Spring cleansing: The transformational power of cleansing and detoxification

Spring cleansing: The transformational power of cleansing and detoxification

Traditional healing systems from around the world have recognized that the accumulation of various toxins can cause a host of disorders

Traditional healing systems from around the world have recognized that the accumulation of various toxins can cause a host of disorders

by Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D.— 

Stroll down the aisles of any health food store and you’ll see them — a bounty of neatly packaged do-it-yourself detox products promising a cleaner colon, renewed energy and healthier you. It can be a bit mind-boggling to survey the sheer abundance of these products.

In the field of naturopathic medicine, there is an art to cleansing and detoxification and thus these “detox-in-a-box” kits can seem a bit sacrilegious — akin to a souvenir Grand Canyon air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror of a taxi cab. It might be cute, but hardly a fitting tribute to one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Done properly, cleansing can be a profoundly powerful event in the physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual life of a person. Traditional healing systems from around the world have recognized that the accumulation of various toxins can cause a host of disorders. It’s a medical fact that if our body’s natural detoxification processes were ever to completely shut down, we wouldn’t last for more than a few days.

What usually falls below the radar of conventional medicine, however, is the understanding that even slightly sub-optimal functioning of these detoxification mechanisms sets the stage for progressive degenerative diseases to take root and fester. Thus the founders of naturopathic medicine hold detoxification to be one of the highest levels of healing. And many spiritual traditions include detoxification practices as a prerequisite for their sacred rituals and rights of passage; physical cleansing brings a deeper clarity of mind and spirit, allowing one to perceive unfettered that which is true.

In the early 1900s, Dr. J.H. Tilden, a leading thinker in the nature-cure movement — forerunner to modern naturopathy — expounded on cleansing and detoxification in his landmark book Toxemia Explained. In it, he wrote that all dis-ease, whether physical, mental or emotional, results from the buildup of toxins in our system. These toxins can be caused by improper diet or digestion, or even by destructive thoughts. “Done correctly,” Tilden wrote, “detoxification is the sure and predictable path back to health and balance for the whole organism.”

So how do we detox correctly?

The best way is to have a guide who understands the art and science of cleansing and detoxification. The hallmark of a quality detox is that it includes cleansing on all levels — not just your colon. As the body and mind rid the organism of toxins, a long compromised physiological process begins to function anew; energy and vitality is restored; clarity of thought is renewed and the organism as a whole begins to function at a higher level of homeostasis.

Proper cleansing involves a whole-person method. Learn beforehand what results to expect and how to recognize and manage any unpleasant side effects. This is not an experience that comes in a box. However, movements in popular culture do usually contain at least a kernel of truth, and we can view the popularity of do-it-yourself detox kits as a sign that society is waking up to the need for safe, sane, sensible cleansing as a part of healing our bodies and our lives. Let’s just hope that more people will begin to see past the marketing ploys to explore the deeper healing power of cleansing and detoxification.

 

Dr. Steven D. Ehrlich is a naturopathic physician with The Center for True Harmony, Wellness & Medicine in Mesa, Ariz. 480-539-6646; info@trueharmonywellness.com or trueharmonywellness.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.

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