FOOT PAD, SOAKS, ENEMAS OH MY!
Is this really necessary? Can we really make our insides squeaky clean by using all these fancy spa treatments or shoving coffee up our rectums. Yes, thats a thing!
Before diving deep into detoxification lets first define what a toxin is (which a lot of detox products do not define or specifically say what they are detoxing, #redflag).
A toxin is a chemical that can occur naturally or synthetically in the environment. Toxins are a type of poison that can harm our body both internally as well as externally. There are two types of toxins – endotoxins and exotoxins.
Endotoxins or internal toxins are produced in the body, when the food breaks down in the large intestine and through metabolic processes in the cells. These toxins share a similarity with free radicals.
Exotoxins can be either chemical or microbial. These toxins enter the body through contaminated food, water and air basically the environmental pollutions.
Look at all these chemicals found in our bodies!!! This is from the CDC which actually found 212 chemicals in blood and urine.
- Acrylamide –formed when foods are baked or fried at high temperatures, and as a byproduct of cigarette smoke.
- Aluminum in deodorants/antiperspirants— I love recommend Native Deodorant.
- Arsenic- found in many home-building products.
- Environmental phenols, including bisphenol A – found in plastics, food packaging and epoxy resins.
- Formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in nail polish.
- Oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate in chemical-based sunscreens.
- Triclosan -used as an antibacterial agent in personal care products such as toothpaste and hand soap.
- PEGs, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and siloxanes in makeup/cosmetics
- Perchlorate- used in airplane fuel, explosives and fireworks.
- Per fluorinated chemicals- used to create non-stick cookware.
- Polybrominated biphenyl ethers- used in fire retardants like mattresses.
- Phthalates, parabens, and retinoids in moisturizers
- Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s)- found in paints, air fresheners, cleaning products, cosmetics, upholstery fabrics, carpets, dry-cleaned clothing, wood preservatives, and paint strippers.
So before you go soak in that charcoal bath or drink a gallon of juiced kale lets take a look at our amazing body.
Thankfully we come equipped with an internal detoxification system because if we didn’t, we all would be dead.
The two main organs that are critically important in this process are the kidneys and the liver. It’s the kidney’s job to filter the blood and remove excess water and wastes from the body through urine. Your incredible liver helps by breaking down toxins in two different phases.
- phase 1- toxins are neutralized and broken into smaller fragments.
- phase 2 -they are bound to other molecules, creating a new non-toxic molecule that can be excreted.
The way your body can excrete all these is through urine, feces and the the skin via sweat. This is why people with kidney and liver failure have a shorter life expectancy.
In order for our natural detoxification to work properly we must have the proper nutrition- Hint, Hint
“Well, I don’t want to eat healthy so tell me more about these quick fix detox things.”
- Juice Cleanses– There are so many variations to these but most have commonalities of specific blends of herbal extracts and plant fibers. Some of these ingredients definitely have a lot of supportive literature to back them up but It wasn’t definitive, and the results may not be applicable to humans or your specific situation (or even your colon). Without digging up the ingredients of every single detox protocols out there, here’s my general take. Even if these detox cleansing work the effects aren’t permanent. Most will cause a laxative effect which could make you loose weight (due to release in constipation or water weight from diarrhea) and depending on how long you are juicing could result in electrolyte imbalance, fatigue and headaches. To supplement with massive amounts of fiber is completely unnecessary and could cause more harm then good. You can read other concerns for juice cleanses from Harvard Medical School here.
- Enemas, including coffee enemas- Anything administered rectally will have a quicker onset due to the amount of blood vessels present in the area and also does not need to be metabolized. (FYI, Putting alcohol up your rectum will kill you- Tip from your friendly ER nurse). Many proponents of home enemas claim that the main reason to perform enemas is to detoxify the intestinal tract, liver, and/or gallbladder. While they definitely have there uses in the medical scene any regular use or long term use can cause problems like increase risk of damaging the tissue in your rectum/colon and bowel perforation. Some other effects include diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, fainting, or vomiting, electrolyte imbalances, rapid heart rate (especially with the coffee). Doing a colon cleanse can also affect the balance of the microbiome in your gut. Most products claim that it rids the colon of harmful bacteria, but these also damage the good bacteria that you need. You need balance in your gut!!! As far as coffee enemas… are there more benefits taking it rectally then orally? A recent study compared the antioxidant effects of a cup of coffee versus a coffee enema. The researchers used three different measurements of antioxidant activity from blood samples: levels of glutathione S-transferase (GST), malondialdehyde (MDA) and trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC). For all three measurements, there was no difference between drinking a cup of coffee versus administration via enema, even when repeated over many days. Also, rectal burns are a thing!!! I don’t know about you but I would rather get all the antioxidant benefits of coffee by drinking it.
