Getting to the root of cleansing treatments

2012-12-19T00:00:00Z 2012-12-20T09:08:26Z Getting to the root of cleansing treatmentsBy Julie Kessler
December 19, 2012 12:00 am  • 

One day you realize you’re just not your best self – your energy level is low, you feel sluggish, your body just feels out of sorts.

It could be you need to rid your body of toxins that have built up over time, says Patty Alexander, sales associate for At Nature’s Door in Portage, Ind. “You can get a lot of sludge and mucus built up. Some people may not even realize that there’s too much fat in their liver.” And Leslie Gilham, promotions manager at Baum’s Natural Foods, says, “You carry around a toxin load every day.”

Where is all that toxic stuff coming from? For one thing, “Lake County is one of the most polluted counties in Indiana,” says Gilham. “And so many packaged foods have the good ingredients processed out.”

Alexander notes that a lot of meat has been treated with antibiotics, which sounds all right until you consider that your body needs “good” bacteria in the gut for the intestines to work properly. If not, says Alexander, sludge builds up from incomplete elimination. Not a pleasant thought.

Body refreshers

What to do? Health food stores offer body cleansers, from “quick fix” products used for a few days, to two-week regimens, to soaking your feet.

Soaking? Yes. A simple foot bath can pull those toxins right out, says Gilham. Baum’s offers a half-hour ion foot bath, with sea salt and an ionizer in the water. Results are satisfyingly evident: The water turns murky and “It really stinks if you haven’t had one done for a long time,” says Gilham. “You and see and smell it working and it’s beneficial for your body.”

Sweat is another way to release toxins. At Baum’s Munster location there’s an infrared sauna that increases circulation and causes you to perspire freely. Afterwards you can go straight to the shower there and rinse off all those released toxins.

“Massage is another great way to release toxins,” says Gilham. “If you’re inactive, your lymph system is inactive, too. Massage is one way to get that lymph system flowing; it stirs up (all those toxins).”

Gilham notes you need to drink a lot of water to help flush out the stirred-up toxins. Baum’s juice bar offers fresh juices and all-organic produce bought locally.

At-home treatments

If you’re pressed for time or prefer privacy, you can choose from several boxed kits of body cleansers.

Mary Arent at Au Naturel Market in Valparaiso, Ind., says she’s learned that a total body cleanser is recommended four times a year, at the beginning of each season. “Even if you do it once a year, it’s better than not doing it at all. It’s a disease prevention; (bad bacteria) doesn’t stay in your body. We’re the largest health food store in northwest Indiana, so we have lots of product choices here.” Other health food stores, like Baum’s, recommend a twice-a-year cleansing.

Several companies offer a 7-day or 14-day body cleansing kit, each composed of all-herbal ingredients. One $30 kit also contains a probiotic, “which puts back all the good guys in the gut, the good bacteria,” says Alexander.

Alexander’s a big proponent of body cleansers. “They work for the stomach, the intestines, the liver, the kidneys – they restore total body health.”

Not for everyone

Sounds nearly miraculous, but hold on. There can be side effects, and some people should not do it at all, says Gilham.

“With an intense body cleanse, afterward people can have flu-like symptoms – mostly feeling achy and fatigued. Sometimes the skin breaks out because the body is trying to get those toxins out.”

The upside, says Gilham, is that “You have much more energy, you sleep better, have better moods.”

But see your doctor first for approval, says Gilham.

And you should not do body cleansing if:

* you are nursing or pregnant

* you’ve had a transplant

* you have a pacemaker

* you have Type I diabetes

* you take certain medications (check with your doctor).

Gilham advises starting slowly if you’ve never had a body cleansing. “It’s kind of a process getting through it, but afterward you feel like a million bucks.”

As for food, “You need to eat organic and fresh foods as much as possible.”

And that’s something nearly all of us can do.

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