Essential Detoxification

Regular periodic detoxification is not just important, it is absolutely critical for our health.

Consider this: Hundreds of brand-new chemicals are manufactured every day. How many of them get out into the environment? ... Almost all of them.

According to recent government funded annual reviews of public health:
* 60,000 Americans die each year from air pollution;
* 53 million Americans drink contaminated water;
* 21,000 die from cancer causing pesticides.


- Pesticides are not the only toxic exposure in our foods: fertilizers, chemical sprays, artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives. These are all IN our food.

- Our food is bombarded with radiation 1 million times greater than that of a chest X-ray.

- Nearly 75% of our foods are genetically altered.

- Most animal meats come from animals raised on antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids in an effort to maximize their market value.

Are Organic Foods Safer?

Not by much.

Crops cross-pollinate. The ground waters mix. Water evaporates off the inorganic crops and rains over the organic crops, polluting them indirectly.

The water we drink and the air we breathe are just as polluted.

All these chemicals trigger imbalances in the body because they are not compatible with the body's chemistry.

Environmental toxins lower our immune defense, as our bodies must struggle more and more against high toxic levels.

The reason the toxins are so dangerous is because the body does not know how to break them down and get rid of them on its own.

The chemicals accumulate. They stockpile, getting stored in the soft tissues, the organs, and the bones. Our bodies become storehouses of heavy metals and other environmental pollutants.

Some people have such high levels of mercury, arsenic, and lead that they are actually radio-active.

What do you think happens to our immune system defense against such common diseases as cancer, asthma, and diabetes?

The immune function is not strong enough to resist.

The body systems have to deal with such intense toxic overloads that they begin to shut down.

How to Detoxify Safely

Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent toxins from building up in our bodies, and release existing toxicities.

Many detoxification methods are common in many cultures.

Native American sweat lodges and vision quests, Christian fasts, Russian and Finish saunas, and Turkish baths are all examples of such healthy rituals.

Personally, I have grown up going to 'Banya' every Saturday.

It's an old Russian tradition to bathe in a dry sauna (banya) at the end of the week. We use pine oils to scent the air and a bunch of soft birch-tree branches to whip the skin to get the toxins out.

It's a lot of fun, especially in the winter, as you can jump into a pile of snow before you get too cold.

Many other detoxification practices have recently received a lot of attention. Scroll down the page to see Common Detoxification Systems.

Simple Detox on Your Own

Healthy Habit #12-1: Drink plenty of fluids.

"Dilution is Solution to Pollution".

Drink Fluids for Detoxification

Drink water, teas, and vegetable juices.

This recommendation DOES NOT include coffee, milk (any kind), fruit juice, or soda drinks. All of these are too acidic: either dehydrating (coffee), toxic (soda), sugary (fruit juice), and overly processed (soy milk).

Roughly, drink eight 8oz glasses a day. Or half of your body weight in ounces. So if you are 128 lbs, half of that in ounces would be 64oz. That equals eight 8oz glasses.

Drink mostly before 7pm. That is when the Kidneys take their turn to rest according to the Chinese Organ Meridian Body Clock.

You don't want to overload the Kidneys. But on a more practical note, you don't want to get up at night to go to the bathroom.

Healthy Habit #12-2 Go to sleep at 10pm.

Between 10pm and 2am is the most healing and detoxifying time to sleep.

During this crucial time, our body does the most cell-repair and cell-rejuvenation, getting rid of toxins within the cells.

If we go to sleep at 1am or later, we miss out on this natural anti-aging habit.

Healthy Habit #12-3 Sweat. Regularly.

Sweat through exercise or by going to a sauna. Preferably both.

Perspiration is a natural way that our body detoxifies itself. And it's one of the most effective ways to detox.

In many cultures, sweating is a treatment of the first onset of cold/flu symptoms.

Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines make very good use of that. For a good, time-proven reason.

'Regularly' means twice a week at a minimum if you exercise. Better yet, sweat mildly every day.

Sauna, or steam room, is ideal once a week. Every Saturday according to the Russian tradition as I explain above.

Sweating is limited in terms of the range of toxins that can be released, but must not be avoided altogether, if you want to maintain optimal health.

Healthy Habit #12-4 Teach yourself
to breathe through the nose.
Not through the mouth.

The mouth is designed by nature for eating and talking.

The nose is designed for breathing: warming, filtering/detoxifying, and moistening the air to prepare it for the lungs.

If we breathe through the mouth, we miss out on this important filtering mechanism, and the pollutants get into the lungs.

This alone can cause a high level of toxicity in our bodies.

I have heard somewhere about a study that showed a connection between mouth-breathing and breast cancer in women.

