It makes good sense to regularly body cleanse not only on the outside but from inside as well. You may hear the words “cleanse” and “detox” flying around in health circles and think it’s another fad. Au contraire. Given the Western mode of living and toxins in our food, water, air, and personal care and household products, regular cleansing is necessary if we are to maintain good health.
Toxins that enter our bodies can be natural or synthetic. Pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi are prevalent and can cause problems if our immune systems aren’t working optimally. In addition, heavy metals, preservatives and other additives in food can accumulate in organs and fat, eventually causing harm. Helping your body to eliminate toxins of any kind isn’t difficult and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on supplements or expensive equipment.
23 Steps for A Full Body Cleanse
You’ll feel like brand new in no time!
1. Bone Broth
You may think that animal bones are good only as a base for your more complex soups and stews but they’re packed with nutrients! Any animal bones will do (the downside if you’re vegetarian or vegan). Bones contain minerals calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus; vitamins K, B12, and D (the last two are hard to get from plants); and amino acids to promote a plethora of human bodily processes.
Bone broth is also:
- Probiotic for digestive health, including leaky gut and irritable bowel
- Supports the immune system
- Hair, skin and nail health – bone broth contains collagen
- Joint support – gelatin is animal collagen and known to nourish connective tissue and bones. Glucosamine is an amino sugar found in tissues that keeps them hydrated and therefore elastic and mobile. Adequate amounts of this nutrient reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. (1)
- Insomnia and sleep quality – Glycine is an amino acid found in animal bones that improves the quality of sleep and makes it easier to fall asleep. In addition, glycine reduces the fatigue and other symptoms of not getting enough sleep. This is attributed to the increase in neuropeptides (neurotransmitter amino acid chains) that regulate sleep. (2)
You can find a recipe for bone broth here. Try it as a hot drink instead of coffee or tea at any time of day!
2. Dandelion Greens
This “weed” is a top-notch detoxifier. Dandelion greens are completely edible raw or cooked; they contain mucilage (a glycoprotein) and inulin (a prebiotic complex sugar and source of dietary fiber). Inulin isn’t digestible—which is a good thing, as probiotic bacteria facilitate its fermentation in the intestine. (3) Dandelion greens are a natural diuretic and anti-inflammatory that support and cleanse the liver and kidneys. (4) These organs bear a big chunk of the burden to clear the body of waste and are happy with whatever help they can get. Rich in vitamins and minerals, this oft-maligned plant provides health benefits that will make you think twice about pulling it out of your garden.
You can add these to your diet in a salad, smoothie, stir fry, or tea.
3. Dry Brushing
Lymph is moved around the body by way of muscle movement. Dry brushing the skin opens pores and stimulates lymph flow and the elimination of toxins through the skin (almost a third of the body’s toxins is released transdermally).
Added benefits to dry brushing include:
- exfoliates dead cells for fresher-looking skin
- can reduce the appearance of cellulite
- improves blood circulation
- energizes the entire body.
It’s important to use gentle, fluid movements when dry brushing. You can find instructions on using this detoxifying method here.
Take a hydrotherapy shower after dry brushing to a) wash off dead skin cells and b) further stimulate lymph flow and drainage: stand in the shower under hot water until you feel hot, then turn the water to as cold as you can stand it for 30 seconds or so. Repeat 2-4 times, ending with cold water. This is good not only for lymph but blood circulation as well.
Rebounding is another word for jumping on a trampoline. Short, mild bouncing exercises throughout the day help keep lymph flowing and ducts clear so they can more easily move waste out of the body. If you don’t have a trampoline, simply jump gently in place while wearing shoes with absorbent soles. Two minutes at a time 3-10 times a day does wonders for circulation.
Also spelled chi gung or chi kung, Qigong is an ancient Chinese dynamic meditation that employs gentle repeated movements and stretches to stimulate fluid and energy flow throughout the body. “Qi” means “life force” and “gong” means “skill”. The object of this practice is similar to mindful meditation but with intentional movement: clear the mind, stretch the spine, and deepen breath. (5) Qigong’s usefulness for cleansing the body is specific: increase lymph flow and oxygen intake. A meditative practice as well, qigong helps to relieve stress and anxiety and attain mental clarity.
“In a report generated by the Qigong Institute it was noted that regular practice of Qigong for detox purposes can help to cleanse your lymphatic system and help your body to metabolize oxygen more effectively…regular practice of personal Qigong regimen can help to alleviate stress and eliminate a number of dietary and environmental toxins from your body.
”… According to traditional Chinese medicine, all disease and pain are the direct result of blocked or stagnant Qi in your body. The regular practice of Qigong is intended to not only release the blockages that are in place, but keep it flowing smoothly at all times.
“The deep breathing exercises and physical activities involved in Qigong for detox increase the body’s demand for oxygen and this extra oxygen is going to bind with the free radicals that are responsible for tissue damage and a large part of the aging process. When the oxygen bonds with these unstable free radicals, it neutralizes them, preventing them from wreaking havoc on your body and your health.” (5)
Movements can be done sitting, standing, or walking. The video below provides full-length instruction for standing qigong.
