Enhancing Your Detox with Fluids and Improved Lymphatic Flow
If you’re on a detox plan, you can help your body’s detoxification by increasing elimination and improving lymphatic flow. Proper fiber and fluid intake will aid your body in eliminating waste from your GI tract and kidneys. Also remember that lymphatics carry waste products back from the extremities, so making your lymph nodes are functioning well supports your detox. Below are a few tips for making a detox more effective.
Hydrotherapy is a broad term that can include a few things. In Europe, the term describes a system of alternating hot and cold showers with saunas and whirlpool treatments to help your body get back in balance. While sweating is beneficial, it doesn’t actually change the detoxification pathways per se.
Colonic hydrotherapy became popular in America thanks to John Harvey Kellogg, MD (the founder of the cereal company). A colonic is an installation of water into the anus, with a goal of cleansing the entire colon. The slow, constant insertion of water triggers peristalsis, which forces the feces out and into a clear bag.
As laxatives became available, colonics went out of favor, but they have resurged in recent years. Proponents of colonics feel that the colon doesn’t always work efficiently and that stool gets left behind on the walls and in folds of the colon, which potentially leads to reabsorption of toxins. (A colonic differs from an enema, in which fluid is instilled once, left for a time in the descending colon only, then expelled into a toilet.)
There’s some controversy about whether colonic therapy is beneficial. The most important thing to remember with a colonic is to follow it by eating loads of probiotics to replace the bacteria just flushed out!
Part of traditional ayurvedic practices (a Hindu system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine in the West) dry skin brushing is exactly what it sounds like: Take a soft, natural-bristle brush, like what you’d use in the shower (or even a clean, old-fashioned brush from a shoe shine kit), and brush the skin all over. You should do this prior to taking a shower (early in the morning is best). The idea here is to stimulate the lymphatic system that lies just under the skin so it’s able to move toxins more efficiently. Starting at the bottom of your feet, use long, sweeping motions to work up toward your heart. Spend a bit more time in areas over lymph glands, like in the groin. Move upward across the torso toward your heart and from the fingertips up the arms toward your torso. Spend extra time in the axilla (armpit), and circle around each breast because a lot of lymphatics are here. Don’t forget your back (a long-handled brush may work better). Also spend time on your neck, but use less pressure here.
When you’re done, rinse off in the shower. If you do this daily for a month, you’ll be amazed at the change in your skin. Your dead skin is sloughed off more effectively, your circulation is improved, and your lymph nodes are working more efficiently.
Skin brushing comes with few risks, although you want to avoid open wounds or other lesions.
Regular massage by a professional shouldn’t be looked on as a luxury, but rather a vital part of health, as body work in any form is. Massage is a good idea any time, but especially during a detox. Massage improves lymphatic flow, improves circulation, and eases stress. The simple act of human touch is also important on an energetic level.
If you’re planning to do a detox, consider booking a massage either during or right after the process. The massage helps your body move toxins through your lymph system and is thought to aid in elimination. It has a positive effect on cortisol, the main stress hormone, which also boosts your immunity.
After you finish your detox plan, get a massage at least once a month to continue supporting your lymphatic system and to manage your stress level.