The idea of cleanses or detoxes has been around for centuries. It was often the custom in ancient societies to cleanse the body with each change of season. In ancient ayurvedic practices, each season was connected to a different organ system in the body. During times of seasonal change these ancient philosophies recommended restorative cleanses to enhance the health and vitality of each organ system.
In today’s world, quarterly or seasonal cleanses are even more important because of the sheer number of toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. The typical American lifestyle exposes us to thousands of different chemicals each year—chemicals found in our food (pesticides), chemicals found in our beauty/personal care products, chemicals found in our household cleaning supplies and airborne chemicals. Many of these toxins put an enormous burden on our detoxification organs, which include the liver, kidneys, bowels and skin. This burden can often be so taxing that eventually these vital organs get so backlogged that they cannot do their job. This is when problems start to arise.
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As Frank Lippman puts it regarding the liver and toxic burden, “It’s as if you have a party one night and there’s a mess in the morning, and then, you decide not to clean it up. Then, you have a party again the next night, and you don’t clean up again in the morning. And then, you have another party, and so on.” If you continue to not clean up the messes in your liver it can lead to major issues all over the body. Doing a cleanse on a regular basis is like hiring a maid and the more often you have your maid come, the cleaner your house (aka your body) will be! Here are just four of the reasons you should detox more than once per year for your health.
1. Smooth and Easy Digestion
The liver is easily the organ that’s most affected by all of the toxic exposure in today’s world. Because the liver is such an important part of the digestive process, a liver that is not functioning properly will eventually lead to issues in the GI tract. If we don’t allow the liver adequate time to clean out the junk, we are opening ourselves up to all kinds of digestive issues like constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea and more. Regular cleansing is key to keeping the digestive tract functioning like a well oiled machine.
2. Improved Weight Loss
Toxins can start to build up in the blood stream when the detox organs get backlogged. And eventually the body needs to clear the toxins from the blood stream (so they don’t damage the arterial walls). Where does the body decide to put them? In a place it knows they will be nice and insulated: your fat cells. So, our fat cells tend to be the place where accumulated toxins are stored. This is all fine and good…until you decide you want to lose weight. If your detoxification organs are still backlogged, the body is not going to want to let go of ANY fat cells that contain toxins, as they will end up right back in the blood stream again. I find that this is the reason SO many men and women have a harder time losing weight as they get older—they have too many toxins built up in their fat cells and they have not given the body the detoxification tools it needs. Cleaning out the detox organs allows the body to get rid of the backlog and then process any toxins released from fat cells during weight loss.
3. Healthier Skin
The skin also happens to be one of the body’s major detoxification organs. It is not the preferred route of detox for many toxins, but if the other organs of elimination (liver, kidneys, GI tract, etc.) are not functioning properly, the body will attempt to push toxins out through the skin. This can result in acne, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, redness and/or all-over itching. Performing regular cleanses does wonders for skin health. When you clean up all of the messes in the internal organs, the skin no longer needs to push toxins out. This leaves your skin clean, clear and beautiful!
4. Better Brain Health and Mental Clarity
The other organ that tends to be impacted when the detoxification organs are backed up is the brain. There are some toxins that can pass through the blood-brain barrier and take up residence in the brain, leaving us feeling foggy and sluggish—not to mention also putting us at risk for things like dementia and Alzheimer’s. If these particular toxins are cleared quickly—as they should be with a body that is functioning optimally—they don’t have the chance to get into the brain. However, when detox organs are impaired, these toxins can easily slip into the brain. In fact, one of the first things that my patients notice after doing a cleanse is how clear headed they feel. They note that their memory improves and feel as if they could accomplish anything.
Dr. Kinney is a doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, an adrenal fatigue expert and the founder of the Body Wisdom Method. She specializes in helping women balance their stress hormones, improve their mood and increase their energy. Many of the patients at her clinic in Annapolis, Maryland suffer from anxiety, insomnia, thyroid disorders, digestive issues, weight gain, joint pain and more. She is extremely passionate about teaching women how to rebalance and restore their innate healing ability.
She received a bachelor of arts from Vanderbilt University and is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine (UBCNM). Dr. Kinney is an active member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and passionate about spreading awareness about Natural Medicine. She enjoys yoga, traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.