Updated: Sep 7, 2022
Detoxification is not necessarily the same thing as fasting, which is abstaining from food for a period of time, however fasting can be cleansing. Fasting is not for everyone. Your ability to fast depends on age, activity level and lifestyle and your disease-state; I recommend discussing fasting with a naturopathic doctor before starting. Fasting can be therapeutic but can be harmful if not done intelligently. Detoxification, on the other hand, does not involve abstaining from food or liquids, but instead, choosing differently what you put in and around you.
Detoxification from the inside-out is essential for health and in fact, we have organs that accomplish this daily – sweating through our skin, the work of our liver, breathing out carbon dioxide and of course, urine and stool. The idea of supporting those systems for a period of time each year or more is helpful in reducing overall toxic burden and helps those pathways from becoming overloaded. However, we also want to think about detoxification from the outside-in. What chemicals/toxins are we regularly exposing ourselves to that we can work to reduce or eliminate? I like the Detox Me app from the Silent Spring Institute to help me accomplish this. It is informative and educational, allows you to set goals to reduce your exposures and toxic burden and will direct you to resources to help (e.g. connecting you with green dry cleaners in your area). It is surprising how toxic and harmful our world has become but it is also inspiring to know that our choices can make a difference.
Toxic exposure and burden affect us all and we seem to manifest those changes in unique ways. Some of us have skin concerns, for others it could be in their digestive system, or headaches, lowered energy and lethargy, pain, sleep disturbances or emotional burnout.
The list here could be endless. One-size-fits-all detoxification is less effective at supporting those individual symptoms as well as addressing what pathways need support.
The Bodhi Clinic holds a 3-week guided naturopathic detoxification workshop twice each year, hosted by either myself, Dr. Benczkowski, or Dr. Porter. The workshop is both educational and therapeutic. I encourage everyone to attend one of these, whether you are doing this for the first or tenth time. One of the significant benefits of doing a guided naturopathic detoxification is that you learn about how your toxic load is affecting you individually and how you can work to reduce it year-round. Patients also report: more energy, better sleep, resetting your metabolism and taste buds, and decreased pain and mental fog. When done appropriately, the benefits extend beyond the physical to include a mental-emotional opening. This can be a very powerful catalyst for change.