Detoxification – An Essential Part of Health for Today’s Lifestyle

Most people notice the car wobble before the tires start falling off. Most people notice the doors squeak before they go stiff from rust. Naturopathic Medicine works on the concept that abnormal function precedes disease. Most people notice headaches, joint pain, anxiety, skin rashes before a specific disease ever sets in. But most do wait until the doctor diagnoses them with a disease before ever doing anything about it. Why wait till the wheels fall off before starting to fix them? It makes the repairs longer, harder and more expensive!

Signs and Symptoms of Toxicity

Headaches, Joint Pain, Coughs, Wheezing, Sore throat, Stiff neck, Circulatory Issues, High Cholesterol, Backaches, Frequent Colds, Sinus congestion, Runny nose, Fatigue, Insomnia, Depression, Skin Rashes, Hives, Nausea, Indigestion, Bad breath, Constipation…….

Diseases due to Build Up of Toxicity in the Body (the wheels are falling off the car…)

Acne, Eczema, Allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, Colitis, Diverticulitis, Irritable Bowel, Cirrhosis, Fibrocystic Breast Disease, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Gout, Obesity, Infections, Uterine fibroids, Cancer, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Kidney Stones, Stroke, Prostate Disease, Menstrual problems, Vaginitis, Varicose Veins, Diabetes, Ulcers, Gastritis, Migraine Headaches……

Of course, not all these problems are related solely to toxicity, nor will they be completely cured through detoxification alone.

What is Detoxification and Why Do I Need It?

Detoxification is the process of clearing toxins from the body or neutralizing or transforming them, and hence clearing excess mucus and congestion. Like a small river, it will become stagnant and overloaded with muck if there is no movement and vitality to its water. Contrast that with the mountain stream, sparking and rushing with clear and vibrant water. Naturopathic Medicine has always focused on treating the root of disease which often leads to treating the liver and the bowel. These are the two main helpers for detoxification of the body. Keeping the body’s tissues and organs healthy and vibrant will make sure that disease of the body is not even a possibility.

How Do You Detoxify the Body?

There are endless numbers of kits and programs available to the public. A note of caution if you have specific health concerns that you are attempting to remedy through detoxification: You have to make sure that the routes of elimination are open and working before flushing the body clean. Most programs are not specific to you, but are marketed to everyone. If you flush the liver and the bowels are not moving regularily, toxic accumulation will cause nausea, headaches, fatigue, etc. I have heard many health food store employees tell people that this is a good sign that your body is detoxifying! Who wants to feel worse while you are trying to help yourself? In our clinic, we set patients on an individualized program to eliminate potential negative effects of cleansing.

Step 1 – Bowel Regularity
Make sure the bowels are moving 1-3 times per day with normal bowel movements. Various fibre products, herbs and homeopathics can help those who require support in this area. No point in putting more cars on the highway if there is already a traffic jam.

Step 2- Cleansing Diet
Depending on the current state of health and motivation of the patient, there are varying levels of focused diets. For some, removing coffee, chocolate and alcohol will make improvements. Others may require a program of supervised fasting to thoroughly cleanse the body. It has been recognized for centuries that when animals are ill, they do not eat. By cleansing and allowing the body to focus on repairing itself, illness and disease can be both eliminated or prevented.

Step 3 – Intestinal Support
The intestines require a specific environment in which to carry out the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Some patients will require vitamins, minerals, healthy bacteria, digestive enzymes or specific amino acids in order to support the healing and cleansing of the intestines.

Step 4 – Liver Support
Most patients will use a herbal combination to ensure the liver is increasing the flow of bile (thus adding to the flow the “river” mentioned earlier). If the person has been exposed to various chemicals repeatedly (caffeine, nicotine and prescription medications included), they will require specific nutraceuticals to make sure the liver has the proper nutrients to allow continued detoxification. An analogy I often use in practice is a highway with 6 tollbooths on it. Each chemical is a car that has to use a specific tollbooth. If you overload the highway with the same type of car, then there is going to be a huge lineup for that tollbooth. Eventually the worker in the tollbooth gets so tired, he just quits – then you’re in trouble.

As Naturopathic Doctors, we recommend that people begin to use detoxification routinely in order to prevent disease and feel fantastic. The best times to detoxify are during periods of illness or general fatigue, but also every spring and fall. Most people get run down with the changing of the seasons. In the Edmonton area, this time falls into late September, early October. For that reason, we are starting the semi-annual detox club. Please see details below if you are interested in joining others in an educational and motivational group setting as you learn the steps to detoxification.