Daily Detox Tip #4 – Sweat it Out!

The skin acts as a barrier – protecting us from the external environment and also preventing essential nutrients from leaking out! This extensive organ is also responsible for temperature control. By increasing blood circulation to the surface we are able to sweat and eliminate heat.

Sweating is also a way your body eliminates toxins and promoting it on a daily basis is a great detoxification strategy.

Multiple research studies show high levels of heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and mercury in sweat after sweat therapy. They also find fat soluble toxins, such as BPA, in the sweat as well.

Along with the dry skin brushing technique we explored in the previous post, sweat therapy is an effective way you can help reduce body burden. Although the kidneys and liver are doing most of the work when it comes to detoxification, sweating definitely lends a helping hand.

Here are a couple of ways you can sweat out toxins:

  1. Exercise! When it comes to detoxification, not only does exercise promote sweating, movement in general helps support a healthy lymphatic system.
  2. Far Infrared Sauna Therapy. I’m a big fan of FIR Saunas for the many health benefits they offer. The invisible rays in this type of sauna are able to penetrate the body and affect tissues on a cellular level. Increased circulation brings more oxygen to the kidneys and liver, improving detoxification pathways. The increase in body temperature promotes sweating and offers a gentle route of elimination.
  3. Hot Yoga (or any HOT activity). For all of the reasons above! Increased circulation and more sweating!
  4. Epsom Salt Baths. Adding epsom salts to your bathtub is a great detoxification option. Epsom salts are a magnesium-based salt, and the benefits are related to the absorption of this miracle mineral. Adding 1-2 cups to a hot bath and soaking for 20 minutes can reduce inflammation and promote muscle relaxation. The results include better bowel health and less pain.

Just like anything, it is possible to get too much of a good thing.

If you practice sweat therapy of any kind, please keep in mind:

  1. You need to stay hydrated! Not consuming enough water can actually slow down your detoxification pathways, compounding the problem! When planning sweat therapy, be sure to get your daily intake plus a little extra.
  2. Remember to rinse! Your skin is not only a way out but also a way in. After a sweat, it is always a good idea to rinse off in cool water. This washes off any toxins you’ve eliminated and closes the pores.
  3. Be mindful of your electrolytes. Although sweat is a route of elimination, the percentage of toxins is low compared to water, sodium and other trace minerals. If you are sweating a ton, make sure you replace your electrolytes – either with a low-sugar supplement or coconut water.

The benefits of sweat therapy are primarily related to increased circulation and lymphatic support.  Some toxins are also eliminated. Stay hydrated, mindful of your electrolytes, and go sweat!

 

Daily Detox Tip #2 – Breathe Deeply

You may be asking, what does breathing have to do with detoxification?

There are many benefits to deep breathing (think stress relief, relaxation, better focus, less anxiety, etc.). One more good reason to start a daily breathing practice is that it promotes detoxification!

Consider this: the human body can go months without food and days without water. We can only survive a few minutes without oxygen. It makes sense that it plays a role in so many processes, including detoxification.

When we inhale, we bring in oxygen. Oxygen is absorbed into the blood and helps the body absorb necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Oxygen is also necessary for the function of every single cell in the body – this includes cells in the liver, kidneys, bowel, skin, and lymphatic system!

Every time we exhale, we release gaseous waste, specifically carbon dioxide.

Deep, conscious breathing exercises help us do both (bring in oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide) more effectively.

Breathing practices also help calm the stress response and trigger the part of our nervous system that is responsible for promoting digestion. This means better bowel movements (aka more efficient waste removal!) So not only will you feel calmer but your digestive health will improve.

Like most automatic processes in the body, we often take breathing for granted. A breathing practice is really just about becoming aware of your breath with focused attention and purpose.

There are many wonderful breathing practices – and just a few minutes a day of focused breathing will benefit your entire being (mind, body, and spirit). With time, the practice will spill over into your day-to-day breathing without even thinking about it.

This makes breathing such a wonderful detox tip – with very little effort, you can support your detoxification organs all the time!

Ways to incorporate breathing techniques into your daily life:

  • Schedule a set time to practice each day. Start with one to two 5 minute periods each day. You may find that it’s easier to stick with your practice if you do it first thing in the morning, before other tasks and responsibilities get in the way.

