Alternative Detox Methods
In addition to heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, 85,000 chemicals have been introduced into the American market since World War II – one of the many reasons our environment has become increasingly toxic. There has also been an increase in exposure to chemicals and toxins through the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe and the chemicals we apply to our bodies in the form of personal hygiene products, cleaning agents, carpet, new cars, remodeling, new construction and more.
Since our environment is increasingly toxic, our normal detoxification processes (kidney, liver, lung, skin) are stressed and overloaded. Increased chronic toxic burden has been linked to multiple chronic diseases. Therefore, at Newbridge, we recommend adopting a lifestyle of detoxification to optimize health and well-being. Dr. Mark Hyman, Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine and the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, identifies five key parts of detoxification:
- Identify and Get Rid of Toxins
- Fix Your Gut — A source of toxic load for many
- Get Moving — Help your blood and lymphatic circulation do its job
- Get Your Liver and Detox System Working
- Detox your Mind, Heart and Spirit
Wondering where to begin with all this? Consider these tips:
Detoxing from the outside:
Reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), who creates the Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen for foods, also works to help consumers understand the toxic and endocrine disrupting burdens their cleaning and beauty products have on them. You can visit their site and search the products you use on a day-to-day basis to learn about your exposure levels to harmful chemicals. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) defines endocrine disrupters as:
“…chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife… Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products– including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides.”
Consider using products that are EWG verified, including household cleaning products, specifically fragrance-free, dye-free and/or eco-friendly laundry detergent and fabric softeners. Try using some lavender or lemon essential oil for a gentle, fresh fragrance!
Switch to personal care products, lotions, and cosmetics that are verified safe and chemical-free. Nearly 70% of what’s applied to the skin is absorbed, so it’s important to find products that are clean enough that they could even be ingested. Consider switching your toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoos to cleaner alternatives.
Detoxing from the inside:
Vegetable Juicing. If you don’t already have one, we recommend that you consider investing in a juicer. Organic clean vegetable juicing is one of the best things you can add to your diet to help you absorb more nutrients, consume an optimal amount of vegetables daily, and increase variety. We recommend choosing a slow masticating juicer because it does not oxidize the nutrients as quickly as a high-speed oscillating juicer and they produce more juice from leafy greens. To counteract the bitterness of some greens, ¼ to ½ of a lemon or lime can be used, or ginger. Many children and adults like the taste of vegetable juice.
Sauna. If you have access to a sauna (preferably Far Infrared and low EMF), spending time in a sauna can increase immunity, support detoxification, improve circulation, and decrease inflammation. Also, pathogens like Lyme bacteria, as well as other viruses, are sensitive to heat. If possible, spending time in a sauna 1-3 times per week would be optimal. We specifically recommend SunLighten and ClearLight saunas.
Castor Oil Pack. Castor oil packs can help increase circulation, promotes anti-inflammatory effects, increases immune function, supports healthy liver function/detoxification, calms sympathetic nervous system, and helps regulate the digestive system. Apply over the liver for 30 minutes at night before bed for four consecutive nights each week. To do a castor pack, pour 1-2 tablespoons of castor oil onto a square flannel or old towel. Place the fabric over your liver and apply heat (preferable hot water bottle) to the area while lying or sitting down in comfortable place and position.
IonCleanse Foot Bath. Ionic foot baths are machines that purportedly pull out toxic heavy metals and negative ions through the soles of the feet via the kidney meridian of the Chinese acupuncture system . Some benefits of an IonCleanse can be increased energy, improved mental clarity, and reduced stress. Consider utilizing the IonCleanse we have at Newbridge or consider purchasing one for at home use.
Epsom salt baths. Epsom salt has two major components: magnesium and sulfate (sulfur), which are essential minerals in the body. Sulfate is involved in several biological functions as well – most notably in the gut. This mineral facilitates the release of protease, lipase, and amylase which are pancreatic enzymes needed to digest food. Due to the beneficial qualities associated with magnesium and sulfate, Epsom salt is used as a natural remedy to support many health issues including inflammation, constipation, and strain from exercise. Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salts to your bath and soak for up to an hour (can be done daily). This can help reduce symptoms related to herxheimer or die-off reactions and provide a means for gentle detox, muscle relaxation, pain relief, etc.
Stress management. Stress is a toxin too! From prenatal development to adulthood, chronic stress can contribute to increased inflammation and overall health outcomes . Finding activities that help you destress can help improve quality of life as well as improve health and well-being. Some stressors are harder to avoid (work, family, finances) but having strategies to cope will help reduce the negative effects of stress on your bodies, such as inflammation, fatigue, and increased risk for illness. Yoga, meditation, a bath, time alone doing a preferred activity, time with friends, and being outside are all ways that can help manage stress.
There are several ways to incorporate simple changes that, with time, can help prevent toxin exposure and support your body’s natural detoxifying capabilities! You can find more resources and guides at the Environmental Working Group.