of rules that go along with this type of fast. On a juice fast you don’t drink the juice, you sip it. Your digestive system is designed to process food in its natural state. When you juice your fruits and veggies you are altering the natural state of the food by removing the fiber. In doing so you are concentrating the nutrient density of the juice. You are also taking away the stress of digesting the food. You are decreasing your body’s energy output by 80-90% when you drink the juice as compared to having to digest and process the whole food itself. It is this extra energy and high level of nutrition in the form your body can fully utilize on a cellular level that allows you to greatly increase the detoxification process. You shouldn’t drink more than 4-6 ounces of juice at any one time. This is why I say to sip it, don’t drink it. Slow and steady wins the race. It is best to just slowly consume the juice throughout the whole day. You can drink up to a gallon a day as long as your body seems to handle it. You can freeze the juice and let it defrost while you are drinking it. This keeps you from drinking it too quickly. You need to make sure that even though you are not eating bulk that you have a bowel movement every day. If you find yourself going crazy if you don’t chew something, you may eat a handful of raw nuts and/or eat some melons (like watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe). The specific details and some helpful recipes can be found on the “Directions for Juicing” paper on our website (www.parkerhealthsolutions.com).
· Greens Powder Fast - This is the same as the raw juice fast except that instead of the fruit and vegetable juice you can use a high quality greens powder mix. All you do is add water to the powder, and drink it in place of your raw juice. This works great for those people who are very busy or have a problem handling the high levels of natural sugars that you get from juice. Just like the juice fast, you can drink as much as you want. If you start to experience loose stools, cut back on the amount you are drinking for a few days, then begin to increase it back to the level you were drinking.
· Herbal Cleansing is when you use botanical herbs that have the ability to cause a release of toxins from a specific tissue. Have you ever heard of someone doing a colon or a liver cleanse? This is when you take herbs that stimulate the liver or the colon to release the toxins that have been stored up in them for years. This is the easiest cleanse to do in my opinion because you still get to eat. Now be aware that the quality of your food choices during this time period will greatly influence the effectiveness of the cleanse. Only good-quality food should be consumed during this time period. No carbonation, caffeine, alcohol, fried foods or sugary foods are allowed. The better your food choices, the better the cleansing will be. Make sure you take in lots of water to keep the toxins moving out of your body. Same rule as above; you need to have at least one bowel movement a day. There are many herbal cleanses on the market today and most of them use a combination of herbs. These herbs are well documented on their ability to affect specific tissues and initiate the cleansing process. Below, I have listed some of the most common cleansing herbs used today and which tissues they are known to effect.
· Barberry Root helps remove morbid matter from the stomach and bowels. It dilates blood vessels and has a very powerful effect on liver problems.
· Black Cohosh Root has the ability to neutralize certain poisons in the bloodstream. It contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. It contains vitamin A factors and phosphorus.
· Burdock Root is one of the best blood purifiers and promotes kidney function to help clear the blood of harmful acids. It has anti-poisoning effects. It also aids the pituitary gland by releasing protein to help adjust hormone balance, which may aid in the loss of excess weight. It contains vitamins A, B complex, and C, iron and trace mineral factors. It is also a tonic for the skin.
· Capsicum or Cayenne Fruit is said to be unequalled for helping ward off certain ill-health conditions and promoting blood circulation and body warmth. It is an excellent internal disinfectant. Cayenne augments the power of all other herbs. It often helps relieve cramps. It contains vitamins A, B complex, and C, iron and calcium. It is also rich in potassium.
· Cascara Sagrada Bark is rich in hormone-like oils which promote peristaltic action (the squeezing motion which causes bowel movement) in the intestinal canal. According to research, Cascara Sagrada also helps restore natural tone to the colon. It helps increase the secretions of the stomach, liver, and pancreas. It helps produce painless evacuations, and is very cleansing to the colon. The American Indians called it “The Secret Bark” because of the excellent results they obtained. It contains B-complex factors, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
· Chickweed Herb is valuable for combating blood toxicity and inflammation. Chickweed helps dissolve harmful buildup of plaque in the blood vessels and fatty substances in the system. It soothes internal inflammation and is rich in iron, copper and vitamin C. It is also a mild diuretic and may be helpful in weight loss.
· Dandelion Root benefits liver function. It helps stimulate the liver to detoxify poisons. It may help reduce the sugar in the blood and has anti-inflammatory properties. It contains proteins, vitamins A, B, C and E, and is rich in potassium, calcium, and sodium.
