The new year is now 4 months in and we may start hearing the words DETOX or CLEANSE ALOT! Many people (including myself and sig other) are setting the intention to lighten the dietary load on their bodies and there is no better time to do so than SPRING almost SUMMER. “Spring cleaning” is not just for the things that build up in our closets, cabinets and such; it is also for our bodies, minds, and spirits.
A detox or cleanse is a way to LIVE and EAT cleanly, ridding the body of toxins and pollutants by introducing only high-nutrient, whole foods. Our bodies know how to cleanse and restore, so by detoxifying we are giving it a helping hand. With the MANY varieties of detox’s or cleanse’s, the goal is to get rid of toxins that have been stored (in our fat cells) for who knows how long, giving our organs (think skin and liver which play major parts in the detoxifying process) the chance to revitalize. Yet it is not just about diet. Hydrotherapy, facial exfoliation, skin brushing, manual lymphatic drainage massage, and deep breathing exercises will all help expel toxins by improving circulation and enhancing lymphatic flow. And what about the toxic thoughts and feelings that occur in the mind? Did you know adrenaline and other chemicals our bodies produce in reaction to stress cause the body to produce toxic substances and free radicals?
I first heard of cleansing while growing up with a catholic grandmother. What is known as fasting, I saw as cleansing. In my younger years I saw my devoted grandmothers ways a way of service, to her faith and her self. This thought was so inspiring to my young mind. Then in college, The Master Cleanse was brought up in discussion and I have yet to take on the challenge. Nowadays, there are juice, RAW foods only, or soup cleanses.
What I have learned and put in to practice is that there are things that should be considered before, during and after all cleanses. Below is a guide based on juice cleansing. NOTE: If you are on medication, have a serious illness or are pregnant please consult your healthcare practitioner. Here’s to squeezing out the old and letting in the new!
- Plan ahead and stock up. Whether you are making your own juices or ordering from a cleansing company, its a good idea (and cost effective for shopping) to plan ahead. Maybe make up a meal plan to guide throughout the allotted cleanse time. When shopping, stock up on herbal teas because you can have as much as you like before, during and after cleansing. Take a look at your calendar and limit social engagements. Unless you are super strong and can resist usual temptations at social gatherings.
- Purchase a dry brush. Sound crazy? Trust me! Dry brushing is known for pumping up the lymph system and getting rid of dead skin cells. Want your skin to glow in time for summer? Start with dry brushing by removing the top dull, dead layer of skin and encouraging new cells to regenerate. There is a certain technique. Make sure your brush is one of natural bristles and has either a handle or straps to reach those hard to reach places (SEE BELOW FOR ROUTINE).
- Purchase a journal if you like that sort of thing. Journaling will help get out your thoughts and feelings wether postive or negative just get them out! Writing shit out may also spurt creativity that has been locked away.
5-minute skin brushing routine:
- Place towels underneath where you will stand or sit comfortably. Begin with the sole of your Right foot. Using firm, rhythmic strokes, brush the sole several times. Then move to the top of your foot, brushing upwards toward your ankle. Then go on to your lower leg, making sure you cover the whole surface-shin and calf. Always brush in an upward direction. Stand up and brush the area from your knee to the top of your thigh. Make sure you cover the whole area several times, using long rhythmic strokes. Brush your buttock area as far as your waist. REPEAT the whole procedure on your Left leg, starting with the sole of your foot.
- Starting from the top of your buttocks, brush the whole of your back several times all the way up to the shoulders.
- Next, brush your right arm. Start with the palm of your hand, move to the back of the hand and then brush from your wrist up to your elbow, always upward. Brush your upper arm, working from your elbow towards your shoulder, again covering the whole surface of the arm. REPEAT on your Left side.
- Very gently, brush your abdomen in a clockwise circle. Cover the area several times but with less pressure than on your arms and legs. If at any time this feels uncomfortable, stop.
- The neck and chest are also very sensitive so be gentle, always working towards your heart.
Next week, tips “during” a cleanse.