Cleansing our bodies is important to do on a regular basis, if we want to have good health. The reason is simple: We take in much more than we let out. So all of that stuff which doesn’t leave the body needs to go somewhere–and it does. It stays inside of us. The process of cleansing–once or twice a year–is our body’s chance to clean out all of that excess stuff. In this way, we are lighter, we’re cleaner, our body has shed toxins and even old viruses or heavy metals, and our health can improve.
But the most important part of cleanses isn’t always told to us: Step one is to make sure the exits are open.
That is, the first thing we need to do is make sure our body’s elimination pathways are open. These are the exits through which waste gets released. If they’re closed or clogged—as they are in most of us—then waste will stay in the body, recirculate through the body, and even reabsorb. If the reabsorption is serious, then it can cause autotoxemia, which means the body is absorbing poison. Either way, the process of releasing toxins from cells only to have them prevented from exiting is responsible for many people’s “detox symptoms.” It’s not a sign that good things are happening; it’s a sign that we weren’t fully informed about how to begin.
In this article, I discuss the main “exits” and how to support them, additional things we need to focus on, and what we can do once the exits are clear.
The body has several “exits”; most importantly, the colon, the urine, the sweat, and the emotions.
The colon needs to dump three times a day or more. If you’re going less than three times per day, then as Barbara Manconi Smith says, “you’re constipated.” Imagine every meal and snack that you eat. About 18 hours after each of those, you should be dumping it out the other end.
If you’re constipated, then you need to get the waste out. In emergency situations, use a laxative. A good one is Senna; this is an herb commonly used in teas and tablets as a gentle laxative. You can find it in grocery stores over the counter. (Laxative use is always temporary. You don’t want your body to become dependent on it.) Also useful is Magnesium Oxide or Magnesium Citrate; these bring water into the bowel, so that hardened waste is softened and expelled more easily. You can take these daily. Indeed, there’s a popular product called Magnesium Calm that is Magnesium Citrate powder which gets added to your beverages.
You ultimately want to heal your digestive system and colon, not just get them moving temporarily. So for that you can try a product called GI Renew by Dr. Morse. I’ve personally never used it but hear that it works. Another option, which I have used and can attest to, is the Ayurvedic herbal blend called Triphala.
The urine needs to not only flow all day long out of you, but also to contain sediment. If it doesn’t have sediment, then it’s not doing its job. How do you know if you have sediment in your urine? You do “the pee test.” This test is popular among people who follow Anthony William and Barbara Manconi Smith, and I’m not sure who gets the credit for the test. Basically, pee into a jar, cover it, put it in a dark cupboard for 24 hours, and then check it after that time: Is there sediment at the bottom of the jar? If no, then you’re not releasing the toxins that you need to; those are staying in your body. If yes, then that’s good—it shows that you’re eliminating waste through your urine. But the next question is, “How much sediment is there?” There should be a millimeter, give or take, depending on your health right now. While cleansing, do this test every week or two in order to note your progress.
In order to get the urine flowing, of course, you need to drink fluid. You should drink about eight 16-ounces glasses of fluid per day. The best drink is clean water with fresh lemon juice. Why? Because lemon water helps to flush waste out of your liver. Your liver spends a lot of time—notably, all night long—gathering waste from the body. It needs help flushing that waste out of it and into the elimination pathways. Lemon water does this very well. The best thing to do? Drink up to 16 ounces of lemon water the moment you get up in the morning, every morning. Drink this before putting anything else in your stomach, including medications (but check with your doctor). After 20-30 minutes, you can proceed with your day.
Best is to drink water, coconut water, fruit juice, veggie juice, and herbal tea, in order to get your gallon in. Or blend water with some juice for flavor. But know that fluids like soda pop, caffeinated coffee and tea, dairy products like milk, and anything unnatural is not only not helpful, but will contradict your efforts.
We also need to sweat each day. If you can exercise to generate the sweat, that’s wonderful. Otherwise, force the sweat to come out. Ideally, you’d be using an infrared sauna; infrared heat penetrates deeper into the tissues, to stimulate the type of circulation that allows toxins to be released. Or, use a regular sauna, or a heating pad, or a hot bath. (If you’d like an infrared heating mat, then save 10% off my favorite brand by using the code PTLH10. Canadians, we can shop here.) A full-body sweat is great. You don’t just want your armpits to be wet; you want all of your skin to release toxins.
We of course need to also detox our emotions. We suppress so much. We can’t say the things we want to say, can’t cry in public when that’s what we want to do, can’t get angry at our superiors even when that’s the appropriate response…. We hold a lot of emotions inside, and they literally are still inside of our bodies. So they need to come out. Every day, let out some of your emotions. Laugh, cry, express yourself, sing, yell, journal, put on a sad movie and force yourself to sob. The more you do this, the easier it will be to emote, and the lighter you will eventually feel.
As we work on opening the elimination pathways, we also need to do several other things.
First, we need to focus on the lymphatic system. This is basically the garbage men of the body. Garbage collectors play an important role in our society: they drive down our streets and pick up all of the garbage that has been left at the curb, taking it all to the dump. That’s what the lymph fluid does inside the body: it flows through the body, picking up all of the waste in our cells, and takes it to the elimination systems to be dumped. But can you imagine if the garbage collectors didn’t show up for a month? (In the hot summer?!) All of that waste along the street would be left there to rot…. Worse, it would be taken back inside our homes—still rotting. That’s what happens inside the body when the lymph isn’t working: waste rots. Inside of us.
