Do I need to detox?
Updated: Apr 13
From sauna-like sweat lodges to bloodletting and enemas, humans have been trying to cleanse their bodies of perceived toxins for thousands of years. Today, the term detox is often associated with following a specific restrictive diet or using expensive products that claim to rid your body of toxins to improve your health and promote weight loss. A detox can mean many different things, though: nasal irrigation, intestinal cleansing, foot detox, oxygen detox, etc.*
According to Medical News Today, "While some people believe that full body detoxes provide health benefits, they are not necessary for most people. The body already has its own highly efficient detoxification system to eliminate toxins from the body." The body truly is an amazing thing. Our respiratory system, digestive tract, liver, kidneys and skin are all responsible for protecting us naturally.
So what is the bottom line?
Know your body, and if you have specific concerns or medical diagnoses consult a reputable healthcare professional before beginning any detox.
Be skeptical of detoxes that require you to purchase expensive products or treatments, or that promise immediate and long-lasting results.
Listen to your body during the detox. Be aware of both improvements in how you're feeling and possible red flags that there may be a problem.
Remember, a detox is not a permanent solution to improved health. Any positive results you notice will fade if you resume an unhealthy diet or other lifestyle choices.
Consider using a detox as a beginning to (or in addition to) making long-term healthier lifestyle choices. Our bodies need adequate hydration, balanced nutrition, sleep, stress management, and regular physical activity. Limit your intake of and exposure to toxins--stop smoking, limit alcohol consumption, avoid processed foods, and carefully select cleaning products and self-care products.
Optimizing your health and wellness--mind, body and spirit--requires daily commitment to healthier lifestyle choices. There is no magic wand. Healthy living takes work, but it is worth it.
~Nicole Hutchison, PT, CSCS, ACE Health Coach, Integrative Nutrition Coach
*According to Harvard Health Publishing, "Before it was co-opted in the recent craze, the word "detox" referred chiefly to a medical procedure that rids the body of dangerous, often life-threatening, levels of alcohol, drugs, or poisons. Patients undergoing medical detoxification are usually treated in hospitals or clinics. The treatment generally involves the use of drugs and other therapies in a combination that depends on the type and severity of the toxicity." Please note, it is outside the scope of this article to address this type of detox.