We often get wrapped up in the daily routine and run ourselves ragged with responsibilities and very full schedules. It’s important for the mind and body to stop for a time each day and allow ourselves to relax, pushing all the pressures of the day to the perimeter to focus on ourselves.
Mindfulness meditation serves us by forcing us to sit still for a period of time to recalibrate. We observe ourselves objectively, without distraction or judgment. Studies on the physiological benefits are many:
Studies on the physiological benefits found that mindfulness:
- Reduces inflammation and promotes immune system function
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves memory
- Relieves stress
- Halts the progression of cognitive disorders (including Alzheimer’s disease)
- Decreases emotional reactivity
- Alleviates feelings of depression and anxiety (6)
- Reduces chronic pain
- Strengthens and repairs brain function
- Relieves insomnia and improves sleep quality (7)
- Aids in weight loss (8)
- Prevents and lessens the severity of colds and flu (9)
- Improves focus, clarity, and cognition (10)
- Relieves chronic pain, including rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases (11)
- Reduces irritable bowel syndrome symptoms and severity, improving quality of life and gastrointestinal-specific anxiety (12, 13)
Simple stretches can be done anywhere. They are important to maintain flexibility and range of motion. Regular stretching will help to keep you mobile and prevent muscle stress and pain. In addition, by flexing muscles, you improve circulation and lymph flow. Regardless of your fitness level, you can stretch different parts of your body every day—even while sitting.
Stretching after a workout is a must to avoid muscle soreness, fatigue, and constriction. It’s also a good way to cool down while releasing any muscles that were contracted during exercise. (14) There are a few best practices that are recommended for stretches—find them here.
Stretching muscles (as opposed to high-impact exercise) forces regular deep breathing while gently stimulating muscle movement, which in turn promotes lymph flow. Muscle and psychological stress and tension are released with muscle flexion. Nutrition and oxygen are transported throughout the body. It also feels good.
9. Turn Off the Electronics
We are constantly bombarded with visual and auditory stimuli from electronic devices and the electromagnetic radiation they emit. Unless you live in a remote area, these are impossible to avoid. Exposure to these has been shown to affect the central nervous system, impacting sleep, appetite, metabolism, and even DNA. What you watch on television or your computer affects you psychologically (and by extension, physiologically).
You can help detoxify your brain and body by:
- limiting the use of electronics as much as possible – cook on the stove or outdoor grill instead of using the microwave, turn off your cell phone and wireless router before going to bed, opt for manual tools instead of electric/digital, nix the Fitbit and other wearable technology.
- limiting television watching – besides the electronic factor, much of the news and popular programming are negative and violent.
- turning off the TV and smartphone at least an hour before going to sleep
- using wired headphones when talking on your cell phone
- spending more time outdoors
- increasing your activity level
- engaging in real, face-to-face social interaction.
Every cell needs water to survive and reproduce. Its obvious role in cleansing is flushing toxins and other waste through the digestive system as quickly as possible. The kidneys and liver can have trouble eliminating synthetic toxins because they are foreign and water helps push things through.
Adequate hydration is important for other systems in the body, too. The lymphatic system is integral to cell nourishment and waste elimination, as it transports these in molecules too large for the blood to carry. Lymph is liquid, therefore, drinking enough water will aid in waste transport and keep the juices flowing through ducts and nodes, cleansing as they go.
Make sure your drinking water is purified, preferably by reverse osmosis, to remove chemicals and metals normally found in regular tap or bottled water (including fluoride). To add to water’s detoxifying potency (and flavor), add two teaspoons of organic lemon juice to a cup of water (at room temperature) and drink first thing in the morning. To take it even further, add half a teaspoon of baking soda to cleanse the kidneys and liver.
Another addition to water that will aid in a whole body cleanse is apple cider vinegar. Alkalizing and probiotic, apple cider vinegar breaks up calcifying minerals to keep kidney and gallstones from forming.
11. Turn Off The News
Let’s face it: positive events rarely make it to CNN. While it’s important to keep apprised of what’s going on in your community and the world, hearing the constant bad news and seeing violence (even if fictitious) causes stress, anxiety, and depression. To clear your mind and uplift your soul, shut off your TV or radio and go outside. Better yet, spend time with a loved one instead of staying plugged in.
12. Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen is one of the key molecules to our survival. When your body (particularly your lungs) is full of toxins, it can be difficult for your body to get enough of it. This can lead to fatigue, cellular dysfunction, and much more.
Oxygen therapy involves breathing in air with a higher concentration of oxygen in a controlled setting. If you don’t have an oxygen clinic or spa near you, simply heading outside for 10-20 minutes can do wonders. Make sure to practice some breathing exercises to take it to the next level.