· Echinacea is beneficial as an infection fighter and as an immune supporter. It contains a substance that counteracts tissue-dissolving enzymes, helping keep them out of the body tissue. It increases the body’s ability to resist infections by aiding the production of white blood cells. It is considered one of the best blood cleansers and has been called “King of the Blood Purifiers.” It contains vitamins A, E, and C as well as iodine and copper.
· Fennel Seed helps nutritionally to suppress the appetite. It aids the nervous system in helping to move waste materials out of the body. It also counteracts herbs that may cause intestinal cramps. It contains potassium, sulfur and sodium.
· Fenugreek Seed has the ability to soften and dissolve hardened masses of accumulated mucus. It reduces infections in the lungs. Fenugreek contains lecithin which helps dissolve cholesterol and contains lipotropic (fat dissolving) substances, which dissolve deposits of fat. It contains vitamins A and D, is rich in minerals and is high in protein.
· Gentian Root stimulates the circulation and is one of the best stomach tonics in the herb kingdom. It contains a chemical that stimulates the secretion of stomach acid. It is useful for strengthening the digestive organs, the pancreas and the spleen, as well as the kidneys. It contains B-complex , niacin and trace minerals.
· Ginger Root helps relieve indigestion and abdominal cramping by soothing the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger root is effective as a cleansing agent through the bowels, kidneys, and skin. It also stimulates circulation and warmth. It hastens the effect of other herbs and helps promote a feeling of wellbeing. It contains proteins, vitamins A, C, and B-complex, as well as calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, and magnesium, and contains substances similar to the digestive enzymes that break down proteins.
· Golden Seal Root has been recommended as a way of helping to boost a sluggish glandular system and promoting youthful hormone harmony. This membrane-strengthening herb goes directly into the system and bloodstream and helps regulate liver function. It has been used for alcoholism and indigestion. It contains vitamins A and C, B-complex, E, plus calcium, copper, potassium, lots of phosphorus, manganese, iron, zinc and sodium.
· Irish Moss purifies and strengthens the cellular structure and vital fluids of the system, and is found in cosmetics as a skin softener. It contains vitamins A, D, E, and K and is high in calcium and iodine.
· Licorice Root works as a stimulant on the adrenal glands and endocrine system. Licorice also stimulates cell production of interferon, the body’s own anti-viral compound. Archaeologists found a bundle of licorice sticks among King Tuts’ Tomb of Treasures. It contains vitamin E, phosphorus, B-complex, biotin, niacin, pantothenic acid, lecithin, manganese, iodine, chromium and zinc.
· Milk Thistle has been widely used in Europe as a digestive tonic for years. Excellent for liver disorders, it encourages liver cell renewal in a wide range of degenerative conditions.
· Mullein Leaf is a very beneficial respiratory herb. It has the ability to loosen mucus and move it out of the body. It nourishes as well as strengthens. It contains iron, magnesium, potassium, hesperidins, sulfur, and vitamins A, D and B-complex.
· Oregon Grape Root is well-known for the treatment of skin problems. It is an excellent blood purifier. It also aids in the assimilation of nutrients, with its stimulating and purifying properties. It contains manganese, sodium, copper and zinc.
· Peach Leaves are a natural laxative and have an excellent soothing effect on the nervous system.
· Peppermint Leaf helps bring oxygen into the blood stream. It is soothing to the system as well as strengthening for the heart muscles. It contains vitamins A and C, magnesium, potassium, niacin, inositol, iron and menthol.
· Prickly Ash Bark has a stimulating effect upon the lymphatic system and circulation. It helps increase the activity of the liver, pancreas, spleen and can increase urine flow.
· Psyllium Husk is considered an excellent colon and intestinal cleanser. It lubricates and helps increase the bulk of the stool, and it may help absorb chemicals.
· Rhubarb Root is more than a pie filling. The root has been used when fecal matter has accumulated in the intestines or to help prevent such accumulation. It contains vitamins A, C and B-complex. It is high in calcium and contains some trace minerals.
· Safflower Herb is a popular remedy for sluggish liver and gall bladder problems. It has the ability to remove hard phlegm from the system. It neutralizes uric acid and aids in bowel function. It contains vitamin K.
· Sarsaparilla Herb is used in glandular balance formulas and has stimulating properties. It contains vitamins B-complex, A, C and D, as well as iron, manganese, sodium, sulfur, copper, zinc, and iodine.
