What is... Detoxification?

[Because of increased exposure to toxic substances, our bodies need extra help to eliminate them.]

In our current, fast-paced world of "conveniences," such as cell phones, e-mail, websites, microwaves, television, fast food, TV dinners and packaged foods, we often lose sight of how these things may be adversely affecting our health. For example, we are exposed daily to about 6,500 man-made chemicals and, on an annual basis, we consume around 4 pounds of pesticides a year.

Evidence shows that even taking a warm shower or lounging in a bathtub filled with chlorinated water could be considered a major health hazard these days! A person can absorb and inhale more chlorine in a 10-minute shower than he can by drinking eight glasses of the same chlorinated water. It's no wonder that more and more people are suffering from "diseases" such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, heart attacks, severe PMS and menopause, and a myriad of other health problems.

In 1928, one out of every nine people in the United States died of cancer. Today that number has increased to one out of every three. Dangerous toxins and heavy metals (mainly lead, cadmium and mercury) create excess free radicals in the body that accumulate and cannot be degraded or destroyed. Since they cannot be broken down, they concentrate in the liver, kidneys, brain, and skeleton -- and many remain stored in our deep fatty tissue for decades.

Unfortunately, these toxins can adversely affect the body and its normal physiological function. They cause abnormal levels of hormones, block many enzymatic actions, and also block the absorption of many vitamins and minerals. The secret to increased wellness -- and even losing fat and cellulite -- is a thorough detoxification program of the body's organs and deep fatty tissue.

How Does Detoxification Work?
The basic principles of a detoxification program are: (1) Cleansing, (2) Rebuilding and (3) Maintenance.

Cleansing of the body system is done internally through fasting, and externally through thorough skin cleansing. Enemas can also be used, but these are normally reserved for cases where intense cleansing is required, as is often the case when detoxification is used as a way to treat cancer. Rebuilding is the process of repairing damaged organs and systems and maintenance includes keeping up good eating and cleansing habits.

The human body has many natural defenses against environmental toxicity. These include the constant shedding of the skin and the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which slowly dispels environmental and intestinal toxins from the body. Our skin, through sweat, helps us excrete toxins such as DDT, heavy metals and lead. Our liver filters blood to help rid us of bacteria and prescription drugs by converting them to water-soluble toxins; the bile secretion and kidneys then help with further elimination. Our intestines work on mucosal detoxification to rid toxins from bowel bacteria and then our feces excrete the fat-soluble toxins excreted in the bile. Detoxification also involves dietary and lifestyle changes. We obviously need to reduce intake of toxins by eating organic foods, drinking purified water and avoiding all other chemicals when possible.

Toxins that enter the body from the intestinal tract are directly transported to the liver, which is the chief site of detoxifying enzymes in the body. The chemical processes of liver detoxification proceed continuously and spontaneously, supported by a nutritious diet. Liver detoxification is generally divided into two phases. Phase One requires oxygen. Toxins are burned, or oxidized, to make them more soluble in water. Although Phase One activation is necessary for detoxification, high levels of exposure to environmental toxins or drugs cause excess activity, which generates harmful levels of free radicals.

To rid itself of poisons which are produced by Phase One detoxification, the liver uses a Phase Two system, in which the oxidized chemicals are converted to water-soluble toxins and then excreted in bile or urine. Intravenous and/or transdermal Glutathione and bile-thinning herbs are often recommended to support this process. Foods that improve liver detoxification and decrease the risk of developing cancer include members of the cabbage family (crucifers), such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts, green onions and kale. Correct levels of zinc are also necessary. Too much zinc inhibits components of the Phase One system that activate carcinogens, while a deficiency of zinc increases tumor-promoting Phase One activity.

Benefits of Heat Therapy
While the body has evolved to a point of developing numerous mechanisms for the control and elimination of toxins, these mechanisms cannot maintain an adequate level of removal compared to the current modern-day onslaught. The level of toxic exposure and contamination has become much greater than the body's limited and finite methods of dealing with them. It has become essential to aid the body and, ultimately the cells, in the removal of these harmful and potentially deadly waste products.