So we need the lymph to flow. Two easy ways to help that are to take herbal remedies and to jump on a trampoline. Herbs that stimulate lymphatic flow as well as cleanse the lymph fluid are Cleavers, which I have never tried but which is widely-used for this purpose, and Manjistha, an Ayurvedic herb that also cleans the blood.
Jumping on a trampoline is also an excellent way to stimulate lymphatic flow. This is because the lymph pumps only vertically—upwards. So we need upwards-type movement that will pump this fluid, and trampolines do that very well. We can get small “rebounders” for as little as $40, or lovely ones for around $165.
Other ways to get the lymph flowing is by dry brushing before your shower, and by doing lymphatic self-massage, which is also called Abhyanga in Ayurveda.
Second, we need to avoid certain things, if we’re trying to cleanse. We need to avoid foods that are hard to digest, or which take too many of our body’s resources to digest—thereby diverting that energy away from the process of cleaning. Avoid meat, which takes about 24 hours to digest—basically starting to rot before it gets to the exit. Avoid dairy, which generates mucus and therefore can clog the system. Avoid too much protein, which also can generate mucus in certain body types. Avoid gluten, as it’s just not ideal while cleansing. And avoid processed foods. Processed foods are often made with some form of toxin or less-than-ideal substance, which is exactly what you’re trying to remove from the body; so why add more?
Beverage-wise, avoid dairy for the reasons mentioned above. Avoid caffeine, because it dehydrates us and also fries our nerves. Avoid alcohol, as it interferes with our hormones, which doesn’t necessarily directly impact cleansing but does directly inhibit our health and energy levels.
We also need to avoid fats—all types of fats. Here’s why: When there’s fat in our bloodstream, per Anthony William, toxins are blocked from leaving. Technically, our body wraps fat around each toxin and takes it into storage (to the belly, for example). But when there’s no fat in our bloodstream, the toxins are free to leave. Note that if you cleanse too quickly, and you feel the effects of too many toxins floating through you at once, then eat a little bit of healthy fat; coat those toxins and take them back to storage until you’re ready to let them out again.
If we can’t 100% avoid something, then at least reduce it. For me, full disclosure, I still drink a cup of coffee each morning, simply because I enjoy it; but that’s down from two.
Third, we need to add certain things to our diet. We need to add the foods and beverages that are so easy to digest that they hardly divert energy away from the cleansing process. The easiest and fastest thing for our body to digest is fruit juice or vegetable juice, freshly made (not packaged, as the benefits are lost after about 12-24 hours). After that, per Barbara Manconi Smith, fruit is the second easiest food to digest. Next is steamed vegetables. Next is raw vegetables. Fruit and veggies are best when we’re cleansing. They’re easy on the body, and they also nourish the body, giving the organs and systems what they need in order to serve our health. Note that not everyone has the digestive fire needed to digest raw (“cold”) foods. So if you’re having trouble with raw veggies, then try them lightly steamed at first.
Fourth, we need to reduce the stimuli in our life. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the spleen is part of the lymphatic system, and it is the largest lymphatic organ. The spleen, per TCM, is responsible for digesting all stimuli. All stimuli. That means, everything your eyes see throughout the day, everything your ears hear, everything your nose smells, everything your skin feels and senses, every thought that you think and emotion that you feel, every single ingredient in the food that you eat, every drink, every email, every jingle on the radio, every WiFi signal that passes through you all day…everything. All of that needs to be digested and processed by your spleen. Can you imagine how overwhelmed it is? So if we want to have our spleen begin to process and expel old stuff, then we have to reduce its workload for real-time stuff. And that means reducing stimuli. So the more you can be in silence—turning off the music—or eating only simple foods and the same food each day, and reducing your screen time, and leaving a meeting early because there’s too much chatter, or just being by yourself, the more you will benefit.
Fifth, we need to rest. If our body is constantly being required to be active, to get things done, then it can’t use its precious energy to cleanse. So you need to acknowledge that you’re going to have to stop, at least for a little while, in order to give your body permission to help you. What you need is to get into Parasympathetic Rest. That means, switch off the fight-or-flight / sympathetic nervous system, and activate the rest-and-restore / parasympathetic nervous system. Doing that is accomplished in many different ways. Here are some examples: take a nap; do restorative yoga; do pranayama (yogic breathing); meditate—any kind of quieter, relaxing meditation, and there are some lovely guided ones; play with your dog; walk quietly in nature; sit on a dock and let your legs dangle gently into the water; sit outside under the stars, wrapped in a blanket; do something that makes your heart happy. The more that you get into parasympathetic rest, the more deeply you will be able to cleanse.
Finally, we need to acknowledge that cleansing brings with it a host of symptoms and side effects. There can be some icky, unpleasant, and serious stuff happening with the body as it releases decades-old gunk. Pains, headaches, emotional outbursts, cravings, exhaustion, muscle tension, smelly stuff, and more are commonly associated with cleansing. I recommend that you cleanse under the care of someone who knows the process well and can help alleviate your concerns if symptoms do come up.
Next on the Agenda: Targeted Cleanses
Once our elimination pathways are open, then we can do targeted cleanses—focusing our efforts on a particular organ (like the liver), a particular bodily system (like the blood), or a particular concern (like parasites or heavy metals). Those cleanses will be far more effective now that the exits are clear. Not only that, but the side effects will be lesser, because you won’t just be releasing poisons but not having anywhere for them to go.
Here’s my article with nine other cleansing strategies for you.
In the way that I see it, you have to clear the exits before you pack the hallways.
I wish you happy cleansing. If you have any questions, feel welcome to leave a comment.
And if you’d like some energy healing support, including to do an emotional clearing, then book your appointment here.