· Slippery Elm Bark has the ability to help neutralize stomach acidity and to absorb foul gas. It helps boost output of the cortin hormones, which in turn helps send blood-building substances through the system. It helps draw out impurities and soothes irritated or inflamed membranes. It contains vitamin E as well as iron, sodium, calcium, selenium, and other trace elements.
· Yarrow Flower is used as a tonic in helping to regulate the function of the liver and heal the glandular system. It acts as a blood cleanser. It contains vitamin A, C, E, manganese, copper, potassium, iodine, iron and anti-inflammatory factors.
· Yellow Dock Root is a natural astringent and powerful blood purifier and is useful in certain skin ailments. It helps improve the flow of bile and nutritionally aids the spleen and liver. It contains vitamins A and C and has iron and trace minerals.
Enhancing Your Cleanse
Water - With the exception of oxygen, there is no other element in nature that is as important as clean drinking water. Water helps to deliver essential nutrients as well as remove the blood’s foulest materials. If you don’t drink enough water, the blood can get thick and sticky, and the entire system has to work harder, letting waste materials accumulate more quickly and creating problems. Drink eight glasses of pure water daily. If you are doing an herbal cleanse, make sure you increase your water intake over and above this amount. Cleansing has a tendency to thicken your body fluids and clog you up. Drink more water to help your body dilute the toxins and enhance the detoxification process. You may need to drink as much as 2-4 glasses more per day.
Exercise - Exercise in the open air and sunshine is among the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It will greatly enhance the cleansing process by increasing your body’s metabolism. Your respiratory system goes into a revved-up mode, increases the amount of oxygen you take in and increases the amount of carbon dioxide and other toxins you release. It causes the circulatory system to pump at an accelerated rate, which keeps the tissues from becoming stagnant and helps the body move the toxins out at a much faster pace. It raises your body temperature which will do two things. One, it creates an uninhabitable environment for infectious organisms such as bacteria and fungus. Second it causes your body to sweat in order to try and regulate its internal temperature. This not only cools the body but it is one of the most effective ways to get toxins out of the body. The endocrine system is also affected by exercising by causing the release of hormones and endorphins. This chemical release by your glands is like pouring gas on an open fire. You get a tremendous short burst of power which increases the cleansing process. It does not need to be vigorous exercise like jogging, aerobics, or swimming. Just taking a brisk twenty-minute walk is helpful and will increase the rate at which excess calories are burned off and toxins are eliminated. The most important rule here is to get your body moving and get your heart rate up for a little while.
Massage – I am a firm believer in getting massages. I think most people would agree that the benefits you can receive from the hands of a good massage therapist are incredible. If you have ever had a massage, then you were probably told to make sure you drink a lot of water that day. This is because the massaging process will release toxins and acids from the muscles, much like the process of squeezing toothpaste from its tube. Without increasing your water intake, you may experience lots of muscle aches and tenderness and start to question if a massage was the right thing to do or not. There are many different types of massage and all of them have great benefits for specific conditions. While cleansing, I would look for someone who is trained in lymphatic massage or someone who has the hand strength to perform a mildly deep stripping of the muscles and fascia. This involves being able to hold constant pressure while slowly sliding over the entire length of the muscle. Ask for a referral from people you know that have had a massage and start with them. If you don’t have much luck at first, keep trying until you find the therapist that is right for you.
Saunas - Just like exercise, using a sauna will cause you to perspire. The benefit is that the amount of sweating that occurs is much greater in the sauna than it is in exercise. It is easier to get and maintain a higher core temperature in a sauna. There are two types of saunas that you will typically find: traditional and infrared saunas. The traditional sauna, also called rock saunas or Finnish Saunas, use various types of heaters to warm the air in a room. The room's walls can be logs or some other material lined with wood. In a traditional sauna the air temperature typically remains between 169 to 190°F (76 to 88°C). The hot air causes your body to heat up, and eventually results in a sweat. An infrared sauna uses a specific type of heater that creates infrared waves that heat your body directly, instead of just by the air. The temperature in them is much cooler, at around 110 to 130°F (43 to 54°C). The amount of sweat that results from each is comparable, though many people report that the lower temperatures in an infrared sauna allow the user to stay inside longer, resulting in longer sauna sessions, and therefore more overall sweating. Saunas are known for their ability to remove toxins from the body through the sweat glands, and when used in conjunction with a fasting or herbal cleanse the effects are greatly increased.