In last week’s blog we talked about how our environments and exposure to chemicals and toxins affect our ability to absorb, store and use what nutrients we do get from our food. In particular, we looked at hormone imbalances and Oestrogen Dominance in both men and women.
It’s impossible to avoid every environmental toxin in our modern world. We do however, have an inbuilt detoxification system to help us process this; our livers. The problem lies with the level of toxic load and nutrient deficiencies our livers are dealing with. Throughout history many traditional cultures have used specific therapies to assist with the detoxification of environmental toxins and chemicals. In this blog we are going to look at a few different therapies and how you can do them as part of your daily routine.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic therapy that is also sometimes called ‘kavala’ or ‘gundusha’. It is a dental practice where you “swoosh”’ a tablespoon of oil - usually coconut or sesame oil - around your mouth for 20 minutes on an empty stomach.
After you have held the oil in your mouth for the full time you spit the oil out into the rubbish, it may clog your drains if you dispose of it in the sink. Do not swallow it. The oil has “pulled” or removed toxins from your body. Swallowing it will undo your hard work.
Benefits include whiter teeth, stronger teeth and gums, improved breath, clearer sinuses and clinical evidence suggests it also helps with sleep.
You don’t need to be as aggressive with oil pulling as your would with mouthwash. You’re going to be holding it in your mouth for 20 minutes, vigorous swirling can hurt your jaw. If you’re new to oil pulling, 20 minutes initially may be too long. Simply start with as much time as you can manage and build to 20 minutes from there.
Dry Body Brushing
Dry Body Brushing is also an ancient Ayurvedic treatment. It is when you brush your body with a soft bristled brush with no oil or liquid. It helps improve circulation by draining your lymphatic systems. Your lymphatic system is a circulatory system which when functioning optimally helps to drain toxins and immune molecules out of your extracellular matrix.
So by dry body brushing what you are essentially doing is helping the body to detoxify toxins at a cellular level. It also moves immune molecules away from your cellular matrix, where they could be perpetuating an immune response.
One third of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin and dry skin brushing also helps to unclog pores to prevent toxins getting trapped in your body’s largest organ. If our skin doesn’t allow these toxins to pass through effectively, it doesn’t matter how optimally our liver is functioning when clearing any environmental toxins, liver loading substances or foods that cause an immune response in our body.
- Ensure you use bristle brush with natural fibres and a long handle so can reach all areas of your body.
- Get naked and begin brushing by starting at your feet and moving in long sweeping motions toward your heart. The key thing to remember is to always brush toward your heart.
- Brush several times in each area, overlapping as you go.
- Take care as you brush over more sensitive areas, like breasts, thighs and your stomach. Your skin will become less sensitive the more you dry brush.
- Once you've brushed your entire body, jump in the shower. To maximise circulatory function alternating between hot and cold water is a great - but brave - idea.
This is another Ayurvedic therapy. Tongue scraping is fantastic and the benefits are directly related to the health of your gut. Tongue scraping disrupts the biofilm and any bad bacteria lurking in your mouth. Examples of these unfriendly bacteria include Streptococci or Staphylococcus infections or fungal infections such as Candida Albicans.
This is important because in disrupting these bacteria it allows the good bacteria living in your mouth, gut and throat to come in and recolonise the area therefore improving the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your microbiome.
We use the Blis fresh breath kit for tongue scraping. This kit contains a tongue scraper alongside advanced probiotics to help promote a healthy mouth and gums. The probiotics help to repopulate your mouth with good bacteria in place of the bad bacteria the tongue scraping helps to remove.
Maintaining an optimal balance of good and bad bacteria in your mouth will help support the microbial health of your entire gastrointestinal system.
Epsom Salts Baths
This traditional therapy is also a great method for relaxation. This means it has positive side effects on your cortisol levels and stress response in addition to the minerals you receive from the epsom salts.
Epsom salts contain a large amount of magnesium and sulfur. Studies have found that regular epsom salts baths can raise blood levels of magnesium and this form of magnesium, (magnesium sulphate) given it’s large sulfuric content helps with phase two detoxification in your liver.
The magnesium in epsom salts is also great for localised muscular pain. If you suffer from arthritis, joint pain or any form of inflammation soaking in an epsom salts bath is a great idea.
To have an epsom salts bath you simply add epsom salts to a warm bath and soak for at least 15 minutes. Because epsom salts are detoxifying, it is best to start with a small amount of epsom salts, ½ a cup, and build up. Epsom salts baths can also be relieving for people with eczema.
If you have a heart condition it is best to speak to your doctor before starting with an epsom salts bath.
I personally am a huge fan of infrared saunas. I’ve had one for over 10 years. There is a staggering amount of research which shows them to be incredibly effective at removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from your body. They also help to remove pesticides and herbicides we consume from our food out of our bodies. This in turn helps to boost our immune system.
For every one degree we can raise our internal body temperature it increases the rate at which our enzymes work a thousand-fold. This supports the natural detoxification pathways we have in our body. One half an hour session in an infrared sauna has also been shown to burn 600 calories making it an easy, and relaxing, method for increasing your energy production and reversing metabolic conditions.
As you can see there are a raft of tools available to assist with necessary detoxification as a result of our modern environments. These traditional therapies, when paired with lifestyle strategies, nutrient-dense foods and ensuring you get the base level of nutrients you need every day, can help you live life with energy and abundant health.
Keep a look out for our next blog post about the healing powers of different herbal teas and how some items you currently have in your pantry can help with a range of health issues from sleep, bloating, indigestion, nausea and anxiety.
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