- Foot Detox Pads and soaks- These detoxing methods are touted as a quick and easy way to remove toxins, heavy metals and even fat from the body through the soles of the feet by osmosis. The reason why these are mainly on the feet are due to an ancient oriental knowledge that the human body obtains over 60 acupuncture points situated on the soles of the feet which represents reflexive zones of major organs in the body. Foot soaks work by having electrical currents pass through a set of plates that are immersed in the water inside the foot bath tub. The foot bath water contains a special sea salt, so it has the mineral concentration of water from the ocean. While your feet are in the water, positive and negative ions are emitted by the foot bath system. This re-energizes the body and the red blood cells. NOTE: there has not been any published scientific studies to prove that anything happens to the body while using detox foot pads or baths. My personal experience with these where not successful in my opinion. I did 10 days of 8hrs a night with these on my feet and had the same large amount of black sludge on all of them. I would have thought after 10 days there would have been some notable decrease. There was no change in my health or energy levels although the smell of these pads where very pleasant. Disclaimer: Im in very good health and have adequate energy levels most of the time anyway as I eat a very clean, healthy, whole food diet.
- A positive note about the foot baths is the relaxing benefits of them and they have been show to have a positive effect of Rheumatoid Arthritis. You can read this article by Mark Sisson on how to take a better bath for relaxation and stress relief.
“Ok so how do I detox naturally and not waste my money?”
BY SUPPORTING YOUR BODIES OWN NATURAL DETOX SYSTEM and DECREASING YOUR EXPOSURE TO TOXINS.
- Drink 0.5 oz/lb of body weight per day. You have to flush the toxins to get them out of your system.
- Mobilize the toxins. Move the body. 30 mins every other day in your pulse range. 180- your age. +/- 5.
- 75% of your plate should be organic veggies.
- Infra Red saunas– SWEAT. These gently flush out toxins. Make sure its an infrared sauna as its a more deeply penetrating heat and can have a person producing sweat at much lower temperatures.
- Fasting– resets your system. Do some internal spring cleaning by way of autophagy.
- Pay attention to households and environmental products that we are exposed to everyday. Look at the list again at the beginning of the blog. Take about 1hr a week and start looking at certain things you can change out in your house. Some of the common household products we have can cause respiratory irritation, headaches and auto-immune reactions. This is a great Detox Article by Ben Greenfield on home detoxing. Some quick things you can change today:
- Use stainless steel, glass, or aluminum for water bottles and food storage.
- Use parchment paper, beeswax, or recycled aluminum foil instead of plastic wrap.
- Avoid canned food products, as they are often lined with BPA or its relatives.
- Eat at home with fresh food ingredients.
- Keep plastic out of the dishwasher, freezer, and microwaves, because hot and cold temperatures can release more phthalates.
- Do not drink canned soda or seltzer, because aluminum cans are often lined with BPA.
- Skip the receipt, which often contains BPA
- Choose wood or cloth toys over plastic toys for kids
- If you eat a healthy Primal diet, detox is naturally taken care of via urination, defecation, sweating, and exhalation by all the healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- For avoiding pesticides and herbicides, organic, locally grown produce is the safest bet. The EWG publishes lists for the vegetables and fruits that have the highest pesticide levels, called the “Dirty Dozen,” and for those with the lowest levels, called the “Clean Fifteen” and the Dirty Dozen food additives.
- Great website for cosmetics.
- Avoiding fructose and binge drinking keeps your liver free of fatty deposits and running smoothly.
- Support your gut- Another great article by Mark Sisson for foods that support your gut bacteria.
We really don’t need any new fad product with no scientific basis when we’ve got lungs, kidneys, a liver, the colon, and our body’s tendency toward homeostasis, all of which work perfectly well if you take care of them. I believe that when you start cleaning up your diet and decreasing exposures you will start opening up pathways for true cellular detox. THEN if you are still having fatigue, brain fog, join pain, headaches and many other lingering symptoms then you might need a true cellular detox that is more involved then just juicing or colon cleansing. You can check out Dr Pompas true cellular detox information here.
If You Need a Place To Start– Sugar Detox would be a great place!! My “beginners Guide To A Sugar Free Life” will help you get off the sugar roller coaster and introduce whole healthy foods. You will get a list of foods to start incorporating into your life, ones to eliminate and an easy meal list to get you started.
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