 

  • Practice your techniques while you’re doing other things. Ever consider deep breathing while you’re doing housework or routine tasks. How about while throwing the ball to your dog, walking to your car, or in the elevator at work?

 

  • Incorporate cues throughout your daily routine as reminders. A smooth rock in your pocket, a sound on your phone, or walking through a doorway can all be personal triggers in your daily life that remind you to practice deep breathing regularly.

 

A deep cleansing breath can be done anywhere and anytime. Simply focus your attention on your breath, breathe in to a count of 4, hold for 4, and exhale to a count of 4. Super simple!

If you are new to breathing techniques, you may want to begin by breathing in the nose and out the mouth using the visual below. It is a great starting place to help keep your breath even and focused.

Happy detoxing 😉

 

Daily Detox Tip #1

Dilution is the solution to pollution.

I’ve always loved this statement. It relates perfectly to the human body and the process of detoxification.

Water is essential for life and when it comes to detoxification, hydration status plays an important role.

Remember how essential the kidneys are in the detoxification process? They filter our total blood volume 60 times every day! They are also responsible for controlling fluid and electrolyte balance in our bodies. When a person is dehydrated, the level of toxins in bodily fluids become more concentrated. The higher concentration can overwhelm the kidneys.

If the kidneys do not have enough fluid, they cannot properly perform these essential functions.

Proper hydration also contributes to healthy bowel movements. Dehydration is a major factor in constipation. When the bowels are slow and sluggish, toxins that your body wants to eliminate sit around longer and can be reabsorbed! This puts extra stress on the very important liver.

Another way we eliminate toxins is through sweat. When a person is dehydrated, they are less likely to sweat. Drinking enough water everyday helps promote healthy skin (appearance and function).

How much water does a person need?

Have you ever noticed how animals drink water? I’ve never seen one sip! Instead, they dive in head first, gulping as if it’s their last drink. We seem to be the only species that restrains when it comes to water intake. Interesting, no?

Aim for 1.5L-2L per day (or 8 cups). Certain situations require higher intake. These include:

  • before and after intense exercise
  • in hot weather
  • if you are overweight or trying to lose weight
  • if you consume caffeinated or alcoholic beverages (which have diuretic effects and cause dehydration); I recommend one extra cup of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage

A good indicator you are getting enough water is your urine appears as a faint, clear yellow. Keep in mind, certain medications and supplements can influence urine colour.

Measure out how much water you drink over 3-5 days. A few suggestions to get you in the habit of drinking more water:

  • Fill three or four 500ml water bottles in the morning so you can track how much you need to drink before the end of the day
  • Set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you every 30 minutes to drink water
  • Create a reward system – “I can have my cup of coffee after I have 2 cups of water”, for example.

In summary, water flushes toxins and waste from the body and transports nutrients to where they are needed. Aim for 1.5-2L everyday as part of your Daily Detox Strategies!

 

“Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine.” – Proverb

Detoxification vs Detox

We often think about detoxification after a period of overconsumption (think too much sugar, alcohol, or junk food) or when experiencing a new health related complaint (skin issues, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, etc.). Many of us only think of detoxification during certain times of the year (like “Spring Cleaning”).

But did you know detoxification is happening in your body ALL the time? That’s right, every minute of every day your body is working hard to eliminate potentially harmful toxins from your body.

Detoxification differs from the more popular term “detox”. A “detox” is a program typically followed for 7 or 10 day periods. They can be a great way to start fresh or get back on track but doing a detox is never a long-term solution. Many program promise quick fixes for a slew of complaints but the real solution comes from supporting our detoxification processes on a daily basis.

Luckily there are many things we can do on a regular basis to help support our natural ability to detoxify. We cover those tips over several articles called Daily Detox Tips.

When it comes to detoxification, there are a few important organ systems doing most of the work. Everyday we are exposed to a variety of toxins and chemicals that need to be broken down and filtered out of our bodies. When these systems become overwhelmed (either too many toxins or not enough support to help the systems work) our health suffers.

Liver

The liver is an amazing organ and is the main detoxifier of the body. It also has MANY other functions. The liver is necessary for bile production, vitamin and mineral storage, metabolism control, and immunity.

