Internal Cleansing 101: Ayurvedic Detox Routine
Ayurveda recommends a program of internal cleansing at every change of seasons to clear the channels of the body of toxins that may have built up over the previous season. Detox is particularly recommended each spring, because in the spring, your body's natural cleansing and rejuvenating mechanisms kick into high gear in tune with all of nature.
A complete at-home ayurvedic detoxification routine involves three phases — preparation, cleansing and post-cleansing. Here we offer brief practical guidelines for each phase. For a comprehensive discussion on ayurvedic cleansing, read our newsletter — Ayurvedic Detoxification: How to Detoxify Safely.
Preparation — 15 days
I. Follow the Detox Diet
- Avoid foods that tend to create toxins in the body (ama), such as leftovers; packaged, canned, and frozen foods; foods grown with chemicals, pesticides and chemical fertilizers; and foods with chemical additives.
- Eat ama-reducing foods. Favor vegetarian foods that are light, warm, and cooked. Freshly-made flatbreads, freshly-made soups and dhals, organic vegetables cooked with spices, and whole grains are ideal.
- Include cooked prunes, figs, apples, pears, pineapple, papaya, and cooked leafy greens, Brussels sprouts and cabbage in your diet.
- Choose foods according to your body type or imbalances. This will help regulate your digestive fire. For more information on diets and foods for pacifying each of the three doshas, visit the recipes section.
- Drink plenty of hot water or detoxifying tea through the day to flush toxins out of the body through the urine.
II. Follow the Detox Routine
- You may need more sleep while detoxifying. It's also important to go to bed before 10 p.m. and get up before 6 a.m. to aid the body's natural purification processes.
- Exercise each day. Gentle exercise, such as yogasanas and walking, support detoxification by improving digestion and elimination. During the preparation for detox and the actual self-detox program, it's best to avoid strenuous exercise.
- Massage daily. Abhyanga loosens deeply-embedded impurities, allowing them to flow into the digestive tract, from where they can be easily eliminated through the bowel. The Youthful Skin Massage Oils for Men and Women are formulated to penetrate the surface skin to reach the deeper layers and tissues. Always follow your abhyanga with a warm (not hot) bath or shower.
III. Follow Ama-Reducing Eating Habits
All through the year, and especially while detoxifying, it's important to follow the ayurvedic eating guidelines for reducing ama:
- Do not fast or skip meals during any phase of the detoxification program.
- Eat at the same time every day so your agni can "fire up" for the meal.
- Eat your main meal at noon and lighter meals at breakfast and dinner.
- Eat while sitting down in a settled atmosphere; pay attention to the food when you eat (no TV, no phones, no reading).
- Engage in pleasant conversation with friends or family (no business meetings or emotional discussions).
- Eat only when the previous meal has been digested.
- Sit quietly for a minute at the beginning of the meal (saying grace before meals is one way to do this), and wait for a couple of minutes after eating before leaving the table. This gives your digestion a settled start.
- Eat to only ¾ of your capacity.
Cleansing — 45 days
- Follow the ama-reducing diet, daily routine and eating habits described for the preparation phase through the cleansing period.
- Take two to five tablets of Organic Digest Tone or two to four capsules of Herbal Cleanse before you go to bed each night to cleanse the bowel.
- Take two tablets of Elim-Tox morning and evening to cleanse the liver, the blood, the sweat glands and the elimination system. Take Elim-Tox-O instead if you have a Pitta imbalance.
- Take two tablets of Organic Genitrac morning and evening. This will purify the urinary tract and help flush out toxins through the urine.
(Note: If you take Amrit, cut your dosage in half when on the cleansing program. Also, it is best not to combine Elim-Tox with Bio-Immune or Radiant Skin, because these formulations have overlapping actions and benefits.)
- After the cleansing, you should feel much lighter, more blissful, and more energetic. You may even have shed some unwanted pounds. Give yourself time to gradually transition into your normal routine and eating habits. Gradually add heavier foods to your diet, and be sure to get enough rest for a few days after cleansing is over. Follow your normal ayurvedic routine and the recommended diet for your body type or imbalances.
- Take Rasayanas (ayurvedic formulas for overall health, vitality and longevity) such as Amrit and Vital Lady or Vital Man. Now that the channels of your body that deliver nutrients to the cells are clear, these Rasayanas will deeply nourish and rejuvenate your entire physiology.
These articles provide a great resource from The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians on the knowledge, practices, products, and applications of Maharishi Ayurveda.
The sole purpose of these newsletters is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area.