My Detox Routine: Part One (dry brushing, detox baths, homeopathic detox drops, juicing)
As a caveat to what lies ahead in this post: I am NOT a doctor, and the information presented here should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or naturopath before embarking on an intense detox regimen like the one presented below. Also, the products I recommend are products that I have used or am currently using with success, I am not being paid to recommend them (although, I wouldn't object!).
There seems to be a lot of curiosity surrounding the topic of detoxing, and whether it's something you object to or agree with, it's become a trend that doesn't seem to be going away. Prior to 2008, the concept of a 'juice cleanse' was all but nonexistent among the general public. Nowadays, there are juice bars, organic food, and complicated detox diets a' plenty. What's changed in the past few years?
Toxins, toxins everywhere. They're in our air, water, food, cleaning supplies, beauty products, and even our laundry detergent. The human body has an incredible, innate ability to heal itself, but it simply doesn't recognize or have the capacity to deal with the bombardment of toxins that it's faced with everyday. When the body doesn't recognize a particular substance, or if the liver is already stressed, the body's response is to store the substance away in our cells, lungs, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and deep tissue. Unfortunately, as toxins accumulate, they have the ability to lead to illnesses, such as autoimmune disease and cancer. For more information regarding the link between certain toxic substances and cancer, check out this article.
Our bodies simply were not built to detoxify themselves at the rate at which we are now exposed to toxins, and this is why it's so important to lead a healthy lifestyle. For some individuals whose detox pathways may be inhibited by genetic factors (such as the MTHFR mutation), this may involve detoxing regularly.
Detoxing is particularly important in the life of a Lyme patient because as the Lyme bacteria live and reproduce in our bodies, they also emit neurotoxins. These neurotoxins are the main culprit in Lyme symptoms and cause quite a bit of inflammation and acidity on the cellular level. This cellular inflammation is what causes most of our symptoms and pain. Furthermore, the Lyme toxins combined with the everyday toxins that we're exposed to in the modern world can easily combine to create a painful and sickly body.
For the past four months, I've been waist deep in detox sludge, employing a multitude of different therapies to release the stored toxins in my body. Some of the therapies that I've implemented include: juicing, detox baths, dry brushing, homeopathic detox drops, coffee enemas, biomat sessions, sauna sessions, oil pulling, castor oil packs, and drinking lots of herbal teas.
I do most all of these things every single day. It's a full-time job that takes all of my will power and all of my energy on most days. The rest of this post is dedicated to expanding on the use of juicing, detox baths, dry brushing, and homeopathic detox drops. In future posts I will follow up to discuss the other therapies mentioned.
Dry brushing is used primarily to stimulate the lymphatics. The lymph system is part of the circulatory system and is known as the body's 'drainage system'. Made up of an extensive network of lymph nodes and vessels, the lymph system serves to clean cells and clear debris from all over the body. Keeping the lymph system in good working order is an important part of health and should be considered an essential component of any intensive detox protocol. For a comprehensive overview of the lymph system, check out this article.
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It is important to know that the lymphatics do not flow on their own, instead they need to be stimulated in some way to produce motion. Dry brushing, as well as other therapies such as sauna, detox baths, deep breathing, and exercise all help to stimulate movement of the lymphatics. A few added benefits of dry brushing are: increased circulation, dead skin removal, skin tightening, cellulite reduction, and super soft skin (even your baby will be jealous). Add a few drops of Well-Scent's essential oil, Release, to your skin before dry brushing, and up your game considerably. The first time I tried this method, I woke up with a killer headache the next morning (that's how many toxins a few drops of this oil mobilized!), so be careful because it packs a punch.
For best results, do your dry brushing twice per day or before taking a shower or bath. With a soft bristle brush, start at your feet, and in short strokes brush upwards towards your heart. Work your way up your body until you have brushed your legs, tummy, arms, and chest. Just remember that you want to brush in the direction that your lymphs flow (they're a one way street), and you always want to brush towards your heart. Brushing can be done from 2-20 minutes, I usually spend about 10 minutes brushing while I run my bath.
Detox baths are one of the best ways to clear toxins quickly through the skin (the second largest organ, after the intestines). Another great aspect of these baths is their ability to reduce muscle aches and pains. In addition, as your body temperature rises in the hot bath, your body is able to kill off unwanted bacteria and viruses (for Lyme patients, this means that Lyme and co-infections are being killed in the process, which is great news!).
A number of different products can be used to create a healing detox bath. Some of my favorites are: Epsom salt, sea salt, bentonite clay, mustard seed bath, hydrogen peroxide, essential oils, apple cider vinegar, and baking soda. The key to a super detoxifying bath is using water as hot as you can stand and several cups of product (I use around 6 cups in each bath).
Warning: If you're very ill, you will most likely feel drained after taking a bath. I cannot stress this enough- GO SLOW. If you aren't used to taking baths like these, make sure to start at a cooler water temperature, don't use as much product, and don't stay in for as long. When I first started these baths, I used 2 cups Epsom salt, medium hot water, and soaked for about 20 minutes.
These magic drops help to naturally stimulate detoxification in the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, and lymphatic system. Both the Pekana Trio and Heel Detox Kit are great options. If you're super sensitive or super sick, I recommend starting with the Pekana Trio, as it's a bit more gentle on the system.
The normal dose for a healthy individual is 30 drops per day. When I started on these drops, I was so toxic that I had a hard time taking one drop per day. Therefore, I started at one drop per day and then gradually increased my dose as I could tolerate. I would advise starting slowly and gradually increasing once you know your comfort level.
Most people are probably aware of the benefits of juicing, but for good measure, I'll list a few anyway. Juice delivers highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes rapidly into the bloodstream, where the nutrients are quickly absorbed. It also allows you to consume a higher quantity and a wider variety of vegetables each day, as opposed to eating them whole. When juiced, many vegetables and some fruits such as leafy greens, beets, and green apples have the wonderful effect of cleansing the liver, kidneys, and blood, which aids tremendously in detoxification.
It's best to consume juice quickly, or at least on the same day that it was juiced, because that's when it's nutrient value is the highest. However, if you store your juice in an air tight container, it can still be consumed for a few days after it was made. Juice fasts have become incredibly popular these days, but I believe that incorporating juice into your daily life is more beneficial than fasting a few times a year, especially if you're sick and require more protein, like I do.
If you suffer from a chronic illness, detoxing to this extent may seem like a daunting task, and believe me, I completely understand! The detox process can be an intense one and can leave you with some undesirable side effects, such as: dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headache, skin rashes, and intestinal disruptions. It is for this reason that I strongly suggest being under a trained practitioner's care while embarking on such a protocol. If you are in need of someone to help you oversee the detox process, please email me, and I can give you the name of my doctor as well as a few others who offer guidance via phone consultations.
Remember that the journey to attaining wellness is not a sprint, it's a marathon. Go slow, and set reasonable goals. Be gentle with yourself. Pray often, love much, and keep your head up because wellness is coming for you.
Any questions? Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kayla Denny is a Lyme survivor and advocate who devotes her current life to healing and leading others toward it. In her blog, JoyArises.com, she enjoys sharing her experiences, connecting with others, and advocating for Lyme patients. In addition to her blog, Kayla writes for Well-Scent, a boutique apothecary located in Austin, Texas. You can contact Kayla on her blog or at JoyArises@gmail.com.