Many detoxification approaches are available such as herbs, skin cleansing, colonics, chelation, fasting, lymph therapy and heat stress. While most of these methods are limited in their scope, "heat stress" and high-tech lymph therapies offer the greatest and most effective overall cleansing potential, especially to the very toxic or weak individual.

Proper heat therapy should be done in a special, low-heat (110-130degree) sauna that emits far infrared waves. Infrareds are the healing waves that are emitted from the sun. They are extremely healing and therapeutic and can penetrate up to 2 inches into the collagen, the muscles layers, and the deep fatty tissue where the heavy metals and harmful toxins are stored. During a 20 - 30 minute session, these far infrared waves cause the deep fatty tissue water molecules to vibrate, burst and release toxins up into the lymph system and out through the skin. This process is extremely effective in allowing the disbursement of deep-stored toxins and heavy metals without stresses to any of the body's organs. An added benefit is that they increase one's metabolism and can burn up to 900 calories during a session, which helps to reduce excess fat and cellulite.

The other interesting thing about far infrared sauna therapy compared to a hot dry heat sauna, is that lab results from perspiration from people who use a heat-only sauna (180 degrees), indicate that about 1% - 2% of the sweat contains toxins, while perspiration from those who use far infrared technology has a 20% toxic level. The other adverse effect of a dry-hot sauna is the potential risk of "cooking" one's internal proteins and elevating blood pressure beyond a safe level.

Benefits of Lymphatic Therapy
Our lymphatic system is a network of fluid directly under the skin. This network is responsible for cleaning the blood and interstitial fluid and is the backbone of our immune system. During its cleansing process, a less-than-efficient system remains stagnant and sticky protein clusters that bacteria and fungi feed on remain entrapped.

While manual manipulation of the lymphatic system has always proven to be beneficial, it has been discovered that using cold gas light photon therapy, such as the Light Beam Generator, to change the electromagnetic charge of these sticky proteins, offers tremendous advancements in boosting the flow and efficiency of the lymphatic system.

Europeans have long known the value of a healthy immune system, and most recently Pressotherapy represents the most exciting, new therapeutic avenue that has been introduced in the United States for improving the health of the immune function and cleansing the lymphatic system. Pressotherapy is a patented, high-tech, computerized compression type of treatment that helps push the fluid more efficiently than the body can do alone. It not only helps eliminate excess fat and toxins, but from a circulation standpoint, one 30-minute therapy is comparable to walking more than 16 miles.

Because these therapies specifically address the lymphatic system, they work well alone or along with all other detoxification processes.

Increased Wellness through Detoxification
There are many benefits of a deep and thorough detoxification program. Testimonials from people having experienced proper detoxification therapies include reports of a reduction of heavy metals and toxins, elimination of "diseases" such as high blood pressure, sugar problems, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, connective tissue disorders, and significant increases in energy, just to name of few.

When the digestive tract is cleansed of accumulated waste and fermenting bacteria, the liver and kidneys work more efficiently, and blood purification can take place more easily. Mental clarity is enhanced as the chemical and food additive overload is reduced. People's stomachs return to a normal size and excess weight goes away.

As a person who once suffered from severe toxicity and fibromyalgia, and who got well through detoxification, I believe that the route of all "disease," illness, hormonal imbalances and weight problems stems from our toxic environment and our toxic bodies. The key to recovery and good health lies in eliminating these deep, fatty tissue toxins through proper guidance and technology.

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By Beth Golden

Beth Golden, PhD, MS, CBT is co-owner of the Therapeutic Body Center, a natural reed-spa offering non-invasive and non-surgical therapies for detoxification, skin rejuvenation, cellulite and fat reduction. St. Petersburg. (727) 399-0800.

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