by Sue Charles
Increasingly today, more and more people have chosen to include their internal body systems along with their home when it comes to the annual ritual of spring cleaning. Just like your kitchen sink after pouring all sorts of things down it over a period of time, a blockage can begin to build up so you need to flush your system out.
When done correctly, detoxification is safe and beneficial for our health and many health experts suggest that we should aim to embark upon at least one detoxification program annually. However, children, nursing mothers, and patients with cancer, chronic degenerative illness and tuberculosis should consult their physician first for approval.
Fasting has always been the traditional way to detoxify the body, but for many busy people these days it is too extreme and simply not practical. In my experience, aromatherapy offers the easiest and most enjoyable way to cleanse your body using essential oils together with a few other well-proven methods. That way you don’t need to deprive yourself of all your favourite foods!
Toxic build up
Providing we are in good health and not already suffering from the effects of toxicity, our body transforms, neutralises or eliminates toxins very efficiently. Toxicity only begins to build up in our bodies when we take in more than our body can use or eliminate, or when we are run-down. Modern lifestyles mean that most of us do not take enough exercise, and in combination with stressful lifestyles and unhealthy diet this all contributes to lymphatic congestion and a build-up of toxins.
The lymphatic system consists of a network of tubes that drain excess liquid called ‘lymph’ from your body tissues into your bloodstream. The lymph then travels to lymph nodes where it is cleansed of toxins, bacteria and other waste products before re-entering the bloodstream. Symptoms caused by a build up of toxins include gastrointestinal conditions such as constipation and bloating, aches and pains, coughs, fatigue, headaches, catarrh, skin problems and a breakdown in the immune system.
Aromatherapy is such a tremendous aid to detoxifying because essential oils can assist lymphatic drainage which is vital for the efficient elimination of toxins. All of the essential oils listed in the sidebar help to cleanse the body by either accelerating lymph and tissue circulation, or by stimulating the circulatory system.
Process of elimination
The liver is the main organ responsible for detoxification in the body due to its many metabolic functions, although the kidneys play an important role as well. The colon is responsible for the elimination of toxins, and an effective cleansing treatment will need to tackle both of these body systems. The ideal detox treatment encourages the body to deal with toxins in a natural way, without putting the body under any strain.
Effective detox treatments include exercise, fasting, skin brushing, colonic irrigation and of course, aromatherapy using detoxifying and stimulating essential oils. In my experience, incorporating 2 or more of these methods into one detox routine produces the very best results – especially when one of them is aromatherapy.
Exercise and diet
If you are the energetic type then exercise is a great way to start your detox since it steps up the body’s metabolic rate. Just 15 minutes on a rebounder helps to stimulate the lymph nodes which drain the lymphatic system. Amazingly, during exercise the lymph can drain about 20mls of waste per minute, whereas at rest this figure falls to only 1-2mls per minute. Swimming, jogging, circuit training and even just brisk walking really help to increase your metabolic rate and boost your circulatory system.
A much less strenuous approach to detoxifying involves eating foods that help with the elimination of your toxic build-up. Cleansing foods include raw vegetables, steamed vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, juices and filtered water. Foods that you should avoid include meat, milk and yeast products, bread, refined sugar and carbohydrate products which cause an increase in the production of mucous. These foods must be avoided during your cleansing and revitalising program. Also cut down on all types of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, replacing them with herbal teas.
I know you’ve heard it all before, but the single most important and effective detoxifier of all is water, which should be taken during every type of detox program, and continued beyond. Ideally, during your detox routine you should drink up to 10 glasses of water a day to help the body flush out those nasty toxins.
Massage and baths
Massage offers the most benefits in an aromatherapy detox routine due to the beneficial effects it has on the circulatory system. Choose any 3 of the essential oils from the chart and you will have a potent detox massage blend that will be sure to bring you positive results.
For a really powerful detoxifying treatment, mix 2 drops of Juniper, 1 drop of Fennel, 1 drop of Grapefruit and 1 drop of Cypress into 10mls of carrier oil. For the very best results this should be massaged on to the back, abdomen and legs.
Ideally, you should try to have at least 2 massage treatments every week, and to achieve the maximum results you should also have a bath treatment using a different combination of essential oils on the other days.
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