Along with the benefits of modern technology, we have inherited a global burden of toxicity. Our human organism was never designed to cope with such an expansive spectrum of chemical substances and heavy metals, nor the sheer volume of them. For the first time in our evolution, we are obligated to schedule regular cleansing of our environmental exposure.
Cleansing refers to processes within the body that facilitates the elimination of toxic substances, also referred to as detoxification. The scientific name for cellular cleansing is ‘autophagy’, it describes repairing processes, where our cells can recycle its parts and eliminate oxidised fragments. This spring cleaning process was a natural feature of our hunter-gatherer origins, due to regular periods of involuntary food scarcity.
You see, there are 2 opposing metabolic states in the body: anabolic (growth) and catabolic (cleanse). They are designed to complement each other, just like Yin and Yang. They achieve perfect homeostatic balance within our bodies, provided they are given sufficient opportunity to perform their roles. By outlining the requirements to activate cleansing, it will become evident that our bodies rarely get a chance to clean house.
1. Parasympathetic Activation
There are two sides of our autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic is referred to as the ‘flight or fight’ state. It engages our adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline and is responsible for physical activity and focus. Any form of stress, exercise, urgency, excitement or embarrassment will active it. On the other side, the parasympathetic is referred to as the ‘rest & digest’, which operates all the house-keeping functions, like; hormone regulation, immune balance, digestion, healing and … you guessed it – cleansing. Therefore, we must be in a relaxed state to permit the parasympathetic nervous system to be switched on, to facilitate any cleansing process.
2. Lymphatic Acid-Alkaline Balance
The lymphatic fluids of our bodies provide the internal environment of our immune system, referred to as the milieu of our biological terrain. There is a very fine line of pH, ranging between neutral (7) to slightly alkaline (8) to operate optimally. An acidic lymphatic system (pH lower than 7) will encourage microbes within it to pleomorphically develop into pathogenic forms, exposing our cells to more mycotoxins. Too alkaline is equally problematic, leading to muscle spasms, cramping and neurological issues.
3. Flowing Elimination Pathways
Once toxins are mobilised from their storage tissue, they need an unobstructed exit strategy. Most of the unpleasant symptoms associated with detoxing are derived from too many circulating toxins being liberated too quickly and not leaving the body fast enough. Pre-cleanse preparation that clears our primary elimination pathways of gut, kidney, lymph and skin will help avoid disruptive challenges. Constipation must be resolved before attempting any form of cleansing.
Even though both digestion and cleansing are a function of the parasympathetic nervous system. The body cannot ignore food once ingested. Digestion of food draws many resources to breakdown, assimilate, absorb and circulate nutrients. This is an anabolic process designed to grow body tissue and repair damaged cells. Overriding any attempt of the body to cleanse toxins. When we avoid food, we invite the body to activate cleansing signals. This happens during quality sleep. However, our toxic load exceeds what can be eliminated each night.
Benefits of Cleansing
The benefits of cleansing are extensive and contribute greatly to elevating our quality of health and prevention and/or reversing of chronic metabolic diseases. It achieves this great feat by decongesting our lymphatic system and extracting disruptive toxins and heavy metals that antagonise cellular function. Without regular cleansing, toxins continue to accumulate over many years that calcify our arteries, harden tissues, sustain constant inflammation and disrupt neural circuitry. Many of the ailments associated with aging are a direct effect of a growing toxic load.
On a personal level, I’ve discovered some curious benefits from extended fasting. It appears to stimulate a metabolic reset. Like a recalibration of metabolic efficiency, producing more energetic buoyancy with an elevated, light feeling. Cognition is enhanced, dissolving any residual fogginess. The other fascinating experience is an obvious refreshed relationship with food and appetite. Hunger is naturally suppressed once ketones produced from fat burning rise sufficiently after three days of fasting. I describe it as food freedom, eating becomes a choice NOT a need.
How to do a cleanse
The safest way to improve your ability to cleanse effectively without health risks is to approach fasting in a very gradual fashion. Fasting is like any new activity, it benefits from practice that develops confidence over time. Initially, there will be some metabolic resistance to withdrawing from carbohydrate dependency. Think of fasting like taking your digestive system to the gym. Your fasting muscle will improve gradually over many workouts. There is a range of hacks that together will help make cleansing a joy that you look forward to every season.
- Drinking at least two litres of water throughout the day with unsweetened electrolytes This will keep your cellular function afloat and flush the unwanted towards the exit door.
- If you don’t have the luxury of lapping it up at the resort and need to continue working like the rest of us. Then you will require supplementing with nutrients to resource those activities. This will also buffer the impact of stress, reducing the extent and frequency of the flight or fight state. For this reason, it is helpful to schedule cleanses away from more intensive events.
- Keeping physically active in gentle ways, such as walking, swimming, rebounding, yoga, qigong, tai chi and light functional exercises will maintain metabolism and help flush the lymphatic system. Saunas are also helpful in the same way.
- Monitor the pH of your urine daily, using litmus test strips. You can correct acidic results by supplementing with bicarb soda. For those with hypertension or high salt diets, use potassium bicarbonate instead.
- Lastly, take some kind of binder to absorb the toxins being eliminated through the bowel. Things like activated charcoal, bentonite clay, zeolite and herbal fibre blend are all very effective.
I hope this summary of the benefits of cleansing has inspired you to give it a try. For those of you are that are on medication or have acute allergies, please come into the clinic for an appraisal of your capacity for cleansing and what preparation measures may be warranted.
Like all elements of health, personalising your cleansing protocol will offer the best results. I am very passionate about this topic and love coaching my clients through a process that suits their individual needs.
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By Kimballe Robyzen
Kimballe Robyzen is an experienced Naturopath specialising in women's health, allergies, immune, gut and mental health. Kimballe frequently works with interstate and overseas clients via Skype, Zoom, phone and/or email. Kimballe’s clinical approach is well suited to supporting you by distance, offering access to personalised health care to those challenged by distance and/or time.