13. Steam Therapy
Steam is a great way to open your pores and sinuses to speed up the detoxification process. While steam from a hot shower, sauna, or humidifier is great on its own, you can boost its benefits by adding essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, or lavender. To do so, use a diffuser, shower disk, or simply add 5 drops of essential oil to a bowl of hot water, lean over the bowl and cover your head with a large towel.
14. Herbs For Cleansing
There are thousands of herbs that can improve your health dramatically. Whether they’re antibacterial, anti-inflammatory or detoxifying, there are plenty of herbs out there that can give a great body cleanse (15). Start with herbs like borotutu bark, milk thistle, turmeric, peppermint, and garlic. If you can, consult a naturopath before taking any of these herbs medicinally, since herbs can interact with medication or worsen preexisting conditions.
Scent is a powerful sense that has a huge impact of emotional and physical health. Aromatherapy is a proven way to improve mood, focus, immunity and much more. For the best benefits, use an essential oil diffuser or dilute your favorite oil in a 1:10 ratio with a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba) and apply to pulse points on the wrists, behind the ears, and on the neck. You can also pour yourself a nice warm bath and add a few drops your favorite blend of essential oils to the water.
16. Listen to Uplifting Music
There’s nothing like a great song to get you in a positive mood. Since detox is a full-body state, it’s important to clear out the negativity in your mind too. Start your day with upbeat music that makes you smile and take it with you on your commute to work (16).
17. Pet Therapy
It’s nearly impossible to be a bad mood when you have a pet. Pets have a special way to cheer you up and fill your life with joy. In fact, according to Psychology Today “ pets can fulfill one’s social needs, serving to improve owners’ happiness, well-being, and even their physical health.” (17) It’s even been proven that people with serious health problems fare better when they have pets around. If you’re thinking of getting a pet, go to your local shelter to find a loving forever friend.
18. Wake-Up And Don’t Eat
Eating first thing in the morning may kick-start your metabolism, but it isn’t necessarily the best habit.
If you limit your eating period to eight hours a day (a practice called intermittent fasting) forces your body to burn fat cells and release the toxins stored inside them. It also helps your body eliminate all the toxins it’s cleared from your cells overnight. Replace your first meal with warm water with lemon or a nice cup of herbal tea.
If your 8 hour eating period is from 9-5, for example, start your day with an easy-to-digest smoothie at 9 am, follow up with lunch at noon or 1 pm and dinner at 4:30 or 5.
19. Oil Pulling
While brushing your teeth and flossing may seem like a pretty extensive oral health routine, there are other ways to improve your oral hygiene. Oil pulling, for example, is great for pulling out toxins, debris, and other waste from the small crevasses in your gums and teeth. All you need to do is swish two tablespoons of sesame or coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes, making sure not to swallow it. Then, spit out the oil, thoroughly rinse out your mouth, and brush your teeth. For best results, do it in the morning on an empty stomach.
20. Foam Rolling
Foam rolling is an essential tool for every athlete with stiff and overused muscles. If can also be beneficial for people who work in offices and have underused muscles. Foam rollers help release lactic acid and toxins from your muscles as well as increasing lymph and blood circulation.
Foam rollers can be purchased at any sports good store. Many different sizes are available too to target specific muscle groups. If you have any questions, speak to your chiropractor or physiotherapist.
21. Foot Massage
Your feet contain plenty of blood vessel and nerve endings that absorb nutrients through your skin and expel toxins. Since your feet hold you up all day, they deserve a little tender love and care every once in awhile. To help them detox, soak your feet in Epsom salt and baking soda for 10-20 minutes, dry, and massage thoroughly before bed. It’ll also help you get a more restful sleep.
22. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salt is actually magnesium sulfate, a mineral compound that’s incredibly healing. Hailing from Epsom, England, Epsom salts are an excellent way to boost your magnesium levels, since the mineral penetrates the skin. Magnesium deficiency is incredibly common in America, so taking an Epsom salt bath is a great option to boost your levels.
For the perfect detox bath, combine 1 cup of Epsom salt, 1 cup of baking soda, a dash of apple cider vinegar, and 10 drops of essential oil. Soak in warm-to-hot water for 20-30 minutes.
23. Sunshine Therapy
Like magnesium, vitamin D is an often-overlooked nutrient. Vitamin D deficiency is prominent in most developed nations and has consequences for bone health, immunity, and much more. While it isn’t good to spend too much time in the sun, too little has negative consequences on your vitamin D levels. If you can, try to spend 15 minutes a day outside in the sun (without wearing sunscreen) to get all the vitamin D you need. Windows filter out UV rays, so you’ll have to get outside, even in winter.
Our bodies are magnificently resilient. Even if chronically ill, if nourished and exercised properly, they will heal themselves. We have to consciously facilitate the process to purge what’s hurting us and increase what helps us—through food, lifestyle, environment, and interpersonal relationships. Healthy mind, body, and spirit go together and it’s no accident.
Now you know all the little ways to get a body cleanse every day. With a little TLC, you can get rid of all the toxins that are wearing you down and keep your body in optimal shape.