If we breathe through the nose, many pollutants get stopped in the mucous membranes of the nasal passages and get carried to the digestive system where they are broken down and carried out of the body.

Healthy Habit #12-5 Cleanse
the nasal passages
with a nasal wash.

Neti Pot

Have you ever got water in your nose when swimming in the ocean?

Do you remember how the salt water cleans out your nose better than anything else?

Nasal wash, or Jala Neti, does just that. This is an old yogic practice that can easily be incorporated into your daily life.

For details, scroll down and click on the Yoga Shatkarmas.

Healthy Habit #12-6 Brush your teeth
and cleanse your tongue
first thing in the morning.

Remove the white coating (toxins) which accumulates overnight.

Use a tooth brush or a tongue cleanser.

Healthy Habit #12-7 Drink a shot of wheatgrass juice
or another green vegetable juice
(i.e. spinach, kale, parsley, etc.)
several times a week.

Wheatgrass Juice for Detoxification

Wheatgrass juice is a miracle food that is renowned for its detoxification properties mainly due to its high antioxidant power.

It also contains the full spectrum of the essential amino acids and many other nutrients.

Healthy Habit #12-8 Supply your body
with a full range of vitamins,
minerals, and antioxidants.

Get them from food if you can. That is hard to do, living in the modern world, far from fresh organic foods.

Go for:
- fresh vegetables and their juices (like wheatgrass);
- whole fruits and berries;
- sprouted grains and seeds; and
- seaweed.

Food Antioxidants

All of the above-listed foods contain the highest amounts of natural vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than any other food.

Why are they so detoxifying?

Certain chemicals, like heavy metals, stockpile in the body.

Vitamins and minerals bind, or attach, themselves to these chemicals and chelate them (take them out of) the body.

That is why the urine may look darker, or more yellow, with nutritional supplement use.

Some antioxidants and minerals are more detoxifying than others. It's best to take a full complex of them to get the best results as different vitamins support each other's functions.

For more information about antioxidants and for a detailed list of foods containing antioxidants, please visit the Antioxidants page.

Healthy Habit #12-9 Supplement your healthy diet
with high-quality nutritional supplements
that provide the full spectrum support
and help detoxify the body.

If you live on an organic farm, grow your own food, eat mostly plants full of antioxidants, drink pure spring or well water, and breathe clean mountain air, you DO NOT need nutritional supplements.

Otherwise, you'll feel significantly better if you supplement your healthy diet.

Find more information on Nutritional Supplements page.

Healthy Habit #12-10 Get a massage/bodywork
that improves circulation
such as Circulatory, Thai, Shiatsu,
or Lymphatic drainage massage.

Thai Massage for Circulation

What a wonderful way to detoxify your blood and relax the nervous system at the same time!

Best done periodically (once a week or twice a month) to get consistent results.

Circulatory massage, aka Swedish, is a form of bodywork characterized by smooth and flowing strokes that go along the circulatory system of the body, toward the heart.

Thai massage and Shiatsu improve circulation by releasing any blockages in the tissues and joints through rhythmic point pressure and movement.

These styles of bodywork stimulate the flow of the blood and squeeze the toxins from the tissues into the blood.

In addition, the lymphatic flow is stimulated. The lymph often holds a lot of toxins. With bodywork, the lymphatic vessels 'dump' out their toxins into the bloodstream as well.

From the bloodstream, the toxins are carried out through the skin, the breath, or the urine.

Healthy Habit #12-11 Do a mini-fast.

Regular 24-hour or 36-hour fasts are safe and effective detoxification strategies.

More detailed information and the how-to on Fasting for Detoxification.

Common Detoxification Systems

1. Colon Hydrotherapy
Also known as Colon Cleansing, or Intestinal Cleansing, this is a popular Western alternative approach to detoxifying the body through the cleansing of the intestinal tract.

2. Fasting
A common detoxification method among many spiritual, religious, and cultural traditions.

Fasting has gained huge popularity in the West in the last few decades.

For more information, please visit the Fasting page.

3. Pancha Karma
Ayurvedic detoxification system. It involves five different treatments aimed at fully detoxifying the body (and mind).

Get a detailed description of Ayurveda Pancha Karma.

4. Yoga Shatkarma
In the yoga tradition, purification practices are called Yoga Shatkarma.

These are six groups of detoxification methods.

Only a few of them have gotten popularity in the modern world.

Most of these ancient practices remain exotic and neglected by the vast majority of yoga practitioners.

Get a detailed description of the Yoga Shatkarmas.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are based upon the opinions, research, and experiences of Surya (Slava Kolpakov), unless otherwise noted. The information on this website is not intended to treat, prescribe, diagnose, or replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or yoga therapist and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.