As I always say , detox isn't a seasonal event—it's a daily affair. A diet filled with satisfying and liver-loving foods like artichokes, avocados, olive oil, and dandelion root tea, daily intake of high-quality supplements, and regular lymph-moving exercise allows your body to flush toxins and recharge on a regular basis.
However, there are specific detoxes I suggest adding to the mix that are tailored to be in harmony with the season. I love incorporating these rituals for the changing calendar because it provides variety and reminds me to re-evaluate my goals and progress. Here are my top picks for eliminating toxins each season this 2017.
While many of us in the snow regions enjoy the beauty of a fresh blanket of sparkling snow, the body can begin to feel weary and long for warmth. This is why I love a dry heat sauna during this season. I recommend beginning with five minutes and working your way up to 20, two to three times per week.
Sweat is much more than a body temperature regulator. It helps to detoxify the body of heavy metals and nasty fat-storage toxins. Your skin is your largest external organ and helps to relieve the toxin overload on the liver and kidneys. Most people lose up to a quart of water through plain sweating. But, if you are in a sauna, you'll release that quart of water in just fifteen minutes. This is why sauna therapy is the perfect way to lesson your body's toxic load.
Sweating is not just a good detox; it's also good for your heart and your body. Blood flow is improved while your heart gets a very gentle workout. Besides cardiovascular benefits, sauna therapy can help musculoskeletal pain, arthritis, chronic fatigue, and depression.
Home saunas can be spendy, but many local gyms and even hotels have saunas available for use. You'll gain access with a gym membership and they may even offer deals for sauna use only.
After a busy day of deep cleaning, it's a great idea to relax and do a castor oil pack. I recommend these three days on and then three days off every week or every other week.
The castor oil pack is used to stimulate the liver and gallbladder as well as to draw toxins out of the body. The use of a castor oil pack can result in a normalizing of liver enzymes, a decrease in elevated cholesterol levels, and a greater sense of well-being.
Plus, they're simple to do! You will need: 100 percent pure, cold-pressed castor oil; wool (not cotton) flannel, and a heating pad.
To do the treatment, follow these easy steps:
- Fold the wool flannel into three or four layers and soak it with castor oil.
- Place the soaked flannel in a baking dish and heat it slowly in the oven until it's hot to your touch.
- Lie down, gently rub three tablespoons of castor oil on your abdomen, then place the soaked flannel across your abdomen.
- Cover the soaked flannel with plastic wrap or a plastic garbage bag.
- Finally, cover the soaked flannel and plastic with the heating pad for one hour, and keep it comfortably hot (but not too hot).
When you finish, wash the oil from your abdomen. You can keep the oil soaked flannel sealed in plastic wrap or place it in a plastic storage bag for further use, since castor oil does not become rancid as quickly as many other oils.
This sunny time of year, filled with lighter, leg-bearing clothing is ideal for dry brushing. A cellulite blaster, it's one of my tried-andtrue favorites. This practice stimulates your lymph flow, increases your circulation, and stimulates your skin's oil-producing glands to give you a confident summer glow.
How does it fight cellulite? Dry brushing can dramatically reduce its appearance because it stimulates the body to rebuild strong connective tissue, promoting toned skin that we love all year long—but especially during this season.
It's best done early in the day prior to your morning shower. Do not brush the sensitive skin on your face and avoid any areas that are bruised or irritated. Follow these steps and make sure that with each stroke you are brushing toward the heart. I recommend working this into your schedule every other day.
- 1) Use a medium-firm vegetable brush with natural bristles (found in most health food stores) that is as large as your hand and has a long enough handle to reach your back.
- 2) Start by opening the primary lymph ducts (just below your collarbone and on the right and left groin areas) with a gentle finger massage. Next, begin to brush the soles of your feet vigorously in a circular motion. The amount of pressure depends on the condition of your skin. Using short upward strokes (toward your heart), slowly move up over your feet and legs. Continue up over your abdomen and over your buttocks to your waist.
- 3) Move to the palms of your hands using circular motions, then use short strokes up your hands and arms. Continue brushing down your neck—out to your shoulders and then down your chest and your back.
- 4) This can be followed with a coconut oil massage before your shower.
Do note the importance of cleaning your brush with warm soapy water after each use and then laying it out to air dry.
I am a huge advocate of baths for both detox and relaxation. They can be delightful in the fall as our bodies adjust to the cooling temperatures. Enjoy soaking in an aromatherapy bath this time of year three times per week for about 20 minutes each time.
For the fall, I suggest:
- Cedarwood to fortify and strengthen the lungs and promote improved sleep.
- Eucalyptus to relieve sinus pressure caused by inflammation or infection and to clear histamines.
- Myrrh to reduce mucus in the intestinal tract and in the lungs.
As a bonus, I also suggest making oil-pulling part of your morning routine all year round. This time-honored Ayurvedic technique pulls toxins from the gums, supporting the health of your entire body and working wonders to remove bacteria and inflammation-causing plaque from the deep pockets of your gums. Plus, many swear by its ability to painlessly whiten teeth!
Here's what to do:
- 1) Put about two teaspoons of oil (such as sesame oil or coconut oil) in your mouth.
- 2) Work the oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes, sloshing it from side to side, sucking and pulling it through your teeth. You can spit it out intermittently but make sure you put more oil back in your mouth to continue the process.
- 3) Spit it all out (either in the sink or in a jar, if you have a septic tank) and rinse with a large glass of water to remove any oil residues.
Each season brings exciting new changes and fresh techniques to rid your body of hazardous toxins.
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
Visionary health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, has always been a trendsetter. With millions of followers nationwide, she has the uncanny ability to pinpoint major health concerns and provide solutions years ahead of anybody else.
Highly respected as the grande dame of alternative health and award-winning author of 30 books, she single-handedly launched the weight loss/detox revolution in her New York Times bestseller The Fat Flush Plan. A Connecticut College and Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Dr. Ann Louise was recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and was the recipient of the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence. She has been a popular columnist for First magazine since 2003.