Self-Care Guide: Detoxification
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Spring Cleaning Your Body
It happens every spring. You fling open the windows, shed your winter coat, and suddenly get the urge to clean your house. But do you ever think about "spring cleaning" the toxins from your body?
Detoxifying in spring is an important part of the ayurvedic seasonal routine, called ritucharya. Spring is the Kapha season, because the wet and cool weather reflects the moist, cool, heavy qualities of Kapha dosha that predominate during this time of the year (March-June).
Biologically, nature supports cleansing of the body in spring. In winter the digestive fire is high, and people eat more sweet and heavy food. Most of the time they aren’t able to assimilate these hard-to-digest foods, so ama (the sticky, toxic product of indigestion) starts accumulating.
When the warm weather melts the snow in spring, it has a similar effect on the body. In spring the ama melts and the volume of ama becomes so great that the shrotas, or microcirculatory channels of the body, become clogged.
Symptoms of Excess Toxins in the Body
If you don't assist these toxins in moving out of the body, you can become prone to flu, colds and cough, or allergies. Or you might feel unusually fatigued, sluggish or drowsy after lunch, or lose your appetite.
Sharp headaches, dizziness, mild tremors in the limbs, and unexplained muscle aches, especially in the calf, can also be symptoms. Your tongue may be coated, and your throat may be sore.
The skin can be less radiant, heavier, more oily. You may also find that you break out more often, are more prone to sunburn, and have dry patches on your skin.
Yet, spring is the best season for detoxification, because nature is already trying to clear out the toxins. It’s the time to help the body to efficiently detoxify the channels and the dhatus [body tissues].
Helping Your Body Detoxify
How do you help the body with its own spring cleaning? The Maharishi Ayurveda Detoxification System provides a wide range of recommendations and products for purifying the entire body. While most detox herbal products purify the colon and the digestive tract, the Detoxification System does that and so much more — cleansing the liver and blood, purifying the sweat glands and the organs of elimination, preventing buildup of toxins in the fat and muscle tissues, and paving the way for more energy, health and vitality.
A Kapha-pacifying diet and lifestyle is best. If you avoid eating heavy, cold, hard-to-digest foods, and avoid or reduce the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, your digestive system will be more efficient in burning away the accumulated ama.
Sweet juicy fruits can help cleanse the body, although they should be eaten before sunset, as they have a Kapha-increasing effect after the sun goes down. And you can add spices to your food — such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fennel — to help stimulate the digestion and detoxify the skin.
In spring you can sip hot water (if you have a Pitta imbalance, then drink warm water) to help melt the ama (digestive impurities) that have accumulated. Daily exercise, and avoiding day sleep, will also help.
For overall detoxification on a daily basis, the Elim-Tox and Elim-Tox-O nutritional supplements help improve elimination and clear away toxins from the colon and intestines. These products also cleanse the liver and the blood. Thus, Elim-Tox is recommended for one month after every change of season.
Whether you choose Elim-Tox or Elim-Tox-O depends on your constitution and imbalances. Elim-Tox is very powerful. But sometimes in the process of activating the detoxification process, it can stimulate the liver, especially if someone has Pitta dosha predominating, or is eating a strong Pitta diet with lots of hot, spicy, sour foods.
Recognizing the need for a strong detox product that doesn't activate the liver, Maharishi Ayurveda formulated Elim-Tox-O. Unlike any other detox product on the market, Elim-Tox-O has the unique ability to detoxify the body and pacify Pitta at the same time. Elim-Tox-O is especially designed for individuals who tend to have more Pitta imbalances due to excessive vinegar and fast foods in the diet, and also due to emotional stress.
Tracy McGrath was suffering from fatigue, overweight, swollen eyes, achy joints, and stiff knees. Her doctor recognized that her symptoms were caused by too many toxins, and prescribed Elim-Tox. When her skin broke out a little and she experienced some tenderness around the liver, her doctor switched her to Elim-Tox-O, which is less heating. "After three months on Elim-Tox-O, I'm losing two or three pounds a week without being on a diet," says Tracy. She no longer suffers from swollen eyes, achy joints, or stiff knees. And she has more energy than ever before.
Specific Detoxification Products
Other products help remove toxins from specific areas of the body. If constipation is a problem, Herbal Cleanse is a gentle but effective herbal formula for improving elimination and cleansing the colon. If someone has infrequent urination, or a urinary infection, Organic Genitrac helps purify and balance the urinary tract. So this spring, why not think about what you can do to help your body do its own housecleaning?
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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.