Preparation for Self-Detox (Fifteen Days)
I. Follow the Detox Diet
- Avoid ama-producing foods. In general, you'll want to avoid foods that produce ama, such as leftovers as well as dead foods such as packaged, canned and frozen foods. You'll also want to avoid foods that create garvisha, such as non-organic foods; foods grown with chemicals, pesticides and chemical fertilizers; and foods with chemical additives.
- Eat ama-reducing foods. Favor vegetarian foods that are lighter, warm, cooked and digestible. Avoid heavy dairy products such as cheese or yogurt (although lassi is good); foods that are fried or oily; raw foods of any kind; heavy desserts; and foods with refined sugar and honey, as these are harder to digest and create ama. Avoid breads made with yeast and dry breads such as crackers. Freshly-made flat breads, freshly-made soups and dhals, organic vegetables cooked with spices, and freshly-made grains are ideal.
Certain fruits, vegetables and spices are especially helpful in detoxifying, so you'll want to favor them during detoxification.
- Fruits: cooked prunes, figs, apples, pears, pineapple and papaya.
- Vegetables: cooked leafy greens, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.
- Grains: quinoa, barley, amaranth, rice and kanji (rice water).
- Spices: ginger, turmeric, coriander, fennel and fenugreek. These spices help open up the channels and support the flow of toxins from the skin, urinary tract, colon and liver.
II. Follow the Detox Routine
- Get enough rest. You may need more sleep while detoxifying. It's also important to go to bed early (before 10 p.m.) and get up early (before 6 a.m.), as both staying up late and sleeping late in the morning can flood the shrotas (microcirculatory channels) with toxins. Practice the Transcendental Meditation® program regularly.
- Exercise each day. Gentle exercise such as Yoga asanas and walking can support detoxification by improving digestion and elimination and moving toxins out of the body. Walking for twenty minutes or half an hour is ideal, because it allows you to breathe deeply, purify the respiratory system and supply the cells with cleansing prana. Walking in the early morning especially helps move toxins out of the body.
Yoga asanas are designed to purify and enliven different organs of the body, and they also enhance digestion and elimination, as does all exercise. Pranayama breathing exercises are also excellent for cleansing the respiratory system and other organs. During the preparation for detox and the actual self-detox program, it's best to avoid strenuous exercise.
- Massage daily. One of the most important purification procedures in Maharishi Ayurveda is warm oil massage (abhyanga), and you can do it every day on your own. Abhyanga loosens impurities from the shrotas and tissues, allowing them to flow into the digestive tract, where they can be easily eliminated through the bowel. While you're detoxifying, take a little extra time with your morning massage, and you'll magnify the results many times.
Use warm oil massage with herbs added, such as Youthful Skin Massage Oil for Men and for Women, as the herbs are chosen to penetrate the surface of the skin and reach the deeper layers and tissues, purifying and nourishing the shrotas of the skin. By gently massaging the whole body, you're also gently purifying other organs as well. Increasing circulation also helps purify the blood.
Always follow your abhyanga with a warm (not hot) bath. Purifying Therapeutic Bath Salts, a blend of natural salts and the essential oils of Niaoli, Sandalwood and Eucalytpus, can be added to your bath to draw out the toxins. If you don't have time for a bath, a shower can substitute.
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 part of the self-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, paying 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 (no grazing or untimely snacking — this really disrupts digestion. Eat only when you are hungry again.
- 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.
- Leave a little space in your stomach at the end of the meal to give your digestion room to function. Maharishi Ayurveda recommends that you regularly eat to only ¾ of your capacity. This last guideline is especially important when you're on a detoxification program. You don't want to overeat when your body is detoxifying.
SELF-DETOX PROGRAM (45 days)
- Throughout the Self-Detox Program of 45 days, continue to follow the ama-reducing diet, daily routine and eating habits mentioned in the section Preparing for Detox.
- Take two to five tablets of Organic Digest Tone before going to bed each night to cleanse the bowel, or two to four capsules of Herbal Cleanse.
- 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 any symptoms of amavisha or if you have a Pitta imbalance.
- Take two tablets of Organic Genitrac morning and evening. This will purify the urinary tract and assist the removal of toxins.
(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.)
1. After spending 15 days preparing for detox and 45 days actually doing the self-detox program, 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. Take time to gradually add heavier foods to your diet, and be sure to get enough rest for a few days after detox is over. Follow your normal ayurvedic routine and recommended diet for your body type.
2. Take Rasayanas such as Maharishi Amrit Kalash and Vital Lady or Vital Man. Now that your shrotas are clear, the Rasayanas are most effective in reaching the cells and deeply nourishing and rejuvenating your entire physiology.
There are special recommendations for cleansing the body's main organs of purification.
If you feel your impurities are located in either the bowel, urinary tract or the skin, you can follow these special recommendations while preparing to detox and during the actual self-detox program. You can also follow these recommendations whenever you feel toxins building up in that particular area.