When it comes to detoxification, the liver is not only responsible for breakdown environmental toxins such as pesticides, alcohol, and medications, but also our own hormones and breakdown products.

When overwhelmed by toxins, it cannot function optimally. Because the liver has a significant role in so many different functions, the result of an overwhelmed liver can affect pretty much every aspect of health and contribute to hormonal complaints, skin concerns, immune conditions, sleep disturbances, cholesterol issues and digestive complaints.

(I could go on… but I bet you get the point…the liver does a lot!)

Kidneys

The kidneys are small but mighty and perform such important processes that most of us have two! Kidneys play an important role in regulating blood pressure, pH levels, and electrolyte balance in the body.

The kidneys main role, however, is to filter blood. In fact, about 1/4 of our total blood volume is filtered thru the kidneys every minute!! What?! Here’s another one for you: that works out to our entire blood volume being filtered 60 times every day!!

The process of detoxification involves making toxins water soluble. As this crazy amount of blood is moving thru the kidneys, these toxins can be filtered out and eliminated in the urine.

(Thank you, kidneys!)

 

Supportive Organs of Detoxification:

Intestines 

The intestines do not play a direct role in detoxification processes but are an important organ for getting rid of those toxins.

The main role of the intestines is absorption. When is comes to toxin exposure, it’s the liver that takes the brunt of it. For example, when someone overdoses on Tylenol, it’s not the stomach or intestines that are damaged, but the liver. Or with long-term alcohol abuse, it’s the liver that will fail.

The intestines do play a very supportive role and can help the liver out. When moving properly, fat soluble toxins and other unwanted material get eliminated thru the stool efficiently and effectively. Constipation on the other hand can lead to absorption and recirculation of these toxins, putting additional burden on our detoxification pathways.

(Key point: keep it moving!)

Skin

The skin can be considered as another supportive organ in detoxification. By promoting healthy skin and reducing the amount of chemicals we absorb thru our skin, we can reduce the burden on our liver and kidneys.

The skin can be one of the first places symptoms of an overwhelmed detoxification system will show up. Many people experience rashes, acne, and itching when the liver becomes overwhelmed.

(Main takeaway: take skin symptoms seriously!)

Lungs

We need oxygen for healthy cellular function (including detoxification processes), hence the importance of lung health and proper breathing techniques.

Lungs are also responsible for eliminating toxins in the form of gas.

(Tip: breath deeply!)

Lymphatic System

You gotta love the lymphatic system, it really does so much for us!

I often refer to the network of lymphathic vessels as the body’s sewer system. It basically picks up fluid that leaks out during oxygen exchange and filters it thru channels of tissue known as lymph nodes. These nodes are concentrated areas of immune cells. If the system detects a toxin or bacteria, the immune cells can target it and ideally eliminate the threat before an infection occurs.

The lymph system does not have a pump (unlike the circulatory system which relies on pressure generated by the heart) so it needs muscles to contract to move it. People often experience swelling, skin irritation, and fatigue when the lymph system is under-functioning.

(Seriously, love your lymph!)

 

It is obvious our detoxification systems work hard, every day. That’s a good thing because we are exposed to more toxins and harmful chemicals than ever before.

 

Check out the next several posts, Daily Detox Tips, for information on how to support these precious detoxification organs!

 

 

 

Winter Wellness Package

It can be easy to make big promises to ourselves but those promises often become hard to keep. It’s difficult to maintain the New Years’ momentum, particularly during the winter months.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a Winter Wellness Package to help hold you accountable and get the results you are looking for. Continuously I notice that commitment and consistency is necessary for results. We’ve spread out the package over a 6 week period to help encourage the kind of commitment and consistency that will lead to big changes.

This package includes:

– Two 45 minute consultations with our health coach, Michael Johnson

– weekly infrared sauna sessions for 4 weeks (1 hour each)

– weekly acupuncture sessions for 4 weeks (30 mins each)

Whether you’ve set an intention to reduce your stress level, drop a few pounds, have more energy, improve your sleep patterns, reduce pain, or simply take more time for self-care, and you know WHY you want to achieve these goals – this package is for you. Call or email to start your Winter Wellness journey.