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Holistic Healing & Detox

Here we are, Happy 2024! Health is the number one resolution for most of us, but it can feel overwhelming. Where do I begin? First, take baby steps here. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and changing behaviors takes patience, grace, and a little self-compassion. You won’t get it all right initially. Many of my clients tell me they want to start off the year with an aggressive detox and I tell them “Nope!” I will say it is a good time to set specific intentions. It might be to drink more water, reduce sugar consumption, or become observant of external stressors. This is a great start because they are all related to cleansing and nourishing the body.

How do you detox stress and the chemicals of adrenaline and cortisol?

The best way to start is to explore your autonomic nervous system (ANS) and your response to stress.  The next thing to do is to support the digestive system, as the liver is a major player in the detox pathways.  Understand cortisol is not the enemy. We need a little to survive-otherwise the tiger would have killed us off many years ago. It’s actually anti-inflammatory in small amounts. But what if we perceive everything as stressful- our jobs, our lifestyle, our relationships?  What if our ANS is wired for fight, flight, or freeze?  Cortisol becomes pro-inflammatory.  And those chemicals can hinder hormone functioning, neurotransmitters, and create the ripple effect of toxicity and imbalance. 

This can look like difficulty focusing and concentrating, impaired immunity (easily catching viruses and illnesses), lack of energy, brain fog, chronic fatigue, weight gain (muffin tops are indicative of blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance related to cortisol dumps), hypersomnia and insomnia.

Here are some proven ways to reduce cortisol: establish a sleep hygiene ritual, limit sugar and caffeine intake, up protein and vegetable intakes, exercise, breathing, laughter and play, creativity, connection and community, and pets!

How do we support our organs and glands for detox?

 The goal of cleansing is to release the toxins stored in the body and rid inflammation.  Toxins are filtered by the digestive system, lymph, blood vessels, skin, lymph, lungs, and kidneys.  The skin releases water and waste through sweat glands.  This can be supported by sauna, red light therapy, essential oils, and massage.  Kidneys need water.  Hydration is crucial to moving toxins out.  Kidneys need warmth and when it begins to cool, the body loses energy reserves.  The liver is our metabolic center and assists blood flow to the gut. The liver has many jobs besides detoxing including managing blood sugar and conjugating hormones.  Because it has so many duties, it needs more support.  The lungs aspirate toxins so breathing such as Prana and Kundalini yoga, which stimulates bilateral brain hemispheres and walking helps the lungs detox. The digestive system needs a rest from heavy proteins from time to time.  Juicing and teas can be good for clearing.

Finally, it’s important to implement lifestyle and nutrition changes, and there are supplements I recommend.  Before you begin any detoxification protocol, you should consult with your doctor to make sure you are ready.  However, you can begin to implement gentle steps.

The Rainbow Diet means eating foods with natural phytonutrients and colors made in nature.  Colors like lycopene in red foods, beta carotene in orange foods, and Sulphur in greens contain antioxidants, anti-carcinogens which protect cellular DNA, and anti-aging nutrients such as those found in purple foods. 

Food has mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and energetic qualities. Food is expansive, it has quantum affects and healing properties…from animal, fish, plant, spices, and teas-food is holy.

What are some ways to detox?

·       Drink water

·       Dry brushing

·       Wet saunas

·       Red light therapy

·       Nature and exercise

·       Juices

·       Scrubbing and exfoliating

·       Salt baths

·       Sound bath

·       Herbal tea

·       Rebounding (for the lymph)

·       Massage

·       Oxygen therapy/ozone

·       Supplementation

·       Activated charcoal for binding toxins pre-elimination

·       Prayer rituals

·       Connection and Tribe

·       Eliminate processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar

·       Fasting

·       Lifestyle factors (see wheel above)

·       Clean water (half your body weight in fluid oz per day)

Top Recommended Supplements for detox:

·       Probiotics and enzymes such as proteases support the immune system, detox pathways, circulation, and elimination.

·       Green tea-antioxidant

·       Milk thistle-gentle liver detox

·       NAC- precursor which supports glutathione (master antioxidant) production

·       DIM- removes excess estrogen from the body

·       Magnesium-balances glutathione, relaxes muscles, promotes relaxation and aids in stress reduction

·       L-glutamine-cleanses the body of ammonia

·       Ashwagandha-adaptogenic herb for the adrenals

·       Spirulina-detoxes the body of heavy metals (parsley, coriander, cilantro, and Chinese parsley are excellent for this as well)

Written by Jennifer Schwartz-Doctorovich, MS, LPC-Associate, FNTP, CFSP

Supervised by Tamara D. Allen Bush, LPC-S


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