Detoxification is a word often heard in any wellness center, holistic healing facility, health food store, or spa.  Sometimes referred to as “internal cleansing” detoxification is the process of removing built up toxins from the body. It can be achieved in many ways: elimination diets, herbs and other supplements, liquid fasting (like bone broth or juice cleanses), salt baths, fancy machines that pull the toxins out of your body through your feet, colonics, body wraps, you name it.

Detoxification is important to help all of the organs and systems of the body function properly. Due to stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, and poor lifestyle choices like smoking and excessive alcohol use, the body accumulates more toxins than it can eliminate on its own. These toxins, in addition to endotoxins produced by the body’s own functions, can build up in the body and cause many serious problems, such as HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal) axis dysfunction, hormone imbalance, gut dysbiosis–any of which can lead to skin and health problems. It is widely believed that most skin disorders like acne, rosacea, dermatitis (eczema), and psoriasis are manifestations of a toxic body.

Why does the body need help detoxifying itself?

The human body was designed very intelligently. Every cell, tissue, organ, and system innately knows what it needs to do in order to function optimally. In theory, people shouldn’t need intervention from techniques and products and spa treatments to work as it should. In an ideal situation where the water we drink and the air we breathe is clean; the food we eat is whole, local, seasonal, unprocessed, and free of pesticides, steroids, hormones, antibiotics, fillers, preservatives, and other artificial additives; and we get adequate physical activity on a daily basis; then yes, the body will carry out detoxification on its own.

Does this ideal situation exist anywhere on our planet today? Maybe if you live in a tribe in some remote rainforest village and you live completely off the land far away from civilization and industry. The rest of us, however, could use a little detox jump start.

Is detoxification necessary for clear skin?

In order for the body to function optimally, all of its organs and systems must be free of blockages so they can serve their purposes. If there is buildup due to unhealthy diet, dehydration, stress, certain medications, or excessive consumption of unhealthy substances like caffeine or alcohol, then one organ may have to work harder than it needs to in order to digest, process, and filter out toxins. This causes stagnation, which then leads to imbalance and disharmony throughout the entire body; which then potentially leads to inflammation, disease, and disorders.

So if you are someone who regularly eats all natural, organic, balanced meals; gets adequate hydration and exercise, avoids unhealthy substances and lifestyle choices, and all around takes great care of yourself, then you’re already doing what you should be doing. You probably have great skin too, which is visible evidence of the overall health of your body.

According to famed osteopathic doctor, Joseph Mercola, detoxification efforts are important, but living healthfully is more important. He lists his Top 10 Priorities for Detoxification, and as you can see, the actual words “detox tools” are number ten on the list:

1.    Healthy Living
2.    Avoiding Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)
3.    Clean Water
4.    Healthy Food
5.    Healthy Movement
6.    Emotions & Relationships
7.    Tests
8.    Organ Support
9.    Supplements
10.    Detox Tools

If you can tell yourself honestly that you already have positive behaviors with the first nine items on the list, then you likely don’t need additional measures. The reality is, however, that most of us do not have positive behaviors with first nine priorities due to many factors of our everyday lives.

Not all means of detoxification are safe.

We support detoxification efforts that fall under the categories of eating fresh, whole foods, clean water, movement, healthy relationships and emotions, avoiding things like EMF, and anything else that is lifestyle related, regardless of age or condition of health. Functional testing can provide important information as to how much oxidative stress the body is under, and how it’s currently able to deal with removing toxins on its own. It can also reveal food sensitivities and other clues to help direct which foods are most healthful for an individual.

However, some supplements, treatments, cleanses, and other detox tools come with contraindications, and are not safe for everyone depending on health, age, medications, or other factors. It is best to consult with your licensed functional or naturopathic healthcare practitioner to get a very clear picture of the current state of your health, and see which detoxification measures are best for your individual needs.

Do you offer detoxification tools or treatments in your spa or coaching practice?

What has been your experience? Please share in the comments below!

*Photo credit: Rafael Edwards Margarethe via photopin (license)