Cleanliness is Next to Healthiness

Cleansing our bodies from the inside out is more than just a bright idea. Here’s a 7-day plan with herbs and juices to get you started.

| March/April 2005

Spring cleansing. Grandma talked about it. Infomercials praise it. “Ridding the body of toxins” sounds like a great idea. But what does that term really mean, and why is it so important to put our bodies through an occasional detox program?

Out with the Wastes

Practitioners of practically every holistic healing system place great emphasis on making sure the body eliminates all its metabolic wastes and preventing new, harmful substances from entering the body. These byproducts of our metabolic processes are highly acidic and can wreak multiple layers of havoc when they overload our systems.

At its most basic level, health maintenance is relatively simple: give the body what it needs, don’t let it have too much of what it doesn’t need, and it will run itself. When this simple equation gets out of whack, imbalances occur and the toxins we’re exposed to may not be eliminated quickly or efficiently enough. Just like the gerbil cage or the kitty litter box, our bodies need to be rid of debris every now and then so they’re not saturated with their own wastes. Cleaning out these unhealthy materials — gently, safely and naturally — can result in renewed strength and vitality. When the body is polluted with harmful materials, normal physiological mechanisms become impaired or dangerously disrupted, eventually resulting in chronic illness. The capacity of the body to absorb and distribute nutrients becomes limited and the body’s ability to heal itself is severely degraded.

Of course, prevention and clean living are the first choices, but what if the damage is done and your body is littered with noxious molecules? There’s a practical, uncomplicated answer — just detoxify.

Defining Detoxification

Detoxification is not a specific process of physiology, which can make it somewhat difficult to define. However, the indications of a need to detoxify are well known, the practical techniques are well understood, and we know when the process has been accomplished because the symptoms go away, people feel better, and clinical and laboratory signs of disease improve.

First, let’s clarify a couple of terms.

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