By Mansi Agarwal April 2006Periodic detoxification of body and mind ensures good health and considerably delays aging.Symptoms of Excessive Toxicityo Resistance power on the declineo Proneness to allergieso Fatigue or drowsiness, especially after luncho Persistent headacheo Skin becomes dull and lifelesso Unexplained muscle and joint acheso Loss of appetiteo Digestive system becomes sluggisho Lack of concentrationo Sore throat and a coated tongueProlonged toxic accumulation may cause cancer, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, premature agingAdvantages of Detoxificationo Increased energy levelo Cheerfulnesso Deep sense of relaxationo Enhanced immunityo Delay in the aging processo Weight controlo Hydration of dry skin and body toneWhile we regularly spring clean our houses, we forget that, once in a while, our body needs cleansing too. Day in and day out, Sangeeta Verma, a 37-year-old call center employee, felt 'tuckered out' and drowsy. She tried medication and got painful tests done but was unable to pinpoint a cause. When a friend suggested that she might need to 'detoxify', she was amused and retorted, 'I am not an industrial dumpyard, to be full of toxins.'But the fact is, over-indulgence in junk food such as aerated drinks, alcohol, refined sugar and caffeine, the presence of environmental toxins, and the constant process of coping with stress, bombards our body with unfamiliar toxins. Just as a car carburettor gets choked with impurities, our body too needs periodic cleansing of the toxins that clog it. The removal of these toxins from our body, which generally undermine our wellness, is known as detoxification.Actually, the body itself has an inherent ability to detoxify itself. The most significant organ for this function is the liver. Other eliminative channels include the bowels, the digestive system, kidneys, skin, lungs and the lymphatic system. Over time, these organs become sluggish, as they do not know how to tackle the myriad and harmful toxins that keep accumulating. Besides, toxicity in our body is also caused by the unwanted negative thoughts that come in our minds, generating chemicals which disrupt natural processes.Regular Detoxification PracticesDetoxification involves a number of steps, which, if followed in the right manner, give gratifying results.FastingFasting is an age-old method to revive the organs in our body. Dr Sandeep Bhasin, an alternative therapy specialist, places emphasis on fasting. 'Fasting releases many stored chemicals and heavy metals from the tissues. Two to three days of fasting on lemon water and diluted citrus fruit juices, accelerates the entire detoxification process. Thereafter, a diet rich in fiber, including brown rice, organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables, should be followed,' he says.Colon CleansingColon is a significant part of the large intestine. Its detoxification can be carried out naturally, by using herbal supplements such as psyllium husk or seeds, flax seeds and triphala. The other choice is bentonite clay, which is one of the most effective natural intestinal detoxifying agents available to us, and has been used for hundreds of years by native tribes around the globe.Liver CleansingWhile colon cleansing stimulates the liver, it has to be purified individually as well. It has various enzymes, which dissemble and catabolise various drugs, chemicals and hormones and having flax seed, grape juice, cabbage juice, garlic, walnuts, sunflower seed oil and broccoli activates these enzymes. A simple formula suggested by one Dr Huda Clark over the internet, is known as the liver flush. It is a combination of epsom salts, olive oil, lemon juice and water, which cleanses the liver; research has shown that it is also helpful in dissolving early gall stones.Kidney CleansingCleansing the colon and the liver also distills the kidneys. But drinking adequate amounts of water and juices in our day-to-day life ensures proper functioning of the kidneys.ExerciseA daily exercise routine is vital for detoxification. It helps in overall detoxification and also improves the metabolism. Regular exercise is the key to maintaining a nontoxic body in our toxic environs.Body Scrubs and MassagesThese liven up the skin and improve the lymphatic circulation. Bathing in warm water and scrubbing the body with sponge is also very soothing and removes dead skin, while massaging the body with aromatic herbal oils calms the senses and improves circulation.MeditationThis is a process of focusing attention. Our mind governs our body, so it is very essential to de-stress the mind. There are innumerable meditation techniques to choose from.Alternative OptionsAlternative therapies have a lot of cleansing cures worked into their system. AyurvedaDr Ravinder K. Tuli, Senior Consultant, Department of Holistic Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, says, 'In ayurveda, to remove the toxins or ama from the body, one must follow panchkarma, a purifying therapy to enhance the metabolic process and eliminate wastes from the body.'He explains various aspects of panchkarma as:o Vamana: Artificial vomiting induced using emetics such as herbs and strong teas of licorice, salt or calamus.o Virechan: A strong purgative or laxative, like senna or rhubarb, given to eliminate waste products from the bowels.o Basti: Medicated enemas, used primarily to cleanse the colon.o Nasya: medicinal oils or herbal mixtures that are inhaled or used as drops (mixed with oils or ghee), to clear congestion in the sinuses.o Rakta mokshana or blood letting: The process is basically meant for purification of the blood and to treat blood-related disorders, skin diseases, high blood pressure and other diseases.Yoga'Kriyas are the purificatory techniques in yog sadhana,' says Acharya Priyatosh Thakur, a Delhi-based yoga master and founder of the Panchwati Yogashram. 'These kriyas purify the body. The toxins present deep inside our body are eliminated and the body becomes pure and free from diseases,' he explains.He elaborates on the six main kriyas as:o Dhauti: Meant for cleaning the abdomen, it involves swallowing and regurgitating a fine piece of muslin cloth.o Basti: Meant for purifying the bowels, this is an ancient version of enemas or colonic irrigation.o Nauli: Meant for strengthening abdominal muscules and better known as the abdominal massage, this cleansing technique involves the contraction of the rectal and abdominal muscles.o Trataka: Meant for strengthening eyesight, the eyes are made to focus on a small object or the flame of the lamp in a dark room, without blinking, until they water.o Neti: Meant for upper nasal tracts, water is poured into one nostril and allowed to flow out through the other.o Kapalbhati: Meant for lower respiratory parts, it involves forcefully breathing in and out recurrently.Another significant kriya, Acharya Thakur explains, is the Shankh-Prakshalan, which wholly cleanses the alimentary canal, while the widely practiced pranayama destroys toxins in the body and increases vitality.Bach Flower TherapyThis is essentially a spiritual therapy, which uses essential oils extracted from various flowers to heal elusive emotional and psychological troubles.Ozone TherapyOzone therapy is a New Age technique of detoxification. Ozone, an effective germicide and an immune booster, is given as ozone water, ozone baths, ozone autohaemotherapy and rectal enema of ozone. Ozone therapy enhances the energy levels and helps heal chronic infections. Patients who have undergone this therapy have been very gratified.Infrared SaunaInfrared rays are made to penetrate deeply into the skin, thereby helping to increase circulation and release heavy metal stored in the blood.Undergoing a detoxification program typically rejuvenates the body and mind, thus imparting a gratifying sense of well-being. Take Rajveer Kumar, a 53-year-old art critic, who underwent a week-long detoxification program to emerge feeling more energetic than he did in his 20s, so that he feels like playing outdoor sports with his four-year-old grandson all the time!Adds Dr Ravinder K. Tuli, 'A disarrayed lifestyle naturally leads to accumulation of toxins in our body. We need to adopt a lifestyle which is in conformity with the laws of nature, or live a yogic lifestyle. Wake up as the sun rises and sleep when the sun sets.'Our bodies, one can see, have become reservoirs of toxic waste due to our own negligence. While all the above treatments will definitely detoxify the body and bring serenity to the mind, common sense practices such as drinking adequate water, having a nutritious diet, regularly exercising, meditating, and in general living a salubrious lifetyle, will enhance the purity and quality of one's life in the long run.Contact : Dr Sandeep Bhasin: (0) 9818704499Dr Ravinder K. Tuli: (011) 26925858 Extn:1000Acharya Priyatosh Thakur: (0) 9213543640
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