When you’re on the verge of starting something new, or in the midst of significant change, a detox may be in order. We’re not talking about fasting or deprivation or the latest juice cleanse. There are other great and healthful ways to incite a fresh start for your mind, body, and spirit. Here are five of our favorite detoxification methods:
1. Salt Bath
When you’re about to start something new -- a new job, a big move, etc. -- we strongly recommend taking a salt bath to relax the muscles and relieve tension throughout your body. Salt baths have been used ritualistically for centuries, all over the world, for healing, detoxification, and sanitization. Treat yourself to a simple soak and feel your body reset!
For a salt bath: Take 2 cups of epsom salts or any aromatherapy bath salt you like. Draw a warm bath and set a relaxing intention for yourself. Soak in the bath and relax for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Smoke Cleansing
When you are engaging in a lot of internal detoxification, like by eating the right foods and staying mindful, something can still feel… off. At this point, it is good to take a step back and observe your surroundings because sometimes it is our environment that is toxic.
Smoke cleansing and smudging rituals have been used all over the world since ancient times. The burning of sage and palo santo come from Native American traditions of North and South America, respectively, specifically as methods to promote spiritual and mental cleansing.
To do a smoke cleanse in your home or other personal space, start by taking a piece of palo santo or a bundle of herbs, like sage, and light one end. Set an intention and let it burn for 5-10 seconds before blowing it out. Open the windows and doorways and outline the the frames with the smoke and allow it to fill the space. When you are satisfied with your cleansing, place the smoky herb in a fire safe container and pour a little water on it to dull the flame. Set a closing intention and express gratitude that the space is cleared.
3. Dry Brushing (Garshana)
The lymphatic system is your body’s natural filter but it does not have its own pump to circulate throughout the body. Garshana is a dry brushing technique from the Ayurvedic tradition that supports healthy lymphatic activity.
First, begin by drying yourself off after a shower or bath. Once you're all dry, grab a dry brush and start brushing your skin in slow circular motions. Avoid your chest, heart, and face, but brush the rest of your body. This process gently exfoliates the skin and supports healthy circulation and lymphatic system support.
When you have completed the gentle exfoliation of your body, towel off any remaining debris. You may want to finish by nourishing your body with botanical oils, since the skin may be a little tender post-dry brushing.
4. Swedish Bitters
The standard American diet does not include many bitter foods, which are essential for the health of the liver and gallbladder. Every day, our bodies detoxify harmful pollutants that enter our body through food, drink, and our environment. When those systems are sluggish, bitters are easy stimulants for detox support.
Swedish Bitters are an old remedy popular in Eastern European folk traditions that have been used since the early 15th century. They are a comprehensive combination of herbs that support healthy digestion, skin, and the immune system.
Swedish Bitters can be taken in multiple ways. Some of the popular methods are:
- 1 teaspoon mixed into a cup of water before or after a meal for daily maintenance
- 1/2 tablespoon (taken straight or diluted) before or after a meal for more digestive support
5. Neti Wash
Something that is easily forgotten, and not necessarily the most appealing when you think of detox, is care for your mucous membranes. But think about it: your mucous membranes manage inflammation and dryness and they are the second line of defense, after your skin, against harmful bacteria entering the body.
Using a neti pot with a gentle saline solution can help support sinus health. Don’t let the method--pouring liquid through your nose--deter you! Neti pots come with helpful instructions and are fairly simple in practice. But of course, with any detoxification practice it is important to be mindful of your breathing.
While our bodies naturally detox in various ways on a daily basis, these methods, along with mindfulness, healthy eating, good sleep, and plenty of water, can help stimulate these processes and promote mental and physical clarity.