1. Detoxifying the Bowel
Constipation or irregular bowel movements cause the malas (body waste such as fecal matter) to be reabsorbed by the body. This creates toxins in the rasa dhatu (nutritive fluid), the rakta dhatu (blood), and from there the other dhatus. Regular bowel movements provide the primary day-to-day detoxification channel.
If the stool is very dry or slow, try adding more ghee to the diet and drink Herbal Water for Constipation. Add spices to your food, using the Herbal Spice Mixture for Slow Bowel Movement. This will also support digestion and liver function. Eat foods with more soft fibers such as oatmeal, tender leafy greens, summer squashes, and cooked or soaked prunes and figs. Avoid a Vata-aggravating diet or drying diet, and avoid drying foods such as crackers, dried cereal, raw foods and any foods that are trying for the bowel. Take Herbal Cleanse, Digest Tone or psyllium seed husks (take one t. soaked in one cup of warm water before bed) to scrub out the bowel.
2. Detoxifying the Urine
The kidneys and urinary tract form an essential purification system in the body. If you do not have a diagnosed problem with the prostate, kidneys, or water retention, but even so you feel that you are retaining water and that the flow of urine is not quite normal, you can detoxify the urine and kidneys using Herbal Water to Detoxify the Urinary Tract. You can also add some white daikon radish to your vegetables, as this helps purify the urine and normalize its flow, so you're not retaining any toxins. It does this without irritating or adding pressure to the urinary tract.
3. Detoxifying the Skin
If you harbor toxins under the skin or in the fat or blood tissue, this will manifest as excessive oiliness, breakouts or extreme photosensitivity. For this situation, drink Herbal Water to Detoxify the Skin every day. Also use the Detoxifying Spice Mixture for the Skin on your vegetables and grains.
If you have all three problems, choose any one type of herbal water to start with: whichever problem you feel is most predominant should be addressed first. Also, taking Elim-Tox-O helps all three: it purifies the skin, the bowel and the urinary tract. Premium Amla Berry with lunch and dinner, Organic Genitrac and the Spice Mixture for Detoxifying the Skin are additional recommendations. Eating cooked leafy greens is an excellent dietary addition for all three types of detoxification.
The liver is an essential organ for screening toxins. It is the liver's job to scan and identify toxins in the nutritive fluid and store them so they don't enter the blood. The liver is responsible for the purity of the blood and for keeping ama from mixing with it. However, if the liver becomes overloaded with too many chemicals, preservatives or additives from foods or other toxins, it will no longer be able to screen the toxins. By purifying and strengthening the liver, this important function of protecting the blood from toxins can be restored.
If you feel that you have a sluggish liver, it's best to check with an ayurvedic expert. It's better to take the physician's advice for this important organ. All of the programs we've already mentioned, especially using the spice turmeric in food, will help strengthen and purify the liver. Elim-Tox-O and Elim-Tox also help protect and strengthen the liver — choose one formula that's right for you.
To prevent toxins from forming in the first place, remember that prevention is the key to health, so the best plan is to prevent toxic build-up. Follow the diet and daily routine for your imbalances, exercise every day to improve your digestion and elimination, do a daily abhyanga to flush out toxins through the skin, drink the herbal water suitable for your imbalances, and meditate every day to remove stress.
Daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique is highly beneficial in dissolving mental and emotional ama, and thus is a necessary part of any detox prevention program. Mental and emotional stress have a physiological counterpart: the hormones and biochemicals that flood your body whenever you feel anxious, fearful, or angry. Research on the Transcendental Meditation® technique shows that it reduces cortisol levels and other measures of anxiety in the body. Other research shows that it lowers blood pressure and reduces negative emotions such as fear, aggression, and anger. Even diseases caused by amavisha, such as heart disease, hypertension and stroke, are found to significantly improve with the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique, as reported in the American Heart Disease journals Stroke and Hypertension.
Finally, the ayurvedic seasonal routines and dietary guidelines are key parts of any prevention program. By following simple seasonal guidelines, you can help mitigate the toxins that accumulate due to seasonal changes.
It's amazing how Maharishi Ayurveda takes every aspect of detoxification into account. This is why it's considered to be the most comprehensive system of health care in the world. It's also the safest, because it doesn't just focus on one isolated aspect of detoxification, but gently supports all aspects of detoxification at once.
The key to detox, and to all of Maharishi Ayurveda, is balance. What creates imbalance in detoxification is extremes: too much heat, too much force, or too much attention to one organ (such as the bowel, the colon, or the liver) without coordinating all the body's detoxification organs and systems. There also needs to be careful attention to preparing the body for detoxification. Even ayurvedic treatments such as panchakarma can be dangerous if they are not administered properly. Maharishi Panchakarma follows the traditional preparation process of first regulating the agni and lubricating and loosening the toxins with oleation.
It's important to know that detoxification should always be soothing and nurturing. It should never be drying or aggravating to the doshas. If you are doing any detox program that makes you feel drained or exhausted, or results in symptoms of disease, that is not a safe or balanced detox program. With Maharishi Ayurveda, you gain the full value of detoxification without creating any new imbalances. And that is what makes it a perfect system of health care.
The sole purpose of